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Monday, January 10, 2005


Age of Mythology, Explorium, Dos Rios.

Dos Rios

Had a friend of mine and his kids come over on Friday night. Played Dos Rios with him, my wife and one of the kids. Dos Rios turned out to be a pretty good short game. It has been in my local game store for many months now. I had looked at it several times and passed, I now regret waiting to play.

Basically, the rivers flow from the mountains to the sea. They always flow to the lowest adjacent tile. Dams can be built to change the course of the rivers. Players place men and buildings on tiles to claim ownership of the tile. At the end of each player's turn each tile that produces crops, and has the river flowing through it, and has a man or building on it generates income to the controlling player.

Money is spent to build buildings on the tiles. The first player to have 4 buildings on the board and have all 4 buildings in an irrigated space, wins the game, alternatively, the first player to build all 5 buildings regardless of the irrigation status wins.

My wife hated it because of the analysis paralysis. Granted there is more AP in this game than any other short game that comes to mind, however with the right players it shouldn't be much of a problem.


We then played Explorium, a game he owns and I have been dying to play for several months now. Not because it is an exceptional game, but because it is ripe for an unbiased review on Boardgamegeek. http://www.boardgamegeek.com/ and for the review http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/76054

Explorium is a game about mineral development and mining. The designer was trying to create a game that captured the uncertainty of mineral exploration. He succeeded in his endeavor by making the game over-dependent on dice rolling. We played for an hour or so, until I insisted on moving on to the Age of Mythology. Explorium reminded me a lot of The Farming Game, it probably has a lot of appeal to people familiar with the business, but not to gamers. Explorium adds a lot of flavor, in the form of "news" items, that give the game a real world feel. Lots of the "news" cards give interesting trivia bits as they alter the rules of the game slightly.

For example, the government of a third world country can encourage investment in a mine by giving a mining property away to a player, or existing mines might be made more profitable because of good union relations.

I won't be playing the game again, but the mission of writing a review of the game was accomplished. For anyone who complains that a review should not be written after only one play, let me explain: I agree. However sometimes a game is so simplistic that there is no need to ever play again. There is no subtle strategy that needs to be explored.

Age of Mythology

Played Age of Mythology with 2 kids and my friend. All three of them were very familiar with the computer game. I had never played it. None of us had played the board game.

After playing with 4, I can see how the game would shine with 3. Three seems to be the consensus from the reviews and articles I have read concerning the ideal number of players. Nevertheless I enjoyed the 4 player game. This game has great potential to be one of those rare games with combat that may appeal to the wife. I will introduce her to it as soon as possible and report back.

My initial impression was very good, although I want to play a few more times and explore some strategy before proclaiming it to be good or bad. Seems to be an empire building game that has war as an option, more than a war game. Player interaction is slight unless you make war on your opponents. Trading is not allowed, I tend to think trading between players would add to the game, both in theme and strategy.

Good gaming,

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