Antike is one of the top games on the list of good games I don’t play nearly enough. Looking at my records, I played seven games in the six months after Essen 2005, then once in 2008 and once last week. Weak, especially considering how good the game is with six players. (I’ve got a good record in this game, too, I’ve won all but three games.)
Of course, this problem is one of the downsides club playing has — you have to carry everything you play with you (the other major downside is always having a newbie in a game, which hurts some games a lot). Playing at home, Antike would definitely get more table time when there are six players present, as it would always be an option. Now, it’s a big box that just barely fits in my backpack, so I’m not carrying it unless it’s planned, and there it just doesn’t show up.
Of course, playing at home might lead to more terrifying cases of game choice paralysis, we have enough of that already.
But now we played Antike, and it was six players on the Mediterranean map. I learnt the game has got some new rules: if you collect all tech, you score one victory point. That sounds like a good fix and I think I’ll be using that from now on instead of playing to one less VP than the track says.
This time it definitely wasn’t a problem. With new, unfocused players in the game, cruising to a victory wasn’t terribly hard. Maintaining an empire of 8-9 cities is simply a waste in this game. Either stick to five or push to ten. I played Carthage and scored my seven points from five cities, three temples, four tech and seven seas. No fighting necessary. Nobody tried to really stop me. So I lost one city with a temple — at that point it didn’t matter. They were late, and fighting other battles on other fronts.
The gold and tech strategy is my favourite. I used it the last time, too, but then I had to finish things off with huge armies built with gold. In that case getting one point from developing all tech would’ve made a nice difference, too.
(It’s fun to have good records on games and a bunch of blog entries from eight years or so and just point to the last time I played something.)