Pantheon: Very pretty, but a little broken.

When I received my copy of Pantheon, I was a little intimidated.  The box is pretty big for a Rio Grande game, and it’s packed full of cards, tokens, and chits.  Punching out all of the pieces, I felt a little overwhelmed.  I was equally overwhelmed when I started flipping through the twelve pages of instructions.  So if someone had at that moment told me that Pantheon was only a slightly more complicated version of “Ticket To Ride“, I don’t think I would have believed them.

A look at the set up for Pantheon.  A little overwhelming, isnt it?  That is exactly how we felt while attempting to set it up the first time.

A look at the set up for Pantheon. A little overwhelming, isn't it? That is exactly how we felt while attempting to set it up the first time.

Now granted, in order to see this game as Ticket To Ride, you kinda have to squint and tilt your head just right, metaphorically speaking of course.  There are elements of this game that are similar to TtR, but obviously this game doesn’t have trains in lots of primary colors.  What it does have is an alley of cards in which you can choose from on your turn.  You choose cards from the alley in an effort to make sets of cards required to purchase a particular gods favor.  If purchasing a gods favor doesn’t sound very “Ticket to Ride”-y to you, consider the gods like this:  goal cards, that are played open face, that everyone is competing to complete first (almost exactly like the routes in Jet Set).   Whenever someone purchases the favor of a god, they receive a given number of points (sound familiar?), and receive an additional little perk.  To continue the TtR comparison, in order to travel along the board you place feet of your color, rather than trains.  You do this to pick up goodies that populate on the board at the start of each round (called an epoch).

There are four ways to acquire points in this game:  via acquiring god’s favor, by acquiring minor gods, by building lots of columns, and by having the favor of a particular god.

*Acquiring the favor of a god is what we talked about previously, simply pay the given price, and the favor is yours.  You get a designated number of points, dependent on round, and you go on your merry way.

*Minor gods can be acquired in a few different ways.  Either by picking up certain goodies off the board, or by winning them as a bonus when acquiring a god’s favor.

*Building columns is possible when you place your feet on the board, as long as you are on a column space.    The more columns you have the more points each one is worth.  You tally up these points during specific times of the game.

*One of the gods which you may claim has a special ability that allows you to get a couple extra points during your “special scoring” phase.  This is the same time that you score columns.

There is one small detail that I have failed to mention though, and to me it breaks the game, and that is the sacrifice tiles.  Normally when you buy the favor of a god, you discard the cards that you use to do this.  So in order to get another god, you’ll have to stockpile cards again until you have the right match.  The sacrifice tiles stop that.  Each of the four sacrifices that you buy the gods favor with are represented on the cards but also on some tiles that you can buy.  These tiles can be upgraded from level 1 all the way up to level 4.  The level dictates how many of that type it counts for.  So if you need five of a given sacrifice to purchase a gods favor, and you have a level 4 of that sacrifice, you only need one card to finish off the payment.  And the broken part?  The tiles remain in your possession, so you can use them turn after turn after turn.

So why is this broken?  In the last game I played, I didn’t bother placing any feet on the board and going for the goodies.  Instead, I upgraded these sacrifice tiles whenever I possibly could.  The result was that I was near unstoppable by the end of the game.  Every turn I claimed a gods favor, and usually at the cost of one card or less.  It didn’t matter that I didn’t get points from the columns, because the points associated with the columns was much less than a god in most cases.

The first game that I played, another player won.  During that first game he did almost exactly what I just described.  To heck with columns and feet, upgrade those sacrifices as fast as possible!  Curious if that would consistently work, I tried it on the next game, and didn’t have any problem securing a win.  Upgrading tiles is a no brainer, and because of that fact, it tends to sucks a little fun out of the game once you figure that out.  Good resource games are suppose to be this struggle and balancing act.  Instead, this one turned into “Dump all the resources into this one thing”.  How would I fix it?  Make there be a cost involved with using those tiles.  Either by paying money to “activate” them, or drop a level or two when you use them.  I think that would really help to balance the game out.

The sacrifice cards.

The sacrifice cards.

I must also make one other small complaint, and it’s about components.  The board, tiles, and cards are all beautifully illustrated.  They have a lot of polish.  I can not say the same for the instructions and player references.  Both are littered with typos, mistranslations, and inappropriate graphics.  One spot on the player reference sheet refers to one god, but shows the picture of another.  One case where the word should clearly be “or”, the German word “oder” is written instead.  At one spot the word “points” is mispelled.  I’m not always linguistically perfect, but this just came across as sloppy.

