I marvel on the battle that players continuously face, desirous to play one thing new, whereas on the identical time desirous to enjoying one thing acquainted. If a specific recreation is providing you with thrills, you wish to get it to the desk extra usually, whether or not to share it with others, check out new approaches, or simply prime a earlier excessive rating — but we additionally wish to discover new designs, to see what else a favourite designer has accomplished or to wander into lands unknown.
AEOLOS from designers Guido Eckhof and Arve D. Fühler and writer SPIEL DAS! Verlag gave me the brand new and previous mixed, with the sport that includes the old-school German design type of Fühler — who has designed Pagoda, Monasterium, and El Gaucho, amongst different titles — and a easy recreation mechanism that felt novel in the way it certain the gamers collectively. (At SPIEL ’22, Fühler advised me that Eckhof had provide you with the central recreation ingredient, then they labored collectively after that.)
The gist of the sport is that you simply’re crusing round islands to gather gems and set up your self at temples to realize blessings from the gods. Each flip, you play a card out of your hand onto the discard pile of the matching colour — grey or purple — then take an motion within the harbor related to the sum of the topmost two playing cards.
The playing cards vary from 0 to five, so that you’re considerably restricted in what you can also make that sum. The complete drifts from low to medium to low and so forth, with the gamers collectively shifting the setting of the sport. Two caveats: (1) If your performed card has the identical image — cloud, water, solar — as the opposite prime card, you acquire a wind token, and (2) you’ll be able to spend as many wind tokens as you want, with every spent token adjusting the sum up or down by 1.
Two full units of gems = 50 endgame factors
In the harbors numbered 3-9, you’ll be able to acquire gems of 4 colours, achieve new ships, construct settlements on islands, achieve “Favor of the Gods” playing cards, acquire wind or factors, and advance a prophet up a tiered stairway to realize factors primarily based on what else you’ve got accomplished within the recreation.
If you spend sufficient wind or use the facility of the #3 harbor, you’ll be able to transfer ships onto or down the 5 rivers in the direction of temple areas that supply an enormous variety of factors or a mix of factors and different stuff: wind, gems, Favor playing cards, and a particular purple gem not out there elsewhere. Reaching the tip of the river offers you an enormous reward, however your ship should stay there — sayeth the gods, “No backsies” — so that you must deliver new ships into play as a way to hold doing issues.
You play by the cardboard deck one, one-and-a-half, or two instances primarily based on the variety of gamers, then you definately rating a smattering of factors for unspent wind and Favor playing cards and normally way more factors for collected gems. As is typical for such video games, as with Fühler’s personal Glory Islands, the extra totally different colours you acquire, the higher — and you’ll rating for a number of units of gems ought to the opposite gamers allow you to get away with hoarding them.
Gameplay in AEOLOS, which I’ve performed 5 instances on a bought copy, 3 times with three gamers and as soon as every with two and 4, is simple in that you’ve clear targets — get gems and attain temples — with restricted play choices out there to you. You begin with a hand measurement of three, so every flip you have got solely three selections of what to play…besides that you could tweak your card play with wind to regulate the whole and you’ll play a number of Favor playing cards for bonus actions and you’ll place settlements to extend your hand measurement to present you extra selections. You’re restricted, however to not an excessive.
Hmm, which grey card ought to I play?
Placing settlements additionally means that you can achieve factors together with your prophet or take a harbor motion with out having a ship current, however I’ve but to see them used successfully in 5 video games — or slightly I’ve gained three of these 5 video games with out inserting a settlement on the board, whereas different gamers appear to inserting them to no actual long-term profit. I do not know whether or not my expertise with the sport is giving me an edge or we simply have not discovered the best way to greatest use them or whether or not they’re not helpful in any respect, which might be a disgrace since they aren’t a peripheral ingredient.
AEOLOS features a few expansions that I’ve but to discover, reminiscent of every double-sided participant board having an uneven energy. You can shuffle harbor tiles and place them out randomly to combine up the actions out there, or you’ll be able to add a Poseidon enlargement that provides extra actions to harbors as soon as all of the settlement areas on them have been crammed. Not positive whether or not I’ll ever discover these or not, however they’re available to make the acquainted new and fulfill that gamerly need.
In the video beneath, I am going into the sport actions in additional element, exhibit all of the “Favor of the Gods” playing cards, and speak extra in regards to the enjoying expertise: