When first approaching THE GREAT ZIMBABWE one can feel overwhelmed with the variety of game parts organized around the table. And especially for a firstMessage 1 of 1 , Nov 28, 2012View Source
28 Nov - Game Report - THE GREAT ZIMBABWE
When first approaching THE GREAT ZIMBABWE one can feel overwhelmed with the variety of game parts organized around the table. And especially for a first play, one wonders just what to do. But at its heart, TGZ is not that complex of a game.
The overall concept is that player’s represent African tribes trying to gain prestige (victory points) by building monuments and getting craftsman on the map to provide goods. Players can also gain a variety of “power ups” (specialists and gods) to help their efforts. The trick in the game is that each craftsman, each specialist, each god acquired not only gives an advantage, but also increases the necessary victory points needed by that player to win the game. As a result, one is determining a cost/benefit for each option in the game.
While there does seem to be numerous options, players initially are limited by their meager wealth (3 cows) which in turn limits one’s initial options. As the game progresses, players increase in wealth, but other limitations (resources, access to craftsmen, and space on the map) start to constrict the game play.
And boiled down, each player really only has one option each turn – start a new monument, increase existing monuments, or place craftsmen. Once this is realized, one’s analysis of possible options does tend to shrink down, but forces a player to think a few moves ahead.
In our game, Rich focused on increasing his monument to gain points quickly and early, but then stalled on his ability to get more without a new monument started. Dave focused on two monuments supported by his ivory craftsman while using “the herd” to increase his cows. Tim focused on building secondary craftsman which helped give him a bit of a monopoly on a few key goods needed to increase the monuments. A few turns after these secondary craftsman were placed, Tim could increase his points over his threshold by 2 points. Dave and Rich both tried to maximize their points as well, but could only afford to get to within 3 under their individual thresholds. So a tight race to the end that Tim just was a bit more efficient at.
But with this play and a better understanding of how the game paces itself, I suspect the next game would be a bit tighter. Another advantage, the game does play rather quickly. We were done in about 2 hours including rules explanation.