The rules to Tree Frog Games’ Discworld Ankh-Morpork board game say;
Ankh-Morpork is a relatively simple game. When it is your turn you play a card, do what it says on it, and then fill your hand back up to five cards. The next player then does the same, and so on until someone declares that they have won the game, or the deck of cards runs out.
It sounds straight forward. I leafed through the rules expecting more and there isn’t much more to add. That doesn’t mean it’s a simple game, this is sneakily straight forward and just like the politics of Ankh-Morpork itself clever, cunning and cut-throat behind the scenes.
For a start; the winning objectives of the players are different and secret. I played my first game with these objectives to known to everyone and that was tough enough; it’s even more involved when you have to consider some actions are bluffs.
The first time I played I was Lord Vetinari and I just needed to get minions across the board. Sounds easy but it’s a straight forward objective for other players to spot.
Getting my minions into play depended on the cards. If played a card with a minion icon then I could deploy a minion. I had some other options; like taking control of Dimwell, a district in Ankh-Morpork and using its ability to create minions. That latter option worked for a while before a random dragon burnt my house there down. In my few plays of the board game I’ve one take away learning – don’t let another player take control of “The Hippo”. This is another area of the city but rather than generate minions it generates money. Money is power.
The map is gorgeous.
As the cards direct you’ll soon have minion tokens on the board and trouble markers. You’ll get some houses fairly soon too. If things start to get interesting you’ll have demons and trolls too.
The game does well with interesting. The cards you play though some in two shades; one saved towards the end of the game when the heat starts to ramp up. By the way; one of the secret ways to win the game is to run through all the cards.
It was surprising how quick this Discworld game was to pick up and play. In fairness it didn’t really a test run through. It just needed someone to read a few pages of rules.
Christmas present? You bet. A game for a Terry Pratchett Discworld fan? You bet? A game for a board gamer? You bet. Martin Wallace’s creation ticks all the boxes. I enjoyed it and I suspect many other geeks will too.
My copy of the Discworld Ankh-Morpork board game was provided for review and then reviewed with the assistance of folks at the Edinburgh Game Hub. The game has been donated to the cafe; pop in and play.