How I Conquered the World: A Review of Eschaton
As a teen, one of the few games that we ever played together as a family was Risk. We would go to my uncle's house and spend an entire Saturday trying to dominate the world until one of us was a victor, or until my dad was upset that he'd lost Australia and flipped the game board off the table. It's one of the few board games I remember playing as a family.
As an adult, one of the games I've had the most fun with, once I started to explore the world of tabletop gaming and attending conventions, was Dominion. Every year, I would look forward to playing the deck-builder game with my friends at Hypericon It's an itch that I haven't had scratched in a while. I bought the base Dominion game, but my husband isn't too keen on playing it.
Eschaton is a deck-building strategy game by Archon Games. Eschaton also combines my two cherished tabletop game memories with a dark, occult theme. I was quite excited to learn about this game, and also a bit trepidatious on seeing the number of pieces involved in the heavy box.
What is It?
Blending deck-building with world-domination strategy, Eschaton is a game where the deck you build and the omens cards drawn will cause you to constantly shift your tactics to earn the favor of the Dark One before Armageddon consumes the world in fire. You play the part of a cult leader trying to outdo the other cults in the world to ensure you're the supremely favored disciple of the Dark One.
You'll earn favor by not just controlling territory on the board or owning certain occult artifacts that can be drawn from the decks involved, but also by fulfilling the omens that are drawn and in play every round.
Here's a five minute video that the publish put together, full of dramatic voice over and dark animation, to help you better understand the game.
This game doesn't just combine the core aspects of a deck-builder with a world-domination game, though. While you still have to make decisions each turn about what card you're going to buy to build your deck, most of the cards will offer you multiple options. You don't have to choose between cards that get you more buying power vs those that only offer you attack; almost all of the cards you can buy can do multiple things. Some will even allow you to make multiple prophetic decisions, which is a huge boon in this game.
Is it Fun?
Eschaton is fun and its mechanics mean that each time you play it, it's going to be a different game. It's a little on the complicated side to learn the rules, but if three people several hours into drinking can learn it, I'm quite certain you can as well!
Opening the box is intimidating. The packaging includes several decks of cards that have to be split up, curse and disease markers to punch out, and wooden cubes to represent your cult forces. Archon, thankfully, has included an abundance of small zip-lock bags to keep all the pieces in. The game box comes with a plastic insert for the cards to get stacked in. The only problem I have with this is that the inset spaces are a bit too wide and the cards shuffle around a bit.
The artwork on everything is simple and clean, rendered in a style that perfectly suits the aesthetic of the game. Keep the rulebook handy and go through a round or two and before long you won't need it.
I would definitely recommend picking this game up if you have an interest in either type of game that it blends together. With an MSRP of $60.00 it can be a bit of an investment, but if you're going to buy a tabletop board game you're probably spending about that much anyways.
If you want to take a look at another review, look at this
Have you played Eschaton? Leave a comment and let me know what you thought!