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4.7 out of 5 stars85
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 2 January 2012
My family (which includes one very big Terry Pratchett fan) received this as a gift for Christmas, and we've been completely bowled over by it! Initially, I must say that my expectations were low. Board game adaptations from other media (the Discworld books in this case) are rarely any good; they just cash in on the brand and have nothing innovative to offer. But we've played it every single day since Christmas, and we're getting very competitive now ...

Look and Feel: upon opening up the set, the Ankh Morpork game cleared the first hurdle of any board game - it looks absolutely gorgeous. The key components, namely the board and playing cards, all feature classic Discworld illustrations including those by Paul Kidby. Nothing is repeated, so there are literally dozens of beautifully-drawn cards to admire as the game progresses. The other playing pieces are all made out of wood, and they feel great and fit into the overall design well.

The Discworld Universe: although you do not need to be familiar with Discworld to understand and enjoy this game, fans of Pratchett's creation will be beside themselves as all their favourite characters - major or minor - make an appearance. History Monks - yes. Ridcully - check. Vimes - but of course. Death - Hello! The mad and bad city of Ankh Morpork is brilliantly brought to life by making each district have its own unique character and influence upon the game. Best of all, each of these elements is integrated with the gameplay in a way that is completely consistent with their characters; for example, playing the History Monks card will allow you to pick up cards from "the past", i.e. the discard pile.

Gameplay: its fair to say that the initial rules and objectives of Ankh Morpork are not immediately intuitive, and you will need a game or two to get the hang of it. The gameplay is a strategy card game combined with territorial conquest. Basically, you use the powers described on the cards in your hand to gain control of various aspects of the board, with the aim of fulfilling your secret objective. Happily, this becomes a very strategic endeavour, and you really have to out-think your opponents to stop them from fulfilling their objectives (if you can figure out what they are) and succeeding in your own. Random events (caused by the magic-using characters) and the occasional stupid ability can throw all your best-laid plans to waste. Like all the best board games, things get really crazy towards the end-stages, when the stakes get frantically high and any player could be within a turn of winning.

In summary: Ankh Morpork is a great independent board game, and is a wonderful addition to the Discworld universe. Its funny, fun to play, has good strategic depth and strong re-playability, and is beautiful to look at. Highly recommended.
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on 22 September 2011
This game is surprisingly, ridiculously good! I got it as a gift for my birthday and it's clever, well-thought-out and an absolute joy to play. I normally avoid board games based on stuff, worried that they're cheap cash-ins. This has been damn good fun!

The basic mechanics are that each player attempts to control the city by playing one or more card (of 100-200?) a turn, most cards allowing you to chuck down a minion to contest an area or purchase a building in an area you control. You start with 5 cards and restock to 5 at the end of your turn. It's remarkably subtle and difficult to control an area, requiring cash, no trouble and minions, so planning ahead while trying not to tip off your mates gets pretty conflicted. Each area adds in different bonus rules, maybe tipping off your eventual plan. Add in that everyone has a random personality with secret winning conditions (control the city, keep the peace, ruin the peace, make loads of money, own the city) and you end up trying to mind-game your poor friends.

It fits damn well in the Pratchett universe, as every card is different (seriously; I spent a good 10-20 minutes just looking at the damn things!)

The one bad thing about the game is the playing pieces. Though the board is spectacular and the cards are damn pretty, the pieces are just painted wood chips. It keeps things nice and easy to see, though, as trying to keep track of who's controlling the city can get difficult!

Basically, it's a reasonably mechanically simple game at the core, but if your friends are remotely sneaky, it becomes absurdly devious. Outsmarting each other is absurdly good fun and the wonderfulness of the cards makes it damned awesome to play. Get this game!
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on 10 October 2012
This game is great fun, and remains great fun having now played it many times with various groups of people.
The game is complex enough to allow attempts at strategy and to have excellent replay value but has enough randomness to be a good laugh and be engaging without being too serious. The best thing about this game is its accessibility. The rules seem complex on an initial read through but they are really easy to follow within a couple of rounds of actually playing. Best yet, many of the games I've played were won by someone who had never played before.
There is no requirement to know anything about Discworld to enjoy this game but the carefully-thought-out use of all the characters is an added bonus to any fan of the book series.
In short then, this is a surprisingly clever and entertaining game. It allows for some brilliant moments of pure genius and/or hilarious misfortune and I've yet to have an unenjoyable game!
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on 19 March 2013
We're thoroughly enjoying this game - worth playing many times. You don't need to be a Pratchett fan to enjoy the game, either. But if you can afford the collector's edition, it's worth paying a bit more for wooden coins, larger map, free poster - and cards and die without the number between 7 and 9!
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on 4 January 2012
The game is perfect! I bought it for my friend to complete his Discworld collection. He already has got Thud and Guards! Guards! Unfortunately you can only play Thud with two players and Guards! Guards! is fun but a little bit... Well, it lacks something, some thrill factor.

