Akropolis Board Game Review

Akropolis Board Game Review

Come and build your city, your Acropolis! Command the high ground and adorn the hill with lush gardens, dispersed markets, grand temples and lest we forget the barracks to protect your homes and people.

In other words, Akropolis is a 3D tile-laying board game of building an ancient Greek city, in short, it is bloody brilliant and I strongly suspect this will be a mainstay of my gaming shelf for a very long time.  So if that’s all you’ve come to this review for, there you go, just go and buy it for an extremely reasonable 25 rips; but, if you’d like to know how and why this game deserves some of your precious table time, read on:
Akropolis is a simple game.  It’s a short game.  Yet, in this little box (with a great insert) comes a gaming experience that at once feels quite old-fashioned, and at the same time feels fresh and reinvigorating. 

The goal and premise are simple, build your city using these poly-hexagonal tiles whilst adhering to the scoring conditions.  Residential tile (Blue) will  need to be clustered together.  Markets (Yellow) need to be spread around your city where as the Barracks (Red) are only worthwhile on the outskirts and so on.  To make any of them score at the end of the game though, you’ll also need the scoring pools, or stars, these multiply the number of valid regions, but without them you'll get nothing for all your painstaking work.

Akropolis Board Game Review In Play City

The most interesting aspect of this game, however; is the ability to build in three dimensions.  Building up you see, improves the score of those upper districts, their value then matching the level of the city they are on, but, “Oh no!” and “Oh yes!” This means covering up those districts on the lower levels. Or as Steve and Sid put it on the podcast, “you must kill your darlings”.  Never an easy choice…except when you are covering up quarries.

Alas, you won’t always be building on your quarries – which is important to do as it’s the only way to obtain stone; the game’s only resource.  However, the configuration of the tiles doesn’t always permit you to build quarries in a way that you’ll be able to build upon them later without losing something.  How then do build a third or even a fourth-tier region?

Akropolis Board Game Review Three Tier District

This is the fabulous meaty crux of the game, building your city with the tiles on offer in the market to enable you to not only continue to build upon what you already have, but to continue to score and to score well. The price is simple; “kill your darlings”.

When playing Akropolis there are many moments in each game where this decision is thrust upon you.  Yes, you could play without ever doing so, but I fear your score will suffer for it, and it is this fear of losing some points here to gain them there, to try and calculate your net loss and gain on the fly, whilst never knowing what is coming next.

This game completely encapsulates this fear of missing out, trying to optimise each tile choice, rotation and placement is fundamentally simple, but each placement carries with it the weight that its worth may only be that of providing a foundation for the next placement.  

Akropolis Board Game Review Close Up

When playing you try to cover all of your bases; doing your best to ensure only your quarries provide that foundation, but as the game continues (over eleven quick rounds) your options soon run out.  Add to this mix that you need the scoring star pools to even score the districts you have, but that your opponents are doing the same, further, they can see everything you are doing.  Your city is an open [maths] book, it's easy to read where the bulk of your points will lie, and preventing you from getting that Temple or those purple stars isn’t only thwarting you, it also benefits them and adds a level of indirect player interaction.

Akropolis does come with some variant rules, allowing for more complex and difficult scoring if you feel it needs an extra edge, but straight of the box Akropolis is quite simply delightful, it would make an excellent game to play with children, to introduce new gamers into the hobby, or for veteran games providing a quality palate cleanser or starter game on your gaming sessions.

I believe Steve put it best on the podcast “it’s a Pure gaming experience”  

Akropolis Board Game Review Finished City

This review is based on a full retail copy of the game provided by the publisher. 
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