on March 16, 2012
I bought this game while exploring the range of Phalanx Games being discontinued in production.
A couple of the Phalanx Games I ended up with are quite interesting, distinct and a lot of fun.
Alexander the Great, on the other hand, is just mediocre. The game design is somewhat blah. The board is nice, although the slant-y Roman/Greek "Aesop's" lettering is hard to read at first. The rules are written pretty well, but there isn't a lot going on in the game to write about. The wooden pieces are just what you'd expect from a Euro game, but they aren't very distinctive or "cute", they're more like "throw wooden pieces in there, that'll make the game sell...". For temples, they threw in the same type of houses from "Power Grid". Of course, the pictures of the Temples around the game look like what you'd expect a typical Doric-Columned Greek Temple. How a jig-sawed wooden house conveys that is a little foggy to me. The Cities, on the other hand, are represented by cubes with a dot on one side. The resource cubes are represented by yet smaller cubes (lacking a dot though!). They are functional, but don't really make the game pop out.
What the game consists of in play is several players (2-5) spend 90 minutes in retracing the conquest of Alexander the Great. Play occurs in six different regions. Each region consists of 4-7 Provinces, each of which may allow the building of a city, temples or both. Play in each region lasts from one to three turns. Players allocate their 15 "resource cubes" to seize turn control, become armies, be used to build temples, be used to build cities. Terrain effects are taken into account in the game (which is rare in modern Euro-Games from what I've seen) and moving armies from one province to another may involve having to spend some of the resource cubes you've allocated to building temples or cities. If more than one player wants to build a city or temple in an area then the higher bidder wins the right to build the edifice in question. The rules in the rulebook are not entirely clear on this procedure, so we made our best guess at what to do. Victory points are awarded for each turn, on the basis of who has the most armies in each province in the region and each city or temple built in a turn. At the conclusion of the sixth region, the end of the game comes and bonuses are awarded for the player who has built the most cities, the player who has built the most temples and, for each region, who has the most cities and temples region-by-region.
Overall, at the end of them game, it wasn't terribly interesting, the game play is a little basic and boring. Not a great game. Its not horrible, on the other hand, either. As one review pointed out, the game would be better with more people. That is a really solid point. Play with 4 or 5 players and the game would pick up a little speed. Not enough to save it, in my opinion. 6/10 Stars.