Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Board Game Top 100 (2024) Part 26 (45-45)

#46 The Quest for El Dorado

The Quest for El Dorado is a simple deck building style game. Players play cards to move through the jungle in a race to be the first to find the fabled city of gold. This is a simple race game. The player to reach El Dorado first is the winner. The challenge in the game is moving as efficiently as possible through the jungle.


The path through the jungle is the race course. The board is modular and changes with every game. So, the optimal path will never be the same. Cards are used for movement and what cards you have available will determine the path that you take. Everyone starts with the same modest deck of cards, but it's up to you which cards you buy to add to your deck and make it better.

Some cards let you cut your way through the dense jungle. Others will move you through water or provide you with gold to buy more and better cards. The card market is tiered so that only the most basic cards are initially available. Once one of these stacks of basic cards is exhausted however, the player who bought the final card from the stack gets to decide which card from the upper tier moves down and becomes available.

The Quest for El Dorado is a great introductory deck building game. The card play is clear and the objectives are straight forward. The tiered market means that players only need to learn a few card powers at a time, which makes The Quest for El Dorado something of a teaching game. This is a great game for new and experienced game players alike.


#45 Rise of Augustus

Like Karuba (my #53 game), Rise of Augustus uses a bingo style mechanism for simultaneous play. Rise of Augustus plays even more like BINGO. Players start with three "BINGO" cards. These cards have symbols on them. The first player pulls tokens from a bag that shows one of these different symbols and calls it out. Every player who has this symbol on one of their cards covers it up with a little player pawn. When a player completes a card, having covered all of its symbols, they call out, "Ave Caesar!"


Your "BINGO" cards have victory points and special powers on them. The special powers trigger when a card is completed. Some cards give one off benefits while others will help you for the remainder of the game. When you complete a card and call out, "Ave Caesar!" (Or "BINGO" or "Ooh! Ooh! I did it!") The game stops and the powers on your card are triggered. You also then choose a new card from an open market to place in front of you so that you are always working on three cards at a time.

One of the tokens in the draw bag is wild. When this token is drawn, the caller can choose any symbol that they want and call that out instead. Everyone covers that symbol on a card (if they have it) and then the draw bag is reset. All tokens are returned to the bag and the bag is passed to the next player. That player is now the caller, and play continues. Once any player completes their 7th "BINGO" the game ends. Points from individual BINGO cards and public objectives are tallied and the player with the most points wins. 

Rise of Augustus is a brilliant game. It's so much fun and so easy to play, but choosing the right cards is key. Card powers can combo off each other and it feels great to use those powers to complete two or three cards in a single turn. This adds a nice level of strategy to a very simple game, and makes Rise of Augustus a surprising favorite!


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