Podcast #75: Stress Testing your Tarot

This week, Matt, Paul and Quinns reunited in a hotel! We didn’t record them all crying with joy for five minutes straight, but we did record them sitting down afterwards to discuss some board games. First off, the team discuss stress-testing some of their favourite games from the last year at the 2018 Game Developer’s Convention in San Francisco. Did Ethnos, Fog of Love, Azul or Barenpark buckle under pressure? But wait, there’s are new games too! Matt has thoughts on the as-yet unpublished Puzzlegami, Leigh joins the team to describe the as-yet unfinished Four Empires, and Paul provides some thoughts on Star Wars: Legion and Age of Steam. Enjoy, everybody! And if you’d like to hear the team record a live podcast in person, we’re recording two of ’em at the UK Games Expo in June. Come stop by! New podcast feeds (if you’re missing episodes 71 onwards, try these): iTunes Google Play RSS for your favourite player

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Review: Ethnos

BOLD TRAVELLER! Dare you enter the land of Ethnos? There live creatures the likes of which you cannot imagine. Trolls! Orcs! And what’s that, hiding over there in that bush? Why, it’s a wizard, laying a wizard egg. It is spring here, after all.

Alright, so the “land” of Ethnos is a bit rubbish. But this is a new game from Paolo Mori, who gifted us with Libertalia in 2013 and Dogs of War the year after that. Surely he has earned a moment of your time? Sit a while, traveller, and listen to Matt and Quinns rave about his latest design.

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Ethnos

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In Ethnos, players call upon the support of giants, merfolk, halfings, minotaurs, and other fantasy tribes to help them gain control of the land. After three ages of play, whoever has collected the most glory wins!

In more detail, the land of Ethnos contains twelve tribes of fantasy creatures, and in each game you choose six of them (five in a 2/3-player game), then create a deck with only the creatures in those tribes. The cards come in six colors, which match the six regions of Ethnos. Place three glory tokens in each region, arranging them from low to high.

Each player starts the game with one card in hand, then 4-12 cards are placed face up on the table. On a turn, a player either recruits an ally or plays a band of allies. In the former case, you take a face-up card (without replacing it from the deck) or the top card of the deck and add it to your hand. In the latter case, you choose a set of cards in your hand that match either in tribe or in color, play them in front of you on the table, then discard all other cards in hand. You then place one or more tokens in the region that matches the color of the top card just played, and you use the power of the tribe member on the top card just played.

At the end of the first age, whoever has the most tokens in a region scores the glory shown on the first token. After the second age, the players with the most and secondmost tokens score glory equal to the values shown on the first and second tokens. Players score again after the third age, then whoever has the most glory wins. (Games with two and three players last only two ages.)

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