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  • Richard Meyer
    Nov 30, 2000
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      As another of the favorably impressed, I think there are some interesting
      game mechanics available. Obviously, one's game strategy can proceed
      somewhat linearly if you can keep drawing cards for tribes you already have
      first or second place stakes in. However, even if you wind up drawing a
      handful of cards from tribes where you don't have a scoring interest, you
      can use them to start wars in provinces where you're not a factor and play
      cards to evict strong opponents (or ideally, both combatants by forcing a
      tie) and reduce their scores. The three specials also give each player a
      couple of chances to influence the course of play at a critical juncture,
      and allow an 'interrupt' that a Web of Power (which I like Craig found it
      similar to) lacks. Like UP, it is important to time your big moves to
      coincide with the onset of the four scoring rounds, and to be aware when one
      is likely to occur; unlike UP, however, players have the ability to force
      the timing of the scoring rounds. Thus I think there's a lot of game and
      game strategy here to explore.

      I will readily admit, however, that the game mechanics are as unrelated to
      the supposed theme as any game in recent memory. Warlike peoples whose
      scoring rounds are invoked by Peace, rather than the spoils of war and
      plunder. The fact that a reasonable component of strategy is fomenting wars
      that your chosen tribes aren't even a part of. Indeed, the very combination
      of 'influence tracks' and Huns, Saxons, etc., may be a bit of a reach,
      considering the general lack of sublety of barbarian times. In this respect,
      it falls quite a bit short of Web of Power, as the intrigue portion of
      scoring (building advisor alliances) does dovetail with the main goal of
      provincial control by force of manpower.