A game from the gods, for the simple mortals...
Highly-acclaimed by critics, winning many commendations worldwide, Deus was surely a game to talk about when it was released in 2014.
MinD-Spielepreis Complex Game Nominee, Tric Trac Nominee, Lys Passioné Finalist, Kennerspiel des Jahres Recommended, International Gamers Award, As d'Or - Jeu de l'Année Nominee and Golden Geek Award nominee.
To say the least, the game by Belgian's designer Sébastien Dujardin (Troyes, Black Angel, Tournay, etc...), was an event like most of his releases.
In Deus, players work to develop their own civilizations in a shared environment. Each player starts the game with five building cards, and on a turn a player either uses one of these cards to construct a building or discard one or more cards to make an offering to a god. Cards come in six colors: red for military, green for resource production, blue for trade, brown for scoring, purple for temples, and yellow for a variety of effects.
When you construct a building, you build it in the appropriate location on the modular game board — which is sized based on the number of players with the hexagonal tiles composed of seven landscape "circles" — then you place the card in your personal tableau in the appropriate stack of colored cards and activate the power of all of those cards already in your tableau, starting with the card at the bottom of the stack.
When you make an offering, you discard cards, then receive the help of a god associated with one of the cards that you discarded, with the number of cards determining the strength of the associated action. You then refill your hand to five cards.
The game ends either when all the barbarian villages on the game board have been surrounded and attacked or when all the temples have been constructed. Whoever has the most points wins.
A euro-game that's not as complicated as it sounds, based on a civilization-building theme. Let's dive into more details...
Hands down the best part of this game is the way meeples and cards are connected by category. That means when you play the War Elephants card, you not only gain one new army meeple together with the ability to move it 2 spaces, but that ability now also applies to every other army meeple you have. There are lots of interesting implementations of this concept throughout the design. Yet despite all this, the game is lightweight.
Two more quirks to explain. Temple cards are pretty much just the 6-cost devs from Race, offering endgame VP for objectives. Barbarian villages dot the map and offer one-time VP when surrounded and pacified. The game ends when either the barbarians or the temples run out (there's a common pool of temple meeples for all the players).
Player interaction is limited to blocking, raiding (stealing VP/gold) and competition over the temple meeples and barbarian villages.
Remember that to keep chugging along you will need cards, resource tokens (or gold which buys anything at 4:1), and meeples. You start with a 2 or 3 turn supply of resources gold, and a slightly bigger supply of meeples and cards.
What happens when you run out?
Instead of building, you can perform an offering to the gods. You throw away any number of cards, dedicating them to the Roman god of your choice by discarding at least one card of that suit (Mars = military, Neptune = maritime, you get the picture).
1. One meeple of the appropriate shape is added to your personal supply.
2. You refill your hand to 5 cards.
3. Each god grants an additional bonus that scales with the number of cards you discard: Neptune gives you 2 gold for each card; Ceres (production) gives you resources of your choice; Minerva (science) grants bonus card draws; Vesta (civil) grants VP; Mars (military) grants extra meeples of your choice; and Jupiter (temple) lets you use any other god's power.
DEUS is a rich euro-game that's shining from its original design. It's not complex, but rich in terms of choices.
If you have played Deus, now's your chance to get your hands on it again for another game.
If you have NEVER played Deus, we can tell you it's worth taking the time to get into the rules.
The best part in the game is that even if there are good players that will know which strategy to adopt depending on the cards they got at the beginning, there's always a strategy to get out of the "beginning-mist". And winning will bring you so much joy that you will probably never forget a game you've won.
Take a look at the rules, watch some games in progress and play it now by clicking here:
Of course, we would like to thanks Sebastien Dujardin and Pearl Games for their help bringing Deus to the platform.
But more importantly: we would love to thanks Robinzig for the outstanding development of this game. That's a beast of combo-management and while possibilities could be endless, he managed to make the game totally playable on BGA. Kudos to him!
The game being magnified by Maeva Da Silva and Christine Deschamps, you don't have an excuse, if you're into games that are a bit bigger than your average family-sized game, you've come to the right place.
This is a game you should totally try.
At least once in a lifetime.
That's it for now, see you next Wednesday for more amazing games!