Notes on Antiquity

I missed the regular gaming this week, but I was blessed with an opportunity to play Antiquity. The last time was back in 2008, so it was about time.

This was a similar experience as the previous game, actually. I played against newbies, winning and generally playing a satisfactory game. I didn’t record my patron saint last time, but I’m fairly sure it was San Nicolo, as it was today. Once again, I managed to play the game without any storage at all and this time I didn’t even need the Faculty of Alchemy to clean up the garbage.

I was running into serious problems, though, with the lack of farmland, so continuing the game any further would’ve required the use of alchemists. Fortunately I was able to do three one-hex farms producing the one food and two lux I was missing from the house number 20.

Again, the newbies, Hannu and Sonja, played well but lacked the long-term plan to win. That’s how it always works, though, as a newbie will have plenty enough to do in figuring out how the system works. Figuring out how to actually win is for the second game.

Antiquity tiles
Picture: Rob Hamilton (Debate) / BGG

Storage is for newbies. That much is clear. I’ve been doing just fine without it. Just spend the resources. Having a small storage could’ve been useful at certain points of the game, like in a situation where you need two stone. With storage, you can just harvest one stone on two rounds. However, if I built storage, it’d be one tile, max.

Food is generally not a problem, just build that second city to house the graves and the hospital and you can manage quite a bit of famine.

The pollution is more of a problem. An early fountain or two might do some real good, depending on the map (mostly considering the harbour-based distant pollution solutions). Strong expansion early on should help too. The pollution is not a deal-breaker, but it’s a timer of sorts: you have to finish the game before pollution makes farming too difficult

Next time I should probably try Giorgio or Barbara, just to spice up the things a bit. Barbara is somewhat tricky, as you need a third city, but I suppose that has some benefits as well. The special ability seems sort of weak, though, or at most semi-useful.

Faculty of Philosophy is the obvious companion for San Nicolo, but Biology was good, too — I could use the extra food I saved by using Faculty-produces seed to build houses.

Antiquity is a really neat game. We had lots of fun with it, there’s quite a bit of scope for entertaining table talk. Sheep seeds…

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4 responses to “Notes on Antiquity”

  1. Less than three hours. Our game took two and half hours this time, with some newbie pondering. Experienced players shouldn’t have trouble playing the game in two hours.

  2. A little longer than Agricola then. A good evening’s entertainment… I tried it back in 2004 and didn’t like it much, but I’d be more tolerant of it now. Maybe it was before its time. I can’t believe the prices being charged in the BGG marketplace.

  3. Yes, Agricola should take an hour and Antiquity should take two. Both require a bit too much setup trouble, so make it 90 minutes and 150 minutes.

    Antiquity has a few too many chits to position in small hexes which is and will be annoying. There are also some fairly dominant strategies, but I have no idea what the game becomes when all players are deeply experienced, or even playing at the level I’m on now after seven games.

    Still, it’s always been fun and every time keeps me thinking about the game for few days afterwards, which is pretty much the reason I’ve rated it as 10 in Geek. It’s starting to feel a tiny bit easy, which is a downer, but I’m sure that can be corrected with more experienced opponents.

    The biggest problem is the same every long game faces: it’s too long to play regularly and would really benefit from having an experienced group. However, Antiquity isn’t as bad as some other games, as newbies will get an interesting experience and the experienced players can always focus on playing better.