Alexander the Great: Founder of an Empire

Alexander the Great: Founder of an Empire

From: Phalanx Games

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Alexander the Great: Founder of an Empire is a new Board Game from Phalanx Games.

Alexander the Great: Founder of an Empire is a board game where the players follow in the path of the Macedonian king all the way to Persia, founding important cities and magnificent temples.

From the website:

“In the end, Alexander ruled over a world empire that stretched from the Danube to the Adriatic Sea, to Egypt , to the Caucasus, Persia and India.

In Alexander the Great: Founder of an Empire, players gain points for building temples, conquering provinces and founding cities, and of course, the winner is the player who has the most points at the end of the game. It is primarily a resource allocation game (not a war game), where one allocates resources to four key elements of the game: influence turn order, introduce armies, build temples and found cities. The important thing to know on the outset is that it is not a war game. It is an area-control game by means of resource allocation. Battle is only an abstract concept in the game.

The map displays the Middle East and part of India, divided into six regions, which are made up of several smaller provinces. Some provinces have city and/or temple symbols in them. The game is played in turns and up to three turns make up a campaign. An arrow in each province guides the players on the direction of play from province to province based on Alexander’s march through the regions. Some of these arrows have movement costs associated to them, which represent difficult terrain to move armies to the particular province. There are also sea lanes to move across the ocean from port to port.

From page # 2 :

“Alexander grants equal rights to all within his world empire…”

Each turn, players use a resource allocation board and a screen to secretly allot resources to the four areas of the game. Once all have done so, it is revealed and armies are placed. Based on these bids, cities and temples are built and points are scored in each province. Players only receive fifteen resource markers, eight cities, and ten temples in their color. A campaign ends when armies reach the last province of the region, and there are 6 regions.

The game plays very fast. I think that 30 minutes is a little low but we played it with 4 players in 2+ hours. It flowed rather easily once we got the system down. The challenge is planning out your conquest and having alternatives if your opponent out bids you. Going first is not always a good thing. Also, those movement costs can eat up resources and kill your chances of winning a city or temple bid. Game play is easy but strategy is challenging. There is a certain level of “poker-like” interaction in this game.

In this game, one must be able to bluff well and read their opponents better. Game play comes down to where you placed your armies and how many armies you placed as well as how much you bid for temples and cities and where you can place them. There are limitations to how many cities and temples can be built in a province per turn and this is where going first comes in handy. However, knowing where your opponent goes before allows you to place armies in reaction to him, so it is a little tricky.

The layout and components of the game are well done and well made. The game pieces are painted wood in 5 different colors. The game board is easy to play on and read except we did forget about the sea lanes quite often. The rules read a little awkward because they jump around a little, but after reading them twice, I got the flow of the game figured out. The rule book is 7 pages long, which shows you how simple the game rules are. The packaging is outstanding, like all Phalanx games are. All pieces come in their own zip-lock bag, which gains it bonus points. However, it loses some bonus points because it supplies just enough parts to play with and those little resources are hard to keep up with. There is a high chance one or two would get lost.

In conclusion, Alexander the Great: Founder of an Empire is a fun game, but not a family game. It has a distinct “European” feel and is probably more appealing to hardcore board-gamers. I liked the mechanic behind it and the game flow. It is a good game for those that like land-grabbing bluff-strategy games.

For more details on Phalanx Games and their new Board Game “Alexander the Great: Founder of an Empire” check them out at their website http://www.phalanxgames.nl, and at all of your local game stores.

Alexander the Great: Founder of an Empire

From: Phalanx Games

Type of Game: Board Game

Design: Ronald Hofstätter and Dietmar Keusch

Graphics: Franz Vohwinkel

Number of Pages: Type Number

Game Components Included: 1 game board, 75 resource markers, 10 wooden playing pieces, 50 temples, 40 cities, 5 player boards, 5 screens, 1 player aid card, 1 rules booklet

Retail Price: $ 45.00 (US)

Number of Players: 2-5

Player Ages: 10+

Play Time: 30mins+

Item Number: PHA-US.ALE01

Website: www.phalanxgames.nl

Reviewed by: Ron McClung