GAME REVIEW: Agamemnon

Ospry Games has been very active getting into the tabletop business.  Last year saw the release of the area control game, The King is Dead, which we gave a pretty positive review for.  This year, they have released at least 5 new games, and it doesn’t seem like they’re stopping any time soon.  This latest one is a 2-player abstract game.

AGAMEMNON (2016) Designed by Gunter Cornett; Published by Ospry Games – For 2 players and plays in about 30 minutes. 

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The theme of the game, although very abstract, is pretty cool.  Players take on the roles of Gods during the events of Iliad, influencing fate to decide the outcome of the war.  One player will control the army of Greece and the other will control the army of  Troy.

The board has a bunch of spaces connected by the Strings of Fate, which players will be placing their army tiles around, in order to gain control of the strings.  Whoever has the most Strings of Fate under their control after the last army tile has been placed, is the winner.

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There are 3 different types of Strings.  Strength, Leadership, and Force.

Players have 4 different types of army tiles to place.  Warriors, Leaders, Warp and Weft.

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Warrior tiles contain a number of spears on them between 1 and 3, which represent its strength.

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Leader tiles have a number of spears representing their strength, plus a letter which represents their rank.  A is the highest, while E is the lowest.

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Warp tiles will allow a player to swap 2 strings that are connected to the warp.

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Weft tiles will split a connected group of strings.

Before the game, you will set all the Strings of Fate on their appropriate space on the board.  Then players will begin placing their tiles on the board to gain control of the strings.  The start player will place one tile, then after that, each player will draw 2 random tiles and place them on their turn.

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To gain control of strength strings, the player with the most spears played on those connected strings (from warrior or Leader tiles) will win.

To gain control of Leadership strings, the player with the highest rank leader connected to those strings, will win.   If there is a tie, no one gets those strings.

To gain control of the Force strings, the player with the most tiles played on those connected strings of any type will win.

That’s pretty much it.

To be honest, out of all of Ospry’s Games released this year, this was the one that interested me the least.  It’s not the most eye-catching game.  The components are also just okay.  The strings and tiles are made out of cardboard, which made it seem a little cheap.

But, boy, am I glad I got to play this game.  Because the gameplay itself is actually really, really good!

I like abstract games.  Some of my favorites are Tsuro and Onitama, just to name a few.  I’ve also played quite a bit of mediocre ones lately, but I can gladly say that Agamemnon is not one of those.  This is a solid, strategic abstract game!

The best part of the game is the tug of war between the 2 players as they constantly place their tiles on the path of strings, hoping to conquer.  Just when you think you’re guaranteed a group of strings, your opponent busts out a Leader with the rank of A, as you were hoping he wouldn’t draw it.

I also like that there are 3 different things to pay attention to, according to the 3 different strings.  Trying to get the most spears, trying to have the best leader in a group and having the most of your tiles in one group.  It’s a neat back-and-forth that keeps the game engaging throughout.

And then add in those warp and weft ties, that can totally mess with the game at critical moments, and you’ve got quite an involved strategy game on your hands.

The board itself has a dark, elegant look to it, which I like.  I also love how all of Ospry’s game boxes open up like a story book.  That’s so cool!   I just wish the components would’ve been a little better.  I would love to see a deluxe version of this game with plastic or even wooden components.  It deserves it.

There is also a “Loom” variant on the other side of the board that allows for a more variable setup, so the game will feel different every time you play.  And there’s also an Oracle variant that allows you to choose which type of tile you will draw next.  And there’s an even another variant that allows players to have all their tiles face up and can choose any one they want, which will probably be really intense and could take a little longer.

I really didn’t expect much when I received my review copy in the mail, but I  was really surprised by how much I liked it.  The people I played it with also loved it (even more than me).  It plays really swift (like in 30 minutes or even less sometimes), and offers a lot of interesting decisions.

If you’re a fan of abstract games (especially for 2 players), than you should definitely seek it out.  Don’t let the look of this game turn you off, it’s a solid entry in the abstract, strategy game genre.  Don’t let this one pass you by.

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