Augustus review from Colin Y.
Yet another Spiel des Jahres nominee and one of our new favourites! Colin Y. gives us the lowdown on Augustus...
The latest from designer Paolo Mori, Augustus is a light yet engaging game which I have oft heard pitched as “gamer’s bingo.” I enjoyed Mssr. Mori’s previous title, Libertalia, and I’ll try any game illustrated by artist Vincent Dutrait, so I tabled it. In the game, you’re a Roman senator seeking to be consul to the emperor. In game terms, this means you want the most victory points. In order to get them, you and your opponents draw task cards which represent either territories to conquer or politicians to influence. Every round, a player draws tiles from a bag; the tiles have symbols which match up with the symbols on your task cards; whenever a tile is announced you place a legion token on a matching symbol found on one of your task cards. (Ahh, gamer’s bingo – now I get it!) A card with all of its symbols covered by legion tokens is complete and you get its points and any other printed rewards. Whenever a Wild Card tile is drawn, all of the drawn tiles go back into the bag and a new player starts drawing. Once a player has completed seven task cards, the game is over and you count up your points!
Augustus has a lot of things going on for such quick (thirty minutes!) gameplay. There’s worker placement with your legion tokens; decision-making in choosing new task cards; chaos management and probability analysis in dealing with the random tile draws. There’s even some push-your-luck elements thrown in for good measure.
Ultimately, Augustus employs an overused theme, but completely charms audiences through accessible and entertaining gameplay. I’ve taught it to a number of tables at the café to great success; when I revisit a table in the middle of a game, I see laughing, trash-talking and a good time being had. And if you can’t secure a seat at the emperor’s side this time around…well, it’s a short game, and hopefully you can con your friends in one more game. There’s usually “one more game” with Augustus.