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The God Kings: Warfare at the Dawn of Civilization, 1500 – 1260BC» Forums » Reviews

Subject: God Kings REVIEW rss

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Terence Co
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Around 1500 BC, 5 Empires were emerging in the Fertile Crescent region(mainly modern day Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, Egypt and parts of Turkey and Iran) namely:

The Kingdom of Hatti(Hittites)(centered in modern day Anatolia), The Kassites(originated from the Zagros mountains in northern Iran), Mitanni Empire(centered in modern day Syria) Assyria(a former Mitanni vassal but would in the future usurp the Mitanni empire) and Egypt.

From 1500 to 1250 BC, the period would see momentous clashes between rival empires for control of the fertile crescent, it would see Empires wax and wane as the powers battled each other.

By 1275 BC, there were three major powers namely the Egyptians, Hatti(Hittites) and the Assyrians(who had absorbed what was left of the Mittani empire and turned the Kassites into a vassal state). In the aftermath of the Egyptian victory over the Hatti during the battle of Kadesh, the Fertile crescent was stalemated between these three major powers with Egypt in the ascendance. Within 100 years, waves of invasions from the Sea Peoples(their real identity still in contention) caused the collapse of most of the kingdomns and empires in the area. In the end, only Egypt had survived and in dominance of the Fertile Crescent.

The God Kings is a CDG(card driven game) for 2-5 players. The game comes into three beautifully made countersheets and a nicely made fold out map of the Fertile Crescent & some very useful and nice player aid mats. Also included is a rulebook and a playbook, both nicely made in the GMT style, well written, easilly understandable with only a few errata. Also is a nice example of play to aid in understanding the game. There are also 110 nicely made strategy cards which is essential in playing the game.

A Game turn(each turn is 25 years) is played through 5 phases:

I. Deal Strategy card phase: Each player is dealt 7 strategy cards or 6 if the player kept a card from the previous turn.

II. reinforcement Phase: During this phase the following happens in the following order:

1. Reduced warrior units are flipped to their full strength side. Destroyed warrior units are brought back on their reduced strength side.

2. Tribute and wood points are calculated and received from occupied provinces.

3. Tribute and wood points are now spent. A tribute point is spent buying a garrison for a walled city, a mercenary unit or to flip a reduced warrior unit to full strenght. or spending both a tribute and a wood point in buying a chariot unit. Unused tribute and wood points are then lost.

4. Players change their kings if the kings are available.

5 All units(except garrisons) are placed anywhere in friendly controlled spaces which can trace a line of friendly controlled spaces to their home country. Continuing siege markers are removed.

III. Strategy Phase

This phase is the heart of the game. The phase consists of 5 rounds, each round has a number of impulses equal to the number of players int he game. During each impulse, a player may do the following in the order listed:

1. Make a succession roll if a successor is possible.

2. Play a strategy card. Each strategy card can be played either as an event or using its command point to activate a friendly general. Each general have different command point values hence different costs to activate. Once activated, unit under this general can move and/or engage in combat with the enemy. Movement is moving space to space with each space being a city.

When a general is activted movement points can be used to move generals and its units, change control of enemy(with no enemy units) controlled spaces to friendly control,

A moving general can be intercepted by enemy units when it moves adjacent to them but only on a successful interception roll.

If the moving general enters or is intercepted by an enemy force, a battle occurs. The moving unit may try to avoid battle by a successful avoid battle die roll.

If a battle occurs the following procedures follow in the following order:

1. Both players declare chariot charges(if a side or both sides have chariout units). The attacker rolls for a successful chariot charge. If the roll fails then the defender makes the roll if one side is successful, a roll is done on the CRT and damage is applied to the enemy.

2. Both players then determine their battle roll modifiers(leader tactical ratings, cards played, number of warrior divisions involved).

3. Both attacker and defender roll on the CRT and applies damage.

4. The battle winner is determined(the one of lost less units)

5. The loser force retreats.

Cards are played either as an event(which costs an impulse) or to aid in battle. Card effects range from barbarians invading, battle die roll modifiers, extra units coming into play etc.).

3. Victory points(VPs) are recorded the instant they are gained.

After all five rounds are played, the Neutral players rounds are played. Neutral units can be activated during a regular player round but the activation cost is high(3 points or a special card play).In this round, the player with the lowest VP rating gets to control the neutral powers. A card is drawn and the command ratingis used to activate a corresponding neutral General. One card per neutral nation.