But this game is wonderful! It has got everything! Tactics, luck, variation, speed. Easy to learn, hard to master. And it's also fun with two players (and that's rare with most multiplayer boardgames) It's the perfect game and it just so happens to have a brilliant theme.
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on 19 January 2012
This game is so much fun whether you're a discworld fan or not. The concept of the game is quite unusual and is based largely on playing different types of cards. To start with the game can seem rather chaotic. If you've read the Anh Morpork discworld books, you'll know this is just how life appears to be there. However, over time you get to bring strategy into play. For us the game takes around an hour to play, although alot will depend on the winning conditions each player gets and these are drawn at random at the start of the game. Some of the winning conditions will take longer to complete & if all players are unlucky enough to get the tough ones I image the game could continue for quite some time. It's not a particularly educational game, but it is absolutely brilliant fun. A must if you are a board game fan looking for something a little different.
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on 2 March 2014
Excellent game harder to play with 2 but still great. Easy to play and doesn't matter if you are a terry pratchet fan or not.
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on 11 April 2016
A card-based strategy board game for 2-4 players set in the (here beautifully illustrated) comic fantasy city of Ankh-Morpork. Simple and quite fast (45-90 mins) to play, but very strategically deep and varied due to the different (and secret) win condition each player is dealt at the beginning of the game. For example, your condition may be you only win by spreading your minions widely; the other goals are amassing money, or controlling a proportion of the city,* or simply stalling or causing trouble. So there is an element of social deduction, but unlike Werewolf style games you do not win by guessing your opponents' identities.**

So far so good, but it gets better! It works just as well with 2 players as with 4. Further, each of the over a hundred central cards are different, often very silly and fun with their abilities, which adds lots of variety. Moreover, on every play those of us who are Discworld fans continue to enjoy the many references, but those we've played with who know nothing about it do not suffer from a feeling of missing out, and can understand the game perfectly well. Ultimately, play is very fluid with all the mechanics working so well, it would be easy not to notice all the strategy going on underneath the beautiful surface. But Ankh-Morpork does indeed have the best balance of strategic complexity to ease of any game I'm aware of. As such, it's fantastic that Discworld creator Terry Pratchett lived to see his work celebrated by this high class product.

* Given that you can own property that in areas you don't control, it seems strange that you can't have a secret identity who wins through building property rather than controlling areas, so there's space to improve the game there.

** Although I think you could make a house rule where you could gamble something on guessing correctly.
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on 12 November 2013
I pride myself on having a number of intelligent and devious friends. This is good because this is a game designed for intelligent and devious people. Discworld fan or not this game is a tense hour of fun. Playing towards a goal that is unique to each player and known only to the player themselves you and your opponents must fight for control of the City of Ankh Morpork. Using cards drawn from your hand you must build, buy, steal and assassinate your way to victory using your cunning and guile to outwit your friends. This is a simple to learn but hard to master board game where victory is never assured. Calamities such as fire or earthquake can either devastate your strategy or suddenly propel you from last place to victory in a single move. The joy of play is the sheer unpredictable nature of the game coupled with the challenge of not letting your opponents know exactly what your win conditions are. Watching five of your buildings burn down is hard enough but letting out an audible groan of disgust is almost guaranteed to give away the fact that you're playing as Lord Rust and cause your opponents to quickly block you from rebuilding. Similarly doing nothing at all is a safe strategy but will soon indicate that Commander Vimes is in play patiently waiting for the cards to run out so he wins. All said and done this is an exciting game to play with a few friends, uproariously funny at times and frustratingly cruel at others.
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on 29 December 2011
This was ordered as a gift for xmas and was dispatched and delivered within the estimates given.

Both my wife and i love the Discworld books and my wife ask for this game or the Guards Guards game. I decided to get this one as i felt there might be more to the game than Guards Guards.

We have only had the game out once since opening it xmas day, as we have two young children who we dont want to get too close to it yet.

The board and various cards/playing pierces are of good quality and should be very durable. The rules are reasonably well written and not too difficult to understand although i should think that you will need to keep referring back to them for the first few games. A handy player reference sheet explaining some of the major action/rules etc. is also provided for each player which means you dont have to keep asking what something means in the middle of a game so giving away actions etc. on your cards.

The game is easily playable with only two people although some of the event cards in the game are more effective with more people playing.

Almost all the characters/guilds and etc. from the books involving Ankh Morpork seem to be in the game in one form or another which is great. For people who love the books this is a great game and you will not be disappointed for those who dont know the books, this game stands alone and will be a great to play and you will get alot out of it.
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