Tabletop Time – Discworld: Ankh-Morpork

Tabletop Time - Discworld 1

This is by far one of my most favourite games and I’m probably biased here, since I love everything related to Discworld, but I find this game is a lot of fun. It does however mean that certain people can be extremely sneaky in tricking me into losing the game (*cough* Joeri *cough*). So if you haven’t heard of “Discworld” before, then you’re really missing out and we’ll help to rectify this by introducing  it to you while we’re explaining the game.

Tabletop Time - Discworld 2

What is Discworld?

The game is based on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld fantasy novels and as the name suggests the world (and many others in the universe) is flat and disc shaped…so you’d probably find me falling off the edge at some point! Not only is the world flat, but it’s being carried on the back of four giant elephants (Great T’Phon, Jerakeen, Tubul and Berilia) which in turn are being carried by the Great A’Tuin, a giant star turtle. A’Tuin carries the Discworld and all in inhabitants all across the universe rather than orbiting a sun… This means that the sky at night changes markedly over the course of decades as the turtle departs older constellations and enters new ones. Astrologers aren’t so lucky as they need to constantly update and alter their horoscopes to include all-new zodiacs.

Although the Great A’Tuin doesn’t orbit a sun, it seems that a very small moon and sun orbit the turtle instead. The moon is quite special in comparison to ours since it’s covered, on one half, with silvery glowing plants…these plants apparently feed the lunar dragons and the other half the sun has scorched black. The sun’s orbit is actually so complex that one of the elephants (poor thing) has to cock its leg to allow it to continue its orbit.

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What about the game?

Now we’ll move on to the game. So Ankh-Morpork is the city in which the game is set in (which isn’t exactly the nicest of places!) and it’s the biggest city on the Discworld. It’s very multi-cultural, in a sense, with humans, dwarves, bogeymen, trolls, vampires, gnomes, werewolves and zombies being more prominent in population than the rest. There are many characters from his novels that make appearance while playing the game and it’s really nice to see if you’re a fan of his books.

Okay, so basically the idea of the game is that the Patrician (essentially the ruler), Lord Vetinari, has disappeared and left and opening for someone to take control of the city. Each player takes on a role from one of seven different characters and tries to complete their individual goal to win the game. You have to choose these without knowing what you’ll get, therefore making it so that other players don’t know what you need to do to win. Once you’ve picked your personality card, make sure it’s in an accessible place and face down. You need to check it to see how far along with the goal you’re at! Don’t forget that once the cards are all gone, the game is over! When this happens it goes down to a point system instead…unless you picked the illusive Sam Vimes, which means you’ll instantly win the game once the deck of cards is finished.

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The map of Ankk-Morpork is divided into 12 numbered areas and the majority of the gameplay involves taking control of these locations by having more minions/buildings in them than any other player. There are plenty of tactics for others to use to decrease this number, so be careful with what you do! Don’t just jump in to every single location trying to chase someone to get rid of their minions, this could very easily create a win for the other player…please, I know. Joeri tricked me when I wanted revenge. Revenge is not good hot! Let it cooooool and keep ‘em on their toes before you pull out the winning shots.

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There are quite a few pieces to the board and as I mentioned before, you have minions and buildings. Below is a list of the contents in the game that are definitely necessary to play.

  • 48 Green bordered player cards
  • 53 Brown bordered player cards
  • 12 Random event cards – these can be super nasty, so watch out!
  • 12 City area cards – mostly used to show what areas you control with a building.
  • 7 Personality cards – the individual objective to win the game is on the cards.
  • 4 sets of 6 buildings, for each colour.
  • 4 sets of 12 minion pieces, for each player.
  • 4 Demon markers
  • 3 Troll larkers
  • 12 Trouble markers
  • 35 Silver coins worth $1 each, 7 Gold coins worth $5 each.

Minions are as they are…your loyal followers. However when they are placed in an area containing another players minion or a troll/demon, then you must place a trouble marker. These markers restrict construction of buildings (max on the board for each player is 6, so be wise) and can allow other players to assassinate another players minion, thus removing the trouble marker and freeing the space for their control. The game is driven mostly by the playing of game cards (Green & Brown bordered), with each player taking turns to play one of their cards. Don’t worry! Each card features one or more symbols that allow them to perform actions such as “place a minion on the board”, “murder/assassinate opponents minion” and “collect money”. Money is also only ever used to buy buildings to place in an area of your choice (each area has a cost, which you pay for the building) or to give to another player. By the end of the game if all cards in the deck are gone, then money is also counted as points.

This game is about totally domination people, so don’t be stingy! Let your opponents know you’re in it to win it. Who will be the next Patrician of Ankh-Morpork?!

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Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Short games
  • Not complicated
  • Can play with friends, the more the merrier!

Cons

  • 4 Player game, so if you have more you can’t play.
  • Not common to find in stores, may need to buy online.

What made you want to play it?

Honestly it’s really all my fault (Kelly). I’m a huge, huge, HUGE Terry Pratchett fan and absolutely adore his books. So when we went to FACTS a few years ago and saw this game on one of the stalls, I really couldn’t help but buy it. It has been an incredibly fun game to play with Joeri and he’s such a little sneak that I always have to watch my back playing it! It’s what makes it enjoyable and worthwhile…immersing yourself into a world you know and love, seeing characters that take you back to the very pages you saw them in…it’s just awesome. We both enjoy playing it against each other and with friends so it’s been a good investment.

Why we recommend it.

The game is quite simple to get used to and the rules aren’t overcomplicated and it doesn’t take hours to complete. There are games that finish even after 30 minutes, so it’s not terribly long to play. I personally recommend any Discworld fans to just give it a go, even if you think you won’t like it, because you really can’t judge a book by its cover…so why judge a game by its box? For those of you who have never heard of Discworld, but find the game interesting…go for it. You may find you want to know more about the universe and its characters. It never hurts to try something new! On a side note it’s also a really fun game to play with friends because each person has their own play style…and no doubt there will many laughs while playing.


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