Last night I had the chance to play the game Trajan with two other folks. Trajan is published by German publisher Ammonit Spiele, and is designed by Stefan Feld. Trajan is a development game in which players engage in construction, commerce, politics and military activity in order to score points. There are several clever mechanisms in the game, including an ancient system called a mancala to determine how a player's actions are determined each turn.
Here are some pictures I took last night:
And here's a YouTube video of the game being explained.
I found Trajan fairly easy to learn and within a few turns I felt I had the basics. I opted for a military based strategy, and while that netted me a good number of points, the other two players seemed to do better with commerce and building strategies.
The game components and artwork are beautifully designed and quite attractive. The game went by fairly quickly - we finished it in two hours. As a strategy game it is simple and challenging. As a teaching tool, I am not sure it offers a lot of education about ancient Rome. If you know about the period you will appreciate the atmosphere of the game, but you could play it as a strategy game without knowing the first thing about who Trajan was. Still it is a fun and clever game, and I would certainly play it again.
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