IV. Victory Phase: In this phase, VPs are gained for control of provinces and other things.

V. End of turn phase: each player discards al unplayed cards in his hands and at the player's discretion, one card may be retained. Then the next turn begins.

Victory depends on the game scenario played but in the campaign game the standard victory conditions apply which is the player with the highest victory point number by the end of the game wins.

There are four scenarios in the game:

1. Battle of Quadesh: One turn(turn 9) only. Intro scenario with two players(Egypt and Hatti) with the Assyrians being a neutral nation. The Hatti have the military advantage with slightly more chariot units. However the neutral Assyrians could be used to balance things out since their units are adjacent to Hatti lands. To win, the last player to control the Kadesh space wins.

2. The Assyro-Babylonian wars: 4 turns(7-10). 2 players, Assyria and Kassites with teh Hatti as the neutral player. The Kassites have the military advantage over Assyria with slightly more chariot units but the Assyrians have better generals. The Hatti is the strongest military force with the best generals in the scenario and can be used by both sides to balance or discomfit their enemies. The Assyrians howerver are at a disadvantage as the Hatti are mostly adjacent to their lands. the first nation to reach 8 VPs at the end of a turn wins or the player with the most VPs by the last turn wins.

3. The Napoelon of Antquity Thutmose III: two turns. 2-3 players. Egypt, Mitanni and Hatti(can also be a neutral with 2 players) with the Kassites as neutral. The Mitanni have the military advantage with more warrior and chariot units, however the Egyptians have the best leaders esp. Thurmose III. The Mitanni are also at a geographical disadvantage being in the middle of the hostile powers and have the possiblity of trying to hold off multiple sides. Players win by controlling certain provinces.

4. Campaign game. Well the whole 10 turns 2-5 players. The Mitanni start out the strongest but later change to the Assyrians and get disrupted.

GOOD: Well the game is relatively easy to learn, the rules are well written, game play is smooth. I like the succession rules, nicely done but simple. Play is also fast and smooth once the rules are down pat. I found that while 3-5 players is most enjoyable a 2 player game is also good and its fun seeing the neutrals being used to discomfit a side. Solitaire is also doable.

BAD: Well my main gripe is that the game does not have the atmosphere of the era. All sides are basically the same in ability and composition of forces, the only differnces are the kings. There is nothing really that makes you feel you are playing a side that is unique.

CONCLUSION: I like this game, the balance is arguable but while the Egyptians and Mittani may be arguably the most powerful but I think all are balanced by either the use of neutrals or the actions of the players. However I did have fun playing the game and I found the campaign game to be competetive.

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Mark Sautman
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Gangrel wrote:


BAD: All sides are basically the same in ability and composition of forces, the only differences are the kings. There is nothing really that makes you feel you are playing a side that is unique.

CONCLUSION: I like this game, the balance is arguable but while the Egyptians and Mittani may be arguably the most powerful but I think all are balanced by either the use of neutrals or the actions of the players.


So if all sides are basically the same, why is game balance a concern and the Egyptians and Mittani the most powerful - location?
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Deron Dorna
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zautman wrote:
Gangrel wrote:


BAD: All sides are basically the same in ability and composition of forces, the only differences are the kings. There is nothing really that makes you feel you are playing a side that is unique.

CONCLUSION: I like this game, the balance is arguable but while the Egyptians and Mittani may be arguably the most powerful but I think all are balanced by either the use of neutrals or the actions of the players.


So if all sides are basically the same, why is game balance a concern and the Egyptians and Mittani the most powerful - location?


I gather from the reviewer's remarks that what he means is that all the sides play the same. They all have the same goals, cards, and units available to them. One side may have more, or a better position on the map, but what you actually do with each side is essentially the same. Contrast that with Here I Stand or Andean Abyss, where the sides are asymmetrical with varying capabilities and goals.
 
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Michael Sosa
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Note that asymmetry is not necessarily good. HiS is complicated because to play well you would need to understand the rules for each of the other powers, and AA has asymmetrical forces that can each defeat the other but this contributes to a chaotic game. In Hannibal the forces are symmetrical, with just early elephants for Carthage being different, and the game is excellent.

TGK is modeled after Hannibal, where the primary differences between the sides comes from leaders, geography, and a few special rules.
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