Cora: The Rise of the Empire It debuted this week at the Gen Con tabletop game conference and select retail stores. I have mastered this game for a few weeks, and it is definitely growing in me. As a medium-weight European game, it certainly has its charm, especially as an experience with only two players. However, as a narrative experience, it is very plain.
exist Hora, The player plays the role of the early Greek city-states fighting for glory. For the unfamiliar, this can be a dizzying experience at first. The game only lasts eight rounds, but each round is divided into seven different stages. You will draw cards, roll dice, take optional actions (but only if you can based on the result of the roll), and “spend” your population in a way that only ancient totalitarian states could do. But the game has a good flow, and repetition helps to quickly become familiar with its multiple systems.
At the edge of the game, these same systems effectively evoke models of the ancient world. I especially like that your population will never exceed a certain number. Going back in time, cities really could only grow so big before the technological and political constraints of that period hindered them. The same is true for the level of troops in the game. In this way, designers use modern knowledge from historical periods as creative constraints, both in their designs and as inspiration for the strategy of table players.
However, these strategies are quite standardized. Each city-state in the box has a fairly transparent optimal strategy. The main way to gain victory points in the game is through exploration, represented by the token field on the main game board. This is a competition to grab these tokens, which brings some card game feel to the game.
Players spend drachmas to improve their cities, and drachmas are mainly obtained through action plates. There are only so many types of action tiles, which helps speed up the game. The curve ball appears thanks to the event card. They are basically like changing the weather, creating a global impact that all players must deal with. Again, this is pretty standard for heavy European style games. But it feels very lively, and the announced 75-minute playback time feels achievable.
The best part of the game is that it can only accommodate up to two players. Two-player games of this type and production value are precious. When many people are still trapped at home, it feels like something rolled out. Iello’s graphic design is top-notch, with clear and consistent icons that help speed up the game. It even has a nice packaging, you can put everything where you need it, so you can get in and out of the table quickly.
My only main complaint is Cora There is little to say about early Greece. The plot is also very small. Yes, we put our army in danger and kill soldiers, but for what? How many tokens? The art is well executed, both realistic and painterly, but it is also painful vanilla. In a crowded market, there is really nothing that can make it stand out.
If you are looking for another two-player game for your collection, or if you have a hungry game team, looking for several games every night, Cora: The Rise of the Empire It deserves your attention. It is now available at designated retail stores.
Cora: The Rise of the Empire A copy of the retail game provided by Iello was used for review. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These will not affect editorial content, but Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links.You can find View additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.