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Italia? Is that Italy?

June 25, 2013

As you have probably noticed (if you’ve read many of these posts), we get through quite a lot of games in this house. Some of them I’ve had for years, some are bargains picked up in sales or charity shops, some are games that are well established standards, but not that many are new releases. (If someone out there wants to send us their new releases, that would be fine, though. Well, I guess it’s worth a try. :)) Anyhoo, Augustus is fresh out this year, and has picked up a nomination for the Spiel des Jahres award. Reviews have not been entirely positive (basically because of light-weightedness), but what I have seen about it suggests that this could be a good game for us.

Nearly the end of the game and that province is looking just what is needed.

Nearly the end of the game and that province is looking just what is needed for a quick finish.  (Note: Miss B likes to keep her spare legions on her completed objective cards, which is why there are so many cards with meeples on.)

Basically, Augustus is a game of bingo set in ancient Rome, with players trying to influence senators and control provinces with legions. Because it turns out that Gaul was conquered by two fat ladies, one little duck, and the Brighton Line. Or something like that.

It doesn’t make much sense, but it works. One player acts as “town crier”, pulling counters from a bag and announcing the icon on each. Everyone can then place a legionary meeple onto a card in front of them, on a space showing that icon (if it has one) and when someone fills all the spaces on a card, they shout, “Ave Caesar!” and win control of that card. These cards all give victory points, but most also give special abilities like placing extra legions or being able to use icons in different ways. When someone gets control of their 7th card the game is over and whoever has the most victory points wins.

We had a little confusion about some of the reward tiles (which you can claim for various things — and I think the rules could be clearer about these), but this was a very quick game to get into, and our first game took well under an hour (the box says 30 minutes, but everything is slower with Miss B).  At the end of the game there is a load of totting up of points, and Miss B enjoyed writing down the scores as we went along.

We’ve played a couple of games of Augustus so far and I think it may well get fairly regular play for when we want something a bit bigger than Sleeping Queens or Gubs but not up to getting a longer game out.  We’ll see how it goes in the monthly round-ups.

The verdict from Miss B (aged nearly 6½): “It was really good. 9¾ out of 10.  I liked the way it was a bit like bingo.”

The game: Augustus (Hurrican Editions), 2 to 6 players, aged 8+.

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