Augustus the Board Game
Augustus is the latest board game from Europe and it is blowing our tiny minds. Sneaky strategy, very addictive and it only takes half an hour to play.
First off, I love that the objective of Rise of Augustus isn’t even to become Emperor. It’s to be the Emperor’s favourite, the most influential Consul, and how deliciously snivelling and sneaky is that? It’s like playing a Game of Thrones game where your ambition isn’t to sit on the Iron Throne… it’s to be the best Littlefinger (or perhaps, more aptly, Hand of the King) ever.
The game starts with each player being a roman senator seeking to rise to power. You can do so by completing objectives (cards), achieved by placing little wooden legionaries on them. Each time you complete an objective you get a bonus that will help you in your rise to power, and the game ends when the first player completes 7 objectives. That doesn’t mean they win – that’s when you all count up your points based on the objectives you’ve completed, and the person with the most points wins the game.
Here you can see the objective cards, the little wooden legionnaires and the round token cards that you use to play the Rise of Augustus Board Game.
Gameplay works like this: Each player takes it in turns to pull a token with a symbol on it from a bag. If they have these symbols on their cards, they can place a wooden legionnaire on any one matching symbol on their cards (or place more than one legionnaire if their bonuses allow). Choosing where to place legionnaires depends on your strategy and on which objectives (cards) you’re trying to complete. It’s very simple on the outside, but because of the inter-player scheming it’s actually rather fiendish, and one of the loveliest things about this game is there’s no downtime because everyone plays at once. So there’s no sitting around while someone takes ages to make a decision. You just get on with it.
Review of ‘Rise of Augustus’ by the Game Boy Geek
You can change your goals at any time, you have to make loads of little decisions to achieve tiny but potentially game-changing victories, and the whole thing is really fluid and fun. And evil. So very evil. A beginner can just concentrate on their own game and being the best Consul possible, but within a couple of games you’ll start watching other players in order to figure out their strategies and see if it’s better to, say, complete that really easy objective in front of you or bottom the competition out by ruining their own strategy.
As a weird aside, you can scan the game’s box cover with your smart phone to have characters, er, come to life and talk to you. That’s neat, but not as neat as scheming against your friends and playing with little carved wooden legionnaries. My only complaint – and it’s very mild – is that the pictures of resources on the cards are very pretty, but only two of them are useful (wheat and gold) so seeing lush pictures of silver, grapes etc. can be a bit confusing at first. Never mind that, though. My friends and I have been playing this game long past the roadtest period and it’s one of our favourite games this year. Simple enough to play that it’s a good starting point for beginners, and sophisticated enough that pros can get a lot of juice from it. It only takes half an hour play, too, so you can get lots of games in. Bonus!