Splotter, Part One

Sorry folks, this is going to be another board games blog. But this one really has to be written. I’ll be as brief as possible, but I have to share my thoughts on two games I’ve played this weekend from Splotter Games.

Between the beer and cheese, the conversation and the crackers, we played both Antiquity and Roads & Boats when we stayed at our friends’ place this weekend. And, wow! Both games are fantastic! We started with a 7 hour game of Antiquity (which we eventually got too drunk to finish). It’s got a little bit of everything in it: there are elements of worker placement, resource management, city building… each element is balanced against the others perfectly. Before you build your city you need to place it in the countryside. Once you’ve placed it optimally you then need to fit the buildings you want to build within its city limits. This kicks off a sort of Tetris-like puzzle where fitting L-shaped cart shops in among cross-shaped cathedrals and large (like, really fucking large) square dumps on a 7X7 grid is not as easy as you’d think.

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Each turn, since you’ll never manage to keep them all alive, your people are buries in graves as famine strikes. These graves also have to fit within your city limits. Then there’s pollution – everything you do leaves a scorched wasteland suitable for bugger-all – which eats the space around your city leaving you fewer and fewer build-sites. It all sounds complex and fiddly and it is. But there’s a real elegance to the game. Antiquity is deceptively simple, with almost no hidden traps. Everything you need to do can be planned for and achieved if you’re careful. There is one thing “bad” about the game, however: It’s SO good at the mechanics it employs, and manages to mesh them all together so seamlessly, that all other euro games kind of pale in comparison. It really is a collection-breaker – it may be the only title a true euro-gamer needs.

I absolutely adored the game. It’s very rarely in print (it isn’t in print right now, for instance) and costs the best part of £110 to buy, but as soon as it IS available again I would happily shell out the extortionate price tag for it. Antiquity is perfect.

I’ll chat a little about Roads & Boats (which is – spoiler warning – also really bloody good) tomorrow. If you can stand yet another board game post. I promise to get back to moaning about the Tories and verbosely opining on sundry other subjects soon. Honest.

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