So my final impression?  The game has a lot of promise, but really requires some sort of house rule regarding the sacrifice tiles, otherwise the game is a wash.  It’s such a shame, because the game looks and feels like it was someones baby.

This entry was posted by The_Null_Entry on Tuesday, October 18th, 2011 at 8:50 am and is filed under Board Game Reviews, Resource Management Games . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

83 Comments

  1. Superb, what a blog it is! This weblog gives helpful data to us,
    keep it up.

  2. Truly when someone doesn’t understand after that its up to
    other people that they will help, so here it takes place.

  3. Good day! This post couldn’t be written any better!
    Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept chatting about this.
    I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have
    a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  4. It is the best time to make some plans for the future and
    it is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or advice.
    Perhaps you can write next articles referring to this article.
    I desire to read even more things about it!

  5. Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and finally got
    the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Kingwood Texas!
    Just wanted to tell you keep up the great work!

  6. Thanks for finally writing about > Pantheon: Very pretty, but a little broken. « One Gamer's Opinion < Loved it!

  7. Great information. Lucky me I recently found your website by accident (stumbleupon).

    I’ve book marked it for later!

  8. Lorene says:

    Having read this I thought it was rather informative.
    I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this short article
    together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading
    and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!

  9. Your style is really unique in comparison to other people I’ve read stuff
    from. Thank you for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I’ll just book mark this site.

  10. Bob says:

    Pretty section of content. I simply stumbled upon your
    blog and in accession capital to say that I get in fact loved account your blog posts.
    Anyway I’ll be subscribing in your feeds or even I achievement you get admission to constantly
    rapidly.

  11. Trena says:

    Hi there! I simply wish to give you a huge thumbs up for your excellent information you have got here on this post.
    I am returning to your blog for more soon.

  12. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article.
    I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful info.
    Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly comeback.

  13. I like looking through an article that will make
    men and women think. Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!

  14. Appreciation to my father who told me about this weblog, this blog is
    in fact amazing.

  15. It is not my first time to visit this website, i am browsing
    this web site dailly and obtain fastidious
    information from here daily.

  16. heart muscle says:

    whoah this blog is wonderful i like studying your posts.

    Stay up the good work! You know, a lot of individuals are looking
    round for this info, you can aid them greatly.

  17. After I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a
    comment is added I receive 4 emails with the same comment.
    Is there an easy method you can remove me from that service?
    Thanks!

  18. travel news says:

    What’s up Dear, are you really visiting this website regularly, if so then you will absolutely take fastidious knowledge.

  19. Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back
    to your website? My blog site is in the very same area of interest as yours
    and my users would truly benefit from a lot of the information you present here.
    Please let me know if this alright with you. Cheers!

  20. Dadado Veig says:

    Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and
    I am inspired! Extremely useful info particularly the final section 🙂 I care
    for such info a lot. I used to be seeking this certain info for a very lengthy
    time. Thank you and good luck.

  21. It’s fantastic that you are getting ideas from this post as well as from our dialogue made at this time.

  22. I think this is among the most vital info for me. And i’m glad reading your article.

    But wanna remark on few general things, The web site style
    is perfect, the articles is really excellent : D.
    Good job, cheers

  23. Cathryn says:

    It’s an amazing paragraph in favor of all the internet visitors; they will get benefit from it I am sure.

  24. What’s up friends, good post and nice arguments commented at this place,
    I am really enjoying by these.

  25. Aw, this was a really good post. Taking a
    few minutes and actual effort to create a really good article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot
    and don’t manage to get anything done.

  26. After looking over a handful of the articles on your site, I truly like your technique of blogging.
    I book-marked it to my bookmark website list
    and will be checking back in the near future. Please visit my website as well and let me know your opinion.

  27. Everything is very open with a clear explanation of the challenges.
    It was truly informative. Your website is very helpful.
    Thank you for sharing!

  28. This page really has all the information and facts I wanted about this subject
    and didn’t know who to ask.

  29. Its not my first time to visit this web site,
    i am visiting this website dailly and obtain good facts from here every day.

  30. I’m now not sure the place you are getting your info, but good topic.

    I needs to spend some time finding out more or understanding more.
    Thank you for excellent info I was in search of this information for
    my mission.

  31. Hey are using WordPress for your blog platform?

    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and
    create my own. Do you require any html coding expertise to make your own blog?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  32. home alarms says:

    Good day! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard
    against hackers? I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any recommendations?

  33. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog
    posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

Leave a Reply

*