The pictured game was held at “Game U”, a local game store in Gilbert, Az.. Owner Jeff would likely appreciate a mention in any piece released since he kindly allowed space for me to demo the game; as would Andy Long, who organized things via a “Meet Up” invitation to budding game designers: The Phoenix Game Design Guild. Everyone pictured is a budding game designer who described what they’re working on before we commenced play of Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea.
As this was a learning game, we paired players up to for a four Civilization game using only half the map, which is one of the game’s nice features: players can choose the type of game desired. For this contest, the Civilizations played were Carthage, Mauretania, Gaul, and Rome. Being veteran gamers, everyone understood Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea‘s game mechanics with a few minutes of my explanation, then got into the experience.
Having players team up not only added to the fun in the usual manner of vying Civilizations seeking to achieve victory, but the interplay between partners in choosing where to expand and initiate competitions (which many were calling Battles), play cards… particularly entertaining when vengeance was involved, and generally enjoy the game’s enfolding narrative was a joy for me, as game developer, to behold. Mark & Chris, perhaps this is a way of playing we should mention somewhere in the game’s material?
When time compelled adjudicating the game, the girl at the photo’s lower right and her grad student friend next to her won the game by a single VP as Gaul. How did they do that? Although new to the game, the two were experienced gamers: they took advantage of the Gaul’s Competition special power to sack Roman Cities… gaining a Talent (money) and 1VP for each. Oh yes, the banter of puns regarding how one team had “Talent” and another none was oft mentioned at the table… e.g when I asked during a competition resolution if the team would like to give up a Talent or Card in lieu of losing a tile, a response of “We don’t have Talents” got a few chuckles.
I showed the group the latest professional map art for the game… note there’s a copy of it on the table. Everyone loved Chechu’s map. They got a kick out of the little graphic images placed near each homeland (yup, those were noticed) and are looking forward to seeing the full-sized copy of this attractive and game-play functional piece… as am I.
Today’s Saturday, so one of my new gaming friends here in Arizona is hosting a gaming event at his home… we’ll be playing Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea.