Some games just need the correct / fitting time to land on the table. Antike was published in 2005 by PD-Verlag and Rio Grande Games and spent long time sitting on “shelf-of-shame” of one of my best boardgame buddies – Jakub. Couple years ago I noticed that interesting-looking position in his collection (you know, I love ancient-themed wargames) and convinced him to try it.
That was 2016. Since then I had chance to play this very interesting, exciting and fast-paced game multiple times. Below more about the title itself and two most epic sessions we experienced. Really, should you have chance to try it, do not hesitate!
Antike is a challenging strategy game about evolution and competition among ancient civilizations. Ancient nations create cities, build temples, sail the seas, and discover new principles of science and technology. Their legions and galleys open new settlements and defend their people against attacks from their enemies. Two scenarios can be chosen as the game board is two-sided. Players choose from Greeks, Romans, and Germanic tribes and Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Persians, Arabs, Egyptians, and Babylonians.
Every nation tries to win ancient kings, scholars, generals, citizens, and navigators for themselves. The nation that acquires a specified number (depending on the number of players) of ancient personalities first will win the game!
Lead one of these nations to victory! But watch out for your enemies, as they will want to conquer your cities to destroy your temples. The game depends not on the luck of dice or cards, but on thoughtful plans and skillful diplomacy.
Our last session of Antike – when it was still possible and safe to meet face to face – was one of the most epic engagements we ever had with this position. There were 6 players altogether and playing the game was part of the Kuba’s birthday celebration. That mix proved to be great combination for a time really well spent! Let us see how it went!
As you can see both Marcin and I (Michal) had pretty difficult, “internal” starting positions, while the rest of players had at least to some extent their backs covered. That had huge implications for the game dynamics and resulted in some unexpected developments.
First of all, we had constant clashes and tension between Marcin’s and Łukasz’s forces. Just look at below picture – does it look like a peaceful cooperation?
As for the highlights of the game, here they are. Please not that the number correspond to the picture below, with the end state of the game:
- My initial landing with the Phoenician faction in Alexandria – pretty contested theater (mainly by Konrad’s Egyptians) was successful and with luck and brute force I managed to keep it till the end of the game.
- We observed constant build up of the forces on the Lukasz – Marcin border, which in the end lead to Marcin’s temples being burned and his country obliterated…
- Kuba had time to gradually develop his forces unmolested – with constant war between me and Konrad (Egyptians) and threat from Marcin it was really difficult for from my side to do anything in that direction.
- In the end two pretenders to win the game clashed – it happened in North Africa and both Filip and Konrad were engaged. The bloody and brutal war ended however in stelmate.
- Another surprising development ensued just after last, very bloody battle between Lukasz and Marcin. That was Konrad whose forces managed to raid through most of Middle East, taking it from Marcin’s control and occupying it till the end of the game.
- In the end there was a lot of tension – almost like a cold war – between me and Kuba, with no actual war but a lot of hostilities. He still managed to get through a Bosporus and gain last points to win the game. CONGRATS TO KUBA!
And just to graphically present the situation, the map:
Well, as always, playing Antike was a quick, furious and enjoyable experience! Kuba’s position definitely proved to be a pretty safe haven to develop while centrally placed civilizations had to fend off attacks from all sides.
One more very interesting Antike session took place during one of our “wargames evenings”. That was actually last position played then – to finish the day well, we decided on something quick, light and fun to play. There was four of us contending for the domination over Antique World:
- me as Germans
- Marcin as Rome
- Jakub J as Grecee
- and Jakub G as Phocian
A lot happened but unlike the 6-players game there was much less interaction. Simply, we had room for expansion before the inevitable clash of civilizations. please refer to the picture below regarding the developments I am describing (you can open it in the new window):
- Throughout the whole game Marcin was execution very bold strategy of “moving Rome to North Africa”! That was effect of malicious propaganda, claiming that development toward my peaceful Germans might be dangerous. Completely unconfirmed claims!
- My Germans indeed were not able to catch-up after rapidly fleeing Romans but in the process colonized half Europe, growing to 20 cities!
- Kuba J had really very difficult position – almost as I in previous, 6-player game. Surrounded by 3 enemies from almost each side, he had problem to colonize the neighboring provinces. He was attacked and sacked by Phoenicians, surrounded by my Germans and begin gradually pushed back by Romans. He still held bravely!
- Kuba G and his Phoenicians invested in technology and that actually allowed him for victory – he had well defended cities, placed far away. And although at the end of game everybody attacked him, he bravely survived till the end of game.
The owner of the game wins again!
If you are looking for interesting, light, fast-paced wargame – Antike will be pretty good choice! You should be able to attrac newcomers to the hobby with this title but please, do not look for too much historical accuracy. they game is supposed to be fun, brutal and interesting. It is by no means a simulation of the ancient world. Enjoy!
Very interesting! I’ve been interested in Antike as well as Imperial (2030) by the same designer for years now, but never got around to play. Gotta make up for that, I guess!
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I like Imperial even more. That feeling of manipulating the fighting forces from behind, investing into the countries, then dumping the losing side. It is really interesting design. Need to describe one of our games on the blog!
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You get me ever more interested! An illustrated session report on your blog would be amazing!
…now that I think of it, I played Imperial 2030 at a fair once. It was only a short demo, though, so after one turn we were shooed away to make space for the next players.
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Here is the promised Imperial article: https://theboardgameschronicle.com/2021/02/02/imperial-global-politics-in-action/ Enjoy!