The dragon god Azema has created a new world – Ulos. A world where once isolated mortal races can come together in harmony. They, however, feel differently. Armies are coming, not for peace, but for control over the newly formed lands. As a god yourself, you are intrigued by these petty mortal squabbles. You must decide which mortals are worth investing in, or maybe even which to help in expanding their territories. Will you be able to gain the most favor with Azema by making the right investments? Let’s find out.
What Is It?
Modular Board / Variable Set-Up – The boards fit together in multiple ways, so the terrain layout is always a bit different. Players will use 5 out of the 10 available factions per game, some with action abilities, and some have combat abilities.
Stock Holding / Hand Management – Players will invest in various factions throughout the game and can “buy” more to increase their holds or “sell” them to use their special abilities. The value of the different factions will fluctuate for better or worse throughout the game as their territories grow, or if they get removed from the board after conflicts, so players need to try to buy low and sell high before a crash!
Tile Placement / Territory Building – Each turn, players will add a new terrain tile to the board. They may be able to add a faction’s camp to the board when doing this, or expand an existing territory, which may increase the faction’s strength if the terrain is the right type.
Combat – When two (or more) territories would collide, the involved factions will resolve a conflict. Players can choose to add either, or both, faction’s cards to the conflict, to increase their strength, and can play combat abilities to influence the conflict as well. 1/2 of each player’s contributed card for each faction will return to the reserve, so they must decide if it is more vital to play them or keep them.
Who Is It For?
- 1 to 5 Players – Solo was enjoyable. It scales pretty well for most counts, but card piles are more likely to deplete quickly with more players, of course. And I thought 2 players was easily the worst player count.
- Ages 14 & Up / Mid-Weight Gamers – It can be tricky understanding when to invest, in which faction(s), and when to keep cards versus playing them and getting spoils. Younger or less experienced players may have a harder time.
- Fans of stock holding games whop would like a little more action on the board
Solo – Play against Ulrir (AI) who assigns an element to each faction and plays lantern cards which influence which territory he tries to expand, which faction he buys, and if/when he gains spoils.
I thought the flow of Ulrir’s turns was very clean and streamlined. Upkeep wasn’t bad. It was pretty similar to the 2 player game in the fact that it’s “perfect info” (you always know how many cards of each type the other player has), but you also have a little more info from Ulrir because of the cards above his board – you know which factions he could grow on his turn, and which are not possibilities. It feels like you have a good amount of power without being too easy by any means. Pretty good, and would recommend it for solo gamers who like the genre.
- Aesthetics – Looks great on the table / nice art / good graphic design
- Components – great quality all around – love the faction minis
- Variety – Modular board, various faction abilities
- Mix and matching the factions in different games is great too
- The conflict as factions grow is more interesting than “mergers” in other games of this style
- Interesting to balance keeping cards in hand versus playing them for actions or in conflict
- Rulebook is well written, easy to learn from
- I like that lost factions can come back and aren’t just out of the game forever after a merge/crash
- Rift tiles give cool chances for various abilities, but also nice that they’re worth points if you don’t use them
- Good reference cards
- Fun theme
- I don’t love the insert. It’s great for the minis and cards, but I found the tiles difficult and annoying to get in and out because they fit so exactly in their section
- Not great at 2. Always knowing how many cards the other player has of each faction just leads to not very interesting choices
- Lengthy set-up/clean-up
- Can run a bit long
- Faction tiles are a bit big for the power board, and it’s annoying to stack them. I wish they were on standees
I’ve been very middle of the road on stock holding games in the past, but I was interested in this one despite knowing it fit that genre because of the theme. I was hoping that would be able to pull me in more than the “big companies” type of theme. And to be fair, it did a bit. I like this better than similar games I’ve played (i.e. Acquire, Big Boss). I think conflict is a fun element in this, and I really like the different abilities on the cards, which can lead to a bunch of different strategies.
Ultimately though, it still came up a bit short for me. Beyond the obvious “buy low, sell high,” I’ve never really understood the strategy of these types of games. I understand how everything works mechanically, but in the end, it never really feels like I have a ton of control. I always feel like I either hold on to cards for too long, or spend them right before they go up in value, and I’m not sure the best way to avoid that.
If you like stock holding, and want a fantasy theme, definitely check this one out!
My Final Rating – 5/10
Designer – Jason Lentz
Artist – Diego Sá
Publisher – Thunderworks Games
MSRP – $69.95
*I was provided a copy of this game to do this review*
If you like what I do, consider Supporting Me.