Saturday, January 22, 2011

In Which The Warlock Wants to Sink Atlantis...

My preference in games is pretty well documented here:  I tend towards full-on cooperative games as well as my more usual complement of player-vs-player games.  However, there's always been one PvP game that's been an Achilles' Heel for me:  Risk.  Games always seem to take so long, with so little variety between turns, that I often get bored and seek out other entertainment, even while playing the game!

But, there was one variant--in amongst the many that exist--that really intrigued me.  Risk: Godstorm

The premise is simple.  Instead of portraying generals, invading the various nations of the modern world, you take on the role of one of the ancient pantheons:  Greece, Babylon, Egypt, Celtic or Norse.  From there, you wage your war across Ancient Europe, complete with the lost Atlantean continent! 

If the differences were only that much, I probably wouldn't have been sold on this varient.  Board Game Karen brought over Lord of the Rings Risk over the Christmas holiday and, while the game was fun, I found the changes it brought to the Risk game to be minimal.  While I enjoyed going to war against Chaotic Karl, Will the Man-Man, and BG Karen, it was essentially just Risk, only in Middle-Earth.

Risk: Godstorm in play
Godstorm changes the game almost violently.  Dead soldiers don't just die, they are returned to their respective Underworld, where their conflict continues over the shrines and crypts in the battlefields there.  Each turn, players get "Faith Chips" which allow you to summon incarnations of the various gods into the world, where they aid your armies in conquest.  Different gods offer different aid--Hades prevents others' soldiers from entering the Underworld, while Thor lets your advancing hordes win ties in combat.  Or, if you so choose, you can purchase Miracles. 

Miracles are really where the biggest changes come into play.  Usually costing Faith to put into play, Miracles allow you to destroy enemy armies with fire and brimstone, call upon relics like Excalibur and the Babylonian Tree of Life, or...destroy the continent of Atlantis. 

When I had heard this, my mind was blown!  Destroy an entire continent?!  Change the face of the game entirely, with one card?!  That's my kind of game! 

I must say, I was not disappointed.  In a short game with The Professor, Mrs. Professor and Will the Man-Man, my Norse warriors managed to invade Hyrkania and Atlantis (without having it sink, luckily!).  Will, unfortunately, got trapped with The Professor in Europa proper, which sent most of his men into the Underworld.  Mrs. Professor, though, pulled out a massive win, spreading out her Celts across Asia Minor and North Africa.

The changes made in Godstorm make it a totally unique game.  While the base mechanics of Risk are the same--advance your armies linearly, 3-vs-2 die combat--the changes that Godstorm provides make it a really innovative addition.  I look forward eagerly to my next game...

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