Our first session of 2006 and I decided to try Antike, which has been described as a two hour Civilization game. It was designed by Mac Gerdts and published by eggertspiele. It scales from 2 to 6 players, which is good because we are often struggling to find good 6 player games.
Each player represents a nation, trying to expand and develop their empire around the Eastern Mediterranean. Players start with 3 cities, each of which produces a different good: iron, marble and gold. On a playerís turn, they will choose one of three types of action: Production where your cities produce goods; Development where you spend your goods to advance your nationís capabilities; and Military action where your armies and navies can manoeuvre around the board and conquer other playersí cities. The cost of the actions is cleverly determined using an action ring with 8 fields, each one showing a different action. The further round the ring you move, the more it costs. Having performed your action, you can then build cities in areas you occupy that do not already have a city and, finally, you can claim Ancient Personality trophies, if you are able to satisfy certain criteria (for example, a King can be claimed for each five cities you own; A General can be claimed every time you destroy a temple etc.) The game ends as soon as a player gains a set number of trophies (7 in a 6 player game).
There are many different ways to approach the acquisition of trophies and the route you choose will determine what actions you need to concentrate on. Nige decided early on to concentrate on building temples, while Mark G was building up armies with a view to military expansion. John went for developing his know-how while Mark K whose cities were centrally placed decided a naval policy was called for. Phil and I went for a more balanced approach although both of us (Phil especially) felt a bit threatened by Mark Gís expansionist tendencies. Nige took the early lead but John overtook him and seemed on the brink of victory until we managed to thwart his hopes of getting a seventh trophy. Nige, however, eventually managed to get his navy mobilised and claim his last trophy and claim the win.
We all enjoyed Antike a lot, although Mark K thought it went on just a little too long. Most of us though didnít feel the game had dragged. Turns are pretty quick so even with 6 players, thereís not a lot of downtime. Phil really liked it, rating it a 9, so it was a good start to 2006. There seems to be a lot of options to explore and Iíd like to try different strategies so I do see us playing this again reasonably soon.