Strategically Thematic: Antiquity

August 8, 2018

Strategically Thematic is a segment featured on The Dice Tower's bi-weekly Token Punch Lunch videos about games where the theme and mechanics go together really well.

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Hi! This is Ambie from Board Game Blitz, and this is Strategically Thematic, a segment where I talk about theme in different strategic games. This time, I’m talking about Antiquity.

Antiquity is a civilization building game that's set in the late Middle Ages. There are a few different unique and interesting mechanisms in the game that I think go really well with the theme of building up your civilization. One thing that I think is really unique about the game is that you choose your victory condition during the game after you've played a little. In the game you're building different buildings, and one of them is a cathedral. And when you build that, you choose which saint your city is going to worship. And depending on which saint you choose, that determines your victory condition. So, one person can be going for building a lot of buildings, and another person can be going for population growth, and someone else can be going for conquest. So I think that adds to the theme of having each player be a different civilization that behaves differently depending on which saint they are worshipping.

Another really neat part of the game is that there are two boards that you have to pay attention to. There's the main game board in the middle of the table that everyone uses. And that's a map with a bunch of resources that you collect, and you put your cities on the board, and it's shared with everyone so eventually you'll be fighting over resources on the map. But when you place a city on the map, you also have a city player board that's basically a blown up version of the city on the map. On the player board, you get to build your buildings inside each city. So you have, like, a space taken up on the map, but that's blown up on your player board, which is a grid, and each building is a block-shaped piece or a tetris type shape piece that you have to put on your grid that's your city. There are other games with the tetris shaped piece placement, but I think Antiquity is actually the most thematic in that use, because if you're building buildings in a city, you can only place them in areas where they fit and you won't be able to move them afterwards. So it makes sense that you're placing them on a grid.

In order to build all the buildings, you need different resources, like wood, and stone, and you get those on the main map. Everything requires resources, and you can harvest wood from the forests on the map, and you can harvest stone from the mountains. But what is really neat about harvesting is that everything you do causes pollution and depletes the land. So, when you harvest the forest, the forests get cut down and they turn into plains. And when you harvest the mountains, or go fishing, or anything else, you bring pollution with you, and you can't harvest the same spot anymore because it's already gone. So in the game there are these pollution chits that you place on every space when you're doing actions. And also, at the end of each round, each city that you have produces more pollution, so just the act of the humans existing and populating the place adds pollution, which I think is really thematic and makes sense. And it also makes it really hard to get resources because as you're getting more resources and expanding, you're polluting more, and it gets harder and harder to get new resources. So I think that's a really cool part of the game.

Antiquity is a pretty intense civilization building game with a lot of things to keep track of, and a lot of little resources and chits to look at. But it's really fun, and I think the theme actually works really well with civilization building and all of the different mechanics in the game. Thanks for watching Strategically Thematic! Let me know what you think in the comments!
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