by Alcyon creative
A review by Mawihtec
Join Jason and the Argonauts on their search for the Golden Fleece. If that does not whet your whistle, STOP go away and watch some of the classic 1963 film (Not the remake). Pelias tells Jason to travel to Colchis to find the Golden Fleece. Jason follows his advice and assembles a sailing crew of the finest men in Greece, including Hercules. They are under the protection of Hera, queen of the gods. Their voyage is replete with battles against harpies, a giant bronze Talos, a hydra, and an animated skeleton army. OK your back, yes yes calm down. You will control at least two heroes. Dependant on number of players up to 8 in a solo game. You will steer the Argo across the known ancient world. Encounter mythical foes, trade, hunt and pray to the gods for help in finding the Golden Fleece.
The lovingly art styled small form box contains all you need for this historical saga,
- Game board,
- Hero cards,
- Legendary encounters,
- Merchant tiles,
- Exploration cards,
- Argo Event cards,
- Port City cards,
- Squad tokens,
- Equipment tokens,
- Relic tokens,
- D12 die,
- Wooden ship,
- Golden fleece tokens,
- Resource, Favour, Crew and Damage tokens.
Argonauts is a co-operative game. What makes it different is that there are simultaneous actions and point to point movement. You start off with the Argo (your ship) on Iolkos and each player is dealt four random heroes for their squad. Each turn you will move the Argo consuming rations as you go. On each space their will be either, an Argo Event. This could range from stormy seas to dead calm. Attacking monsters through to more success collecting fish. You might instead find a port which will allow you several actions. Trading with merchants, repairing your ship, seeking favors from gods, hold a meeting with the city lord or explore. Not all of these options will be available in every port. Add to this the fact you will only have up to two actions in the port, you will be constantly juggling your options.
Right you want to know what you do with the heroes? Most activities in Argonauts will require you to use hero cards. Your heroes have various skills that could be in areas such as combat, diplomacy, stealth or sailing (there are more to discover). Not all heroes have access to all skills a sailor might not be a good hunter or diplomat for example. The available skills will have different values depending on your characters proficiency. Each player will choose the hero that they think will provide the best chance of success. Once you have all chosen you compare the skills against the target skills required. Exceed the number to achieve a success. You might on occasion need to roll the die to see if your actions have pleased or angered the gods. Each hero has two gods listed on their card, one that favors them and one that is less keen. These will modify your results to possibly have an effect on your result.
All of this makes it seem very simple doesn’t it? Of course things are never as easy as they seem. When you select a hero you exhaust them and they will not be available for at least the next two rounds. You place the selected hero on the exhausted side of your squad board. Hero-ing is a very tiring business after all. They will remain there unavailable until you use another hero for an activity (exhausting) this will cause the first hero to move to the resting side of your squad board. This leaves you with only two heroes to choose from for the next round. Once you exhaust the next hero this will cause the resting one to be moved back to your hand ready for selection.
At various points you will experience Legendary encounters. These will consist of famous mythical enemies like Harpies, Talos, Dragons and more. You will have to make a choice between rushing headlong with combat or trying a more stealth approach. This will involve meeting or exceeding one or more skill targets. Win the encounter and be rewarded with relics. Fail however and you might lose Argonauts or suffer damage to your ship. Warning if at any point your number of Argonauts drop to zero or your ship reaches four damage and it is game over, you lose, your all dead.
Your ultimate aim is to find the Golden Fleece and return to your home port. This is not as easy as it seems. In four run through’s I was able to achieve this only once and that was with a very fortunate one Argonaut and 3 damage to my ship. Not exactly the heroes return I envisaged.
I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the balanced level of difficulty provided here. Even though winning is hard and failure is easy. At no point did I think it was “too” difficult I always felt like I could have done better. The gameplay flows in a very simple manner which makes it fluid and easy to follow. Set-up is simple and quick and no excessive “bits of card”
Gameplay at one player is just as easy as at four players. I do have one hesitant note. Apart from the selection of heroes for each challenge, I question the need for four players. With one player going through the four squads each round can be a bit tiresome. Where this game shined for me was at two players with each player running two squads each. There was plenty to discuss and decide throughout. Overall another solid game from Alcyon Creative following up from Deus Ex Machina. Look out for their next outing, a space Co-op IRONCLAD
Let the dust settle.
- Expansion is included in the box.
- Best with two players.
- Gorgeous artwork.
- Balanced challenge.
I was provided with a copy of Argonauts to review as part of the BGE group. I have now passed this copy on to another reviewer in the group. This has no bearing on my review or my final thoughts on the game.