Playing Gods, the Board Game of Divine Domination
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- the most powerful god will rule the world!
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Tornadoes! Tsunamis! Plagues! Natural disasters... or signs of gods wrath? Whether wreaking disasters of biblical proportions on innocent populations or bestowing providence and goodwill, the gods have ever made sport of humans. From Cthulu and Zeus, to the Cult of Oprah and The Almighty Dollar, players compete as all-powerful deities seeking to take over the world and force everyone on Earth to worship them! Gain converts by promising them Afterlife, Prosperity, and Miracles, or kill off other gods followers with plagues, locusts, avalanches, floods, and other natural disasters. The god with the best strategy, skill, and luck shall rule the world! Play time 30-90 minutes.
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With this game, you can use the rules are vary them to fit your group. All in all, I enjoyed this game.
However, the game turned out to be a little too complicated to really be that enjoyable. I read through the instructions before playing with three other people, but there were so many rules and exceptions to the rules that none of us could keep them straight. At least three times during the game, I had to go back to the manual and look things up. And usually it turned out that we had misunderstood something and were playing it the wrong way. It seemed like the game designers had played along, and whenever they encountered something that didn't quite work, they just added a new rule or an exception to an existing rule.
Now that I've played it once, I plan on trying it again with a new group of friends to see if it gets any easier to comprehend.
Definitly fun if you have open minded people with an offbeat sense of humor.
Although there are some similarities in the game mechanics to Risk in that you place people on the board and try to wipe out everyone else, that's about where the comparison ends.
The cards are fun and amusing, and there are more ways to mess with your fellow gods.
There are a lot of nuance rules that you won't catch the first read through of the instructions, and some could use a little more clarification. but you'll figure it out, or make a "house rule" judgement.
All in all a fun time.
Each player selects a deity to act as for the game. Battle ready figurines representing the major world religions are included: Buddha with a chain gun, Christ wielding a cross, Moses hurling the ten commandments as weapons, Kali with a sword and severed head and a vaguely sheik-like character with a bomb. An additional blank piece is included that can be customized from the enclosed stickers, allowing the player to be the Almighty Dollar, Oprah or the Scientologist face of Tom Cruise. The pieces are well-sculpted, highly detailed and perfect for painting.
The play takes you around the globe as your deity of choice attempts to try and take over the world (cue voices of Pinky and the Brain...). Whomever kills or converts enough followers to control the majority of territories will be the baddest of them all. Killing occurs by playing "Elements" cards that bring on natural disasters, plagues and other "acts of gods." Launching attacks is risky because the prospective victim god may have a card to protect or provide immunity against the attack. Conversion happens through the offering of attributes to your rivals followers. Awesome things such as miracles, prosperity and scripture are very tempting to the lay people. Other shifts in power occur through "Providence" cards that highlight the various events that shift religious leanings.
Playing Gods: The Board Game of Divine Domination is wryly humorous. Cards bring on hailstorms where only the "hatted are safe," preachers caught with prostitutes, and the swelling of church membership when polygamy is condoned. Certainly, many of the cards could be interpreted as blasphemous, but ultimately they seek to reveal some of the more idiosyncratic aspects of religious doctrine. It is not the gods that are the subject of satire per se, but rather the organizations built around them. All of the jokes and gaffaws that occur during game play (and they are numerous) are not from uncomfortable offense, but from the oddities of the followers that are highlighted through the text of the attack and conversion cards.
The Bottom Line:
Playing Gods is fun for gamers and non-gamers, religious and non-religious and young and not-so-young. I've played many times, with disparate levels of belief present in my opponents. I can honestly say that it has been fun, thought-provoking and enlightening each time. There is a certain amount of pleasure in slaughtering the world with plagues and natural disasters without remorse, but the more fulfilling aspect of PG is the level of introspection that is elicited amongst the players. We are all ultimately pawns upon the earth, and who we choose to control our fate is much more than just a roll of the dice.
As a non-gamer raised in a very religious family, I wholeheartedly recommend Playing Gods: The Board Game of Divine Domination to everyone in order to provoke conversations of faith and belief within the comforting environs of a well-designed board game.