I was pleased to hear that Esdevium Games have two board games for sale from his favourite author Terry Pratchett: Witches and Discworld Ankh Morpork. It may be down to the fact that I’m not one, but I find it particularly difficult to buy for men. There’s only so many times you can buy them chocolate, smellies, socks and a new dressing gown for Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, Birthdays, Anniversaries, Christmas and so on. I used to buy my husband books, but he really just does not get the time (or peace and quiet) to get to grips with them really (what with four children). The board game was a great alternative gift.
Discworld Ankh Morpork by Terry Pratchett The Background
Discworld is about a fictional world, a flat disc, balanced on the backs of four elephants which, in turn, stand on the back of a giant turtle, that floats through space. Ankh Morpork is the main city in the Discworld. To date there have been 40 novels published in the Discworld series, beginning with The Colour of Magic in 1983.
Discworld Ankh Morpork The Board Game Equipment
The game comes with:
* A board
* D12 (12 sided dice)
* Four sets (one for each players colour) 6 Wooden buildings
* Four sets (one for each players colour) of 12 wooden minion pieces
* 4 wooden Demon pieces (that you cannot control)
* 3 wooden Troll pieces (you cannot control).
* 12 black trouble markers
* 35 silver coins – worth 1 dollar each
* 17 gold coins worth 5 dollars each
* Player aid Card (one side tells you about the different symbols on the player cards, and the other side tells you about the different personality cards and the different city cards).
* 12 Random event cards (things going wrong – floods, burning buildings, demons, trolls, etc)
* 7 Personality cards – each having criteria to win the game.
* 12 City Area cards
* 48 Green bordered Player cards (less powerful)
* 53 Brown bordered Player cards (more powerful)
Review of the Discworld Equipment
Before my husband opened the box he was expecting figurines of the characters, but after playing the game realised that the game did not require them, and would not have worked with them. There are wooden pieces to represent the people in Discworld (but they are not characters just like citizens) – this is so you know where they are occupying in each area.
The board shows the various regions of Ankh Morpork is of good quality and well illustrated.
When Discworld arrived the money all needed popping out of its frame, which created some waste straight away, but I should imagine that this is to protect it in transport and not really a big deal.
The problem with books, we find, is that once you have read them, then things do not usually live up to them – largely because you have created so many things in your own mind. Films are renowned for ruining books, or just using the same title and the story is nothing like the original. Thankfully with Discworld this was not the case. My husband is pleased with how true to the book the game was for the places, events and characters descriptions being quite closely related to how Terry Pratchett portrayed them.
How to Play Discworld Ankh Morkpork
Setting up Discworld
The City is divided into 12 Areas, each area has a name, a number and a cost for building there. Each player picks one of the four colours for their playing pieces. This game is for 2-4 players, however, the instructions for only 2 players are slightly different, the instructions do not say this immediately, so make sure you read them all before setting up. There are 3 predetermined start locations that players place minions and a trouble marker; each player starts with 10 dollars and each pile of cards is shuffled. Brown player cards are put face down on the table with the green player cards on top of them (the draw pile), this means that the game starts off simply: Then deal each player 5 of these cards. Each player randomly picks a personality card, and keeps it secret – this tells the player what their victory conditions are.
The aim of the game is the first player to achieve their secret victory, whilst trying to strategically work out what the other players victory condition is utilising the player aid cards, and to prevent them from reaching their victory first. The dice is rolled to randomly determine who goes first. Play goes in a clockwise direction. The game starts with the first person selecting one of their player cards. These player cards can have symbols on (some do not and are not desirable, but can be passed onto others to make their game play more difficult). The symbols on the card (which represent the actions of the players) correspond to different things on the “card symbols” sheet and must be used from left to right on the card. You can use as many symbols as you like on that card, but you must use them in order. If the card has a play another card symbol then you can (but don’t have to) go on to another card.
Once the player has used their card(s) they are put in a discard pile. The player then takes as many cards as required from the Draw Pile to replenish their hand back to five cards. You can have more than 5 cards, due to instructions on the cards, but this would mean you would end your turn without collecting any more of the cards from the Draw Pile. The Fools Guild and Dr Whiteface cards cannot be got rid of, and effectively waste one of your five cards.
The Player aid card describes how each of the symbols on the player cards work.
The minion symbol – this means that you can place a minion in an area where you already have a minion or next to an area where you already have a minion. If you place a minion where there is already another minion you have to put down a trouble marker. If you move a minion because all your other minions are already on the board, or if a card tells you to, you remove the trouble marker from the area you’ve moved from.
Building symbol – means you can buy a building in one of the areas that you have a minion in, that does not have a trouble marker, for the cost on that is written on that area on the board. You then take the corresponding City area card, which details a benefit for owning that area.
Assassination symbol - (red skull and cross-bones) this means that you can remove a minion (but not your own), or troll or demon from an area that contains a Trouble Marker, which will also mean that you can remove that Trouble Marker too.
Police badge symbol – remove one Trouble Marker from any area.
Coin symbol – this shows an amount that you can take from the bank.
Scroll symbol – you can perform the action on the text of the card.
Star symbol – this is the only symbol that isn’t optionally – you must draw the top card from the Random Event Deck. Up to 12 events can occur. You roll the dice to see what area the event effects (in most cases). If the riot card is selected and there are 8 or more Trouble Markers on the board the game ends immediately. In this instance the points then added up to see who wins.
Play another card symbol – you may play another card, you can do this until you run of cards with this symbol on.
Hand symbol – interrupt – you can play this at any time, even if it is not your turn if appropriate, such as preventing the removal of one of your minions during an assassination.
Thoughts on Discworld Ankh Morpork
You do not need to have read the book to understand how to play. But it is nice to have read the book to appreciate the game more. Sometimes the game can be won just because the victory condition is met, without actually trying to it just happens. The game can be understood and played by a younger audience, although it is quite strategic it is mostly explained as you go along. The game is recommended for those aged 11+ but this is most likely because of the content – assassinations, fires, murder, but not graphically. We liked this game and would recommend buying it.
We received a free copy of Discworld from Esdevium Games all thoughts and opinions are honest and our own.