You don’t have to be a fan of the Discworld books to play the Discworld: Ankh-Morpork board game. It makes the game slightly more amusing if you have background knowledge, but the game is still very easy to learn, fantastic to play and amusing without. This paragraph will also be repeated for my review summary at the end of this article, but I just wanted that out there for people who might not be fans to see.
With any kind of tie-in product for any franchise, it’s difficult for their producers to avoid missing sales from people who aren’t already fans and the Discworld: Ankh-Morpork game could suffer from this. But it shouldn’t.
The game looks initially complicated as there are a lot of cards and counters, but my first game was played without a pre-read of the rules. The initial set up guide was followed and from there the game was ridiculously self explanatory. The crux of the game revolves around the cards in the Player Deck. Each turn you can use one of the cards in your hand to perform a variety of actions as detailed by the cards themselves. The actions available are:
- Assassination – You may remove from the board one Minion, Troll or Demon if the area they are in contains a Trouble Marker
- Town Watch – Remove a Trouble Marker from the Board
- Money – Gain the Money value indicated on the card
- Scroll – Complete the text written on the card. This varies from card to card
- Random Event – Call forth Demons and Floods to mess with the city of Ankh-Morpork
- Play Another Card – As it says, play another card. This can be used to chain a number of cards together
- Interrupt – Stop an action from being performed on you or the board, used out of your turn
- Place Minion – Take one of your pieces and place it in a space you occupy or one adjacent to it
- Place Building – Take a building and add it to an area you have a Minion. It must contain no Trouble Markers or other buildings
Each of the cards in your hand allows you to perform one or more of the above listed actions. The cards themselves feature major characters and events from the Discworld books and this is where fans of the franchise will find extra enjoyment as most of the cards act in a way you would expect that character or event too.
At the start of the game each person randomly and secretly picks a persona to play. This persona details your victory conditions for the game. These victory conditions range from getting a certain amount of trouble markers on the board, to simply ensuring the game ends with no one else winning. There are seven personas available, and with the maximum amount of four players in each game, you’ll never be too sure at the start what your opponents victory conditions are until they start working towards it and even then, they might be bluffing.
Components wise, the card art is fantastic and the game board, detailing the areas of Ankh-Morpork is very detailed, fans again will get more enjoyment out of the board than those who are simply playing the game. The board pieces, houses, minions, trolls and demons are sturdy wood blocks that should survive better than the usual card or plastic pieces.
You quickly find when playing, that the cards detail all of the action, and the rules are in effect a quick reference sheet for the different actions you can perform, which is what makes this an extremely easy game to learn and play, and allows you to concentrate on trying to fool your opponents to your victory conditions.
A game should take just short of an hour to play and with the game run by the card deck and the random persona choices, every game will be unique.
Easy to learn, straightforward to play, yet detailed enough to provide constant revisiting. Fans of the Discworld Franchise will find more to enjoy, but if you’re not a fan or haven’t read the books or seen the TV movies, Discworld Ankh-Morpork is still a very enjoyable board game. It’s well produced and humorous, a solid effort by Treefrog Games.
4 out of 5 Nerds
Discworld: Ankh-Morpork can be bought here.