Review – Argent: The Consortium
A worker placement game.
Title: Argent: The Consortium
Year Published: 2015
Designer: Trey Chambers
Publisher: Level 99 Games
Game Time: ~120 Mins
Set-up Time: >10 Mins
Theme: Fantasy School of Magic
Mechanic: Worker Placement
How to win: Gain the most votes from Consortium voters.
The time has come for the selection of a new Chancellor at Argent University of Magic, and you are among the likely candidates for the job. Gather your apprentices, ready your spellbook, and build your influence, while secretly discovering and competing over the votes of a limited Consortium of influential board members. Only the one who is able to fulfill the most criteria will be claim the title of most influential mage in the World of Indines!
Set up can vary greatly game to game so I’ll just go though the basic ‘suggested’ first game from the rule book. Also, this game has lots of little rules so I won’t cover all the details, just the main stuff.
First, Layout the Argent University of Magic. The positions of the tiles matter so the wonkey looking layout is on purpose.
Now the cards… Put the Mage Power cards out as reference sheets and put the Bell Tower cards near the consortium board. Put the round cards with 1 on top, 5 on the bottom then shuffle the spells, vaults, supporters. Reveal 3 from the Spell and Vault deck and 5 from the supporters. Table big enough?
In reverse player, choose a candidate sheet and gather all their starting stuff. Each has a different ability, or you can pick by colour.
Then, starting in reverse player order again, snake draft Mages until everyone has 5.
Everyone puts their influence markers on 5 points in reverse turn order. This puts last place on the bottom. It’s important to remember that position matters on this track.
10 of the 12 voters are random, 2 are in every game. In turn order, place a marker on a face down voter. No two players can mark the same voter during this phase. You can look at the voter you have marked any time during the game.
There are 5 categories of Voter..
Most of a Resource – Influence, Mana, Gold, Marks on the board and Intelligence and Wisdom. Also, the Second most Influence and Supporters.
Most of Card Type – Consumables, Treasure and Supporters.
Most Departmental Control – Icons on all non-starter cards and spells are worth their level. This will make sense later.
Most Research – Total combined levels of all research used.
Most Diversity – Different symbols in supporters and spells.
You’re not entirely sure which are going to be used though so it’s best to diversify and watch other players.
A game is played over 5 rounds (known as Days) and is divided into 3 steps. Set Up, Errands and Resolution.
Set up Phase – Skipped in the 1st round
Untap cards, unflip tokens, return and reveal a new layout of cards and perform room set up effects. Typical set up phase stuff.
In turn order, you MAY take one fast action and MUST take one regular action.
A fast action is an ability with a Lightning Bolt, the purple Planar Mages can also be played as a fast action.
There are a few things you can do as a regular action.
Cast a Spell – Pay mana and tap the spell card to perform the effects of any one spell you have.
Place a Mage – Put a mage in a space in a room, worker placement style. You do not resolve the action for the room yet, but you do resolve the action of the Mage… There are 6 mages, each with a different colour and ability.
Beige – Neutral – No Power (Told you they’re useless ;))
Red – Sorcery – Spend one mana to wound a mage and take their slot. The wounded mage is sent to the Infirmary.
Grey – Mysticism – Can be placed when a regular spell is cast. So you can cast a spell and play this mage as one regular action.
Green – Natural – Can’t be wounded by the Red mage or spells and abilities that cause wounds.
Purple – Planar – Can be placed as a fast action as I mentioned earlier.
Blue – Divinity – Cannot be affected by spells by rivals.
Not only do the mages have an ability, the spaces you place them onto do too.
Blank Errand Slot – No restrictions, just a regular space.
Merit Slot – (The Shield) Requires a refreshed Merit badge to activate.
Shadow Slot – (The Ghost) Must be shadowed to place here using a Spell or ability and activates after Mage in the regular slot.
Shadow Merit – (Ghost and Shield) Requires both a refreshed Merit badge AND a Shadow effect.
Use a Vault Card – Indicated on the card when it can be used and how to use it. A consumable is discarded into your personal discard pile after use. A Treasure is tapped after use and can be used every round.
Use a Supporter Card – These are always one use cards and are discarded into your personal discard pile after use.
Take Bell Tower Offering Card – Nothing left to do or want to delay your action a round? You can take pick any one of these cards and get the reward. Taking one IMMEDIATELY ends your turn, even if you have other actions left. You are still in the game for the round and can continue to take actions including more Bell Tower cards.
As soon as the last Bell Tower card is taken the round ends immediately. You resolve the rooms actions starting at the top left tile going top to bottom 1 mage at a time. To activate a space or “Resolve an Errand” you need to pay costs, including merits, then gain the effect and return the mage to your office.
After the 5th round, reveal all the Consortium voters and determine who receives the vote for each one. Influence Points breaks ties with the player at the bottom of the stack counting as ‘ahead’, which is why it’s important to keep track of the stack. If nobody has anything for the voter, the voter abstains… The player with the most votes winning, Influence breaks this tie too.
Firstly, some quick info on Research, intelligence and Wisdom.
Intelligence (Book Tokens) determines the number of spells you can memorise while Wisdom (Scroll Tokens) determines the number of spell levels you can possess.
Research (Flask Symbol) lets you draft a a new spell or upgrade an old one when it is gained. When you learn a new spell, put an Intelligence token from your supply on the learn slot and you can upgrade a spell with a Wisdom token.
As for the game, wow are there a lot of board combinations! You have 3 tiles in every game (which are double sided) but the rest are placed around those, they’re different and double sided… Loads of options.
Some have different types of spaces on the board that you activate immediately rather than the Resolution Phase… More variety and added game play.
Add to that not knowing which Consortium members will be in the game and the re-playability is amazing.
Did I mentioned the cards used for the Mage abilities are double sided too?
So, luckily after all of this actual game play is good too 🙂 It’s nice to have a Euro game with resources such as Mana, Wisdom and Intelligence rather than Wheat and Stone again. The magical theme and the cool art and bright colours make this my kind of Euro. Although it is a bit evil 🙂
Fantastic worker placement game with a TONNE of re-playability.
I give it 7/10