Date: 5th March 2004
Game played: Magna Grecia ( Rio Grande Games ) BGG Id: 5419

There were three of us this evening and I knew that both Nige and I are fans of Michael Schacht. So, the prospect of playing Magna Grecia, which is a collaboration between Schacht and Leo Colivini, was one not to be missed. There has been much adverse comment about the colour scheme of the game and, although I have the Rio Grande version, I can see what people mean. However, it wasn’t the colours but the gameplay itself that gave all three of us headaches tonight.

The idea of the game is to expand your followers across an area of Southern Italy, establishing markets in villages and cities and linking these settlements with transport routes. Basically, the more places your markets are linked to, the more VPs that market is worth. In addition, there are a number of oracles dotted around the countryside and these will grant additional VPs to the most important cities to which they are linked – importance in this respect is determined by the number of villages, cities and oracles your city is connected to. A player’s turn consists of taking two actions out of three possibilities: building or extending cities; building roads; or restocking your supply of cities and roads for later building. Following these actions, you can build one market in any village or city which is linked to one of your cities via the road network. However, the market will only generate victory points if it is directly linked to one of your cities. The game last 12 rounds and whoever has accumulated the most points is the winner.

Our game was played in a complete fog. We just couldn’t seem to grasp until the last quarter of the game how it all fitted together. It didn’t help Nige’s cause that he originally thought that the oracles were attracted by markets rather than cities. However, once he grasped this, he concentrated on attracting oracles. John tried to establish himself in one corner and build an impressive network of roads between his cities. In the meantime, I was seeking to also build markets in Nige’s well-connected cities. The last turn saw both John and I steal the attention of one of Nige’s oracles and this was a devastating blow to him, allowing me to grab the win. I felt the game had some interesting ideas but, in this playing, it felt too much like hard work. This is reflected in the relatively low ratings. A second playing may see these improve as we will have a better grasp of the game, but with everything else competing for table space, it might never make it.


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