Akrotiri

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Publisher: Z-man Games

Designers: Jay Cormier & Sen-Foong Lim

Ages: 14+

Players: 2

Duration: 45 min

As you guys know, I love a good 2 player game. A lot of the time I’m playing with my wife (and she just LOVES to try new games… sometimes) so 2 player games are ideal. So a while back Z-Man games re-released a game called Akrotiri, a 2 player game where you are taking maps and locating temples to excavate. So how does this adventure play out? Let’s find out.

What’s in the box?

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You gotta have goals in life…

Inside the box (which is the same size as 7 Wonders Duel, a common packaging for 2 player games) there’s actually quite a bit packed in. There’s a starting board and 36 tiles that expand the board, 36 map and 12 goal cards, 32 resource cubes, 25 coins,  1 starting player token and 6 action markers, 2 boats and 12 temples(in white and blue), a resource board and 2 boards for each player.

As you know by now, I’m a sucker for good art in games, and this one delivers. I love the Minoan theme, and the artwork is gorgeous. The quality of the components are great… the only real thing is the boats (especially the white one… which is raw unpainted wood, but the temples are painted… weird) feel kind of cheap. But everything else is high quality and looks stunning.

So how do you play?

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You’re ready to begin your treasure hunt! (Temples have treasure right?)

You start the game by putting the starting board in the middle. Now, give each player a player board, 2 coins and their temples (which are placed on the bottom of their board) and boats, set up the resources on the board and give each player 2 goal cards (they pick one and discard the other, and they get a easy and medium map (hard maps are available for purchase). Each player also gets a land tile, and they place one in turn order and then place the corresponding resource on the symbol on the new tile, and then pick a different resource and place it on the same tile but a different island. After this is done you draw a new tile and place your boat in a dock on the centre island (Thera).

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“There’s a lot to do honey… we gotta prioritize a little bit”

During your turn, you will have an allocated number of actions (everyone starts with 3). As you uncover more temples, your actions will increase or you will get more goal cards. First thing you will do is place the tile you drew at the end of your last turn, and put the resources on it. Then, you have the following choices available:

  • Move your boat. You can move across a white line (shipping lines) to a dock for one action, or move from one dock to another across an island (portage). If your boat has no resources in it, it can make 2 moves for 1 action. If a boat is docked at a dock you wish to use, you must spend an extra action to dock there.
  • Load up your boat. If the island you are docked in has resources, you can load up to 3 resources for one action.
  • Excavate a temple. I’ll go into depth on this one in a bit
  • Buy map cards (can only be done at Thera). Spend coins to buy map cards. 1 map costs 1 coins, 2 maps cards 3 and 3 cards cost 7.
  • Consult the oracle. Pick a resource and draw from the tiles until you find a tile with that colour on it… take the tile and discard the rest
  • Sell resources (this is a free action, and can only be done at Thera). You will sell your resources for the value currently on the resource board. The more resources come off, the more valuable they become!
  • Unload resources (another free action). You can drop off any or all resources on any island for free.

After you finish your action, if you haven’t consulted the oracle you draw the top tile of the deck, and then its your opponents turn.

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One of these things is harder than the other…

So let’s go back a step… how do we excavate for temples? Well… you will have to cleverly place some tiles so you will line up the resource symbols on the tiles to match those on the board. when you do, and there is a free island with no other temples on it, you can dock to that island and play your card, and pay its cost on the top left and place a temple on that island. Now its yours and yours alone!

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Those tempeles like to be buried deep in the jungle

 

Here is one example… the white boat is docked at an island. Above the island is a green symbol, to the left is a blue and below is a red. That satisfies the map requirements and because there is no temple there, the player can place a temple and will score the points on the right hand corner of the card.

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The first player to place their 6th temple ends the game! If the first player finishes, the other player gets to play one more round so there are equal number of turns. Then you will score the points on your completed maps, points on your goal cards (those are explained in the book) and 1 point for every 10 coins left over. Add them up and the most wins!

Is it any good?

Akrotiri is at times a simple game and at times very challenging. At first, it seems the game goes very slow but as you place more temples and get more actions, it really picks up. Soon you’re moving at twice the speed you were. Movement is simple, but you really gotta watch where you place tiles as it can be easy to make inaccessible islands without docks or shipping routes. Also, there isn’t a lot of player interaction. Some people I play with love that, but I love a little more confrontation… does that make me mean?

There are a few things that can make this game frustrating. Sometimes when you are trying to place a temple, you’ll really have to spend a lot of time figuring out if you can place it there and if the symbols correspond on the map. And the goals can be a little unclear or hard to decipher sometimes. This can lead to long turns for players.

Fortunately the rule book is great at explaining everything. I really like the resource board, and how the resources have a sort of stock market in the values and how they change. I also liked how the island gets built as the game goes by… and the tiles are really big. For a 2 player game, it was almost a little too big by the time we were done for our table, but it worked out well.

If you play a lot of 2 player games, like tile laying and picking up and delivering goods, and looting ancient temples for treasures, Akrotiri might just be the game for you! Its gorgeous and plays in under an hour and has lots of options and strategies available.

I would like to thank Whale’s Tale Toys in Courtenay for providing a demo copy for this review. Stop by and check out their great games section!

Pros:

  • Lovely artwork fits the theme and period of the game
  • Lots of options available during gameplay
  • Resource track works great

Cons:

  • A lot of time can be spent “reading maps”
  • Low player interaction

One thought on “Akrotiri

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