Top positive review
38 people found this helpful
Funny, Strategic, Beautiful and Fun
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.