Ok, before we start I have to make a confession. My name Is Kev and I am a Terry Pratchett fan boy. So I make no apology if I’m biased toward this game.
Right now that’s out of the way; let’s get on with the review for Discworld: Ankh Morpork. Its fantastic, but you expected me to say that. It’s true though, I really think this is a great game. It’s by a company called Treefrog Games who are usually known for there historical games. This however is their first journey outside there comfort zone and I think a successful one at that.
When I bought this there were 2 versions of the game available, standard and collectors. I bought the collectors edition, of course (I did say I was a fan), which contains a slightly larger board than the standard edition and fan friendly items, along with all wooden playing pieces rather than some being card.
What do I mean by fan friendly items? Well I got a poster with every single picture from the cards on it which is nice if a bit redundant for playing the game. You also get a special dice without the number between 7 and 9 on it. Instead of that number on the dice you have 7a. Why’s that? Well if you’ve ever read the Discworld series of books you’ll know that the number that comes between 7 and 9 is a magic number never to be said or written (see what I did there).
The same goes for the rule book, that number is not mentioned throughout the rule book. It’s this kind of attention to detail that shines through the whole game, and makes it an amazing experience for a fan to play. Having said all that, it doesn’t matter if you have read any of the books, or even know who Terry Pratchett is to enjoy playing.
If your like me when you read these reviews, the is two major questions you want answered, what’s the basic game like, and how do you win.
At its core it’s a world domination card based game that pits 2 to 4 players against each other. To start you draw five cards per player and this is how you take your turn. You play a card from your hand, follow the instructions on the card, add or move your pieces around the board, and replenish your deck. If you place one of your pieces into the same area as another player, you place a trouble marker, this stops anyone from building in that area, but also lets you assassinate and remove that piece from the board. You can also build on areas, the advantage of this is you get an area card which gives you special conditions during your move, and this could be things like collecting extra money every round. By doing this you try to finish the game in control of more areas of the board than your opponents.
So that answers both questions, right? Well almost!
There is another element to help you win. There are 7 personality cards (6 in a 2 player game) from which each player draws one at the start of the game. These contain up to 5 ways to win the game and are kept secret from the other players thorough the game. The win conditions could be having control of a certain amount of areas or a certain amount of money, or a certain amount of trouble markers on the board. This is where it turns from a straight forward game into a more strategic one.
I said it was card based, so let’s explain the cards. Along the top there are symbols which determine your move. Below that each card has a picture of a character from the books which look fantastic, and underneath that there is some text explaining what you can do during your move. These symbols are only an indicator as to how to play, you don’t need to play every symbol on the card, your choice, your strategy.
The rules are very basic and very simple to pick up and follow, as I said chose a card do what it says, then it’s the next players turn. That’s the game in a nut shell, and that’s what makes it so good. It’s very easy to understand right from the first play and is fast paced so you don’t have a lot of down time between turns. The more you play the more in depth you will find the game. You have to keep an eye on what every player is doing as well as your own cards otherwise they will use there Personality card and win the game.
A new addition of the game has been released now. The board and the cards are the exact same as the collectors edition, but the playing pieces have been upgraded to modelled resin pieces which look fantastic. No news yet if you can buy them separately to upgrade your existing version, but I hope that’s going to come soon.
If you are interested in this version, it’s only available from the makers at http://www.treefroggames.com/