Augustus is a game in which you take the role of a representative of Augustus trying to gain the title of Consul by gaining the support of Senators and taking control of provinces. Augustus is a bingo-style game from 2 to 6 players designed by Paolo Mori in which you are trying to gain the most victory points.
The setup is really easy. All the rewards are placed in the center of the table. Each player gets seven legions in its reserve and 6 random objectives from which 3 are chosen as the player’s starting objectives. Five objectives from the pile will be placed open on the table as available objectives during the game. You have one cloth bag with all the mobilization tokens. Each player also gets a reference token with the different kinds of mobilization tokens and their quantity.
The game itself functions a bit different than a “normal” game. First you appoint someone to be the town crier, according to the rules this should be the oldest player. This player gets the cloth bag with the mobilization tokens. When everybody is ready he takes a token and tells (and/or shows) the other players which token it is; double sword, shield, chariot, catapult, standard, dagger or joker. Then everybody may place one of their legions on a corresponding symbol on one of their objective. The legion may come from their reserve or from another objective. The town crier keeps on pulling tokens until one or more players has filled up all symbols on one of their objectives or until a joker is drawn.
The joker gives you the players the option to place their legion on any one symbol. This also results in all the tokens being put back in the bag and the next player in clockwise order becomes the new town crier.
When a player has filled up all of its symbols he cries out AVE CEASAR. This can happen to multiple players at the same time. Each objective has a number and the one with the lowest completed number resolves his first. The player moves all of his legions back into its reserve and carries out the effect of the objective if applicable. There are three types of effects; immediate, permanent and end of game effects. The immediate effects may give you the opportunity to place legions on certain symbols, let you complete an extra objective for free, give you extra legions, mess with your opponent’s legions or objectives and so on… The permanent objectives give you the option to place legions on other symbols than the one just drawn. The end of game objectives award you points for collecting certain objectives, symbols and effects.
After the effect has been done you can claim rewards. There are three types of rewards. The first ones are the colors of objectives. The first player to get three matching colors, three senators or the three different colors and one senator gains the corresponding reward. You can also choose to pick a number of objectives reward. These vary from two to six objectives but you can only pick one of these objectives during the game and only when you have the exact number of completed objectives. You can never lose these rewards even when you don’t comply to its conditions anymore. The last rewards are the resources rewards. These go the player who has the most weed or gold. When two players have the same amount the reward simply stays in the middle. This reward can shift from player to player to the center during the game.
When a player has completed its seventh objective at the end of a turn the game is over and players count their victory points using the provided score sheet. The player with the most victory points is the winner and will be titled as the new Consul of Augustus.
Augustus is a great family game or perfect to end a gamming session. It’s real easy to get into but has some interesting choices along the way. You always have to consider what you are going for when choosing objectives. Are you going for the easy to achieve objective in the hope to accomplish the sixth objective first so taking a lot of points that way, or are you going for the difficult objectives that score a lot of points themselves, or are you going for certain types of awards, or getting points from effects or a mixture of all the above. Another fun aspect of the game is the anticipation of the mobilization tokens drawn. You’re hoping for a certain token and it just won’t come up and then suddenly there it is… AVE CEASAR. The possibilities are endless and yet before you know it the game is over. It actually takes about thirty minutes to play a game no matter how many players. There are only a few cards that let you mess with other players but for some reason I don’t mind. It’s just a light, fun and quick game with some interesting decisions along the way that can be played by everyone.
Play with honor