Gameday First Play – Elysium
From the Publisher of Splendor…
Mythic Greece. As an upstart demigod, you want to earn the favour of the Olympians and become a figure of legend yourself. Gather heroes and powerful artefacts, please the gods and bear their power to write your own epic tale.
Let your allies achieve their destiny and enter the Elysium, home of the glorious and the brave. Once the stories are written, only one demigod will be chosen to stand at the side of Zeus.
In this game you’re building a tableau by taking turns selecting face up cards from a selection available, but the choice of cards you can take is restricted by the resources you have.
So yes, this is Splendor with a full game behind it. But, back to Elysium.
You have four columns, Red, Yellow, Green and Blue. The cards, as you may guess, have symbols of the same colour. They mostly have one single colour but many have more than one colour or even a Black “Wild Card” symbol.
So you think you trade this columns in right? Wrong. You just need to have them in front of you, then you put any one of your columns to one side, losing it for the round.
So on your first turn, you could take a card that requires “Red” and get rid of your “Yellow”. It means you can’t use Yellow for the rest of the round which leads to a lot of planning. You’ll need to look at the cards to see what there is and which of your columns you need to hold on to.
Should you not be able to take a card, you have to take a Citizen (or a face down card off the top of the deck) which is generally a bad thing, but you can use these for other things if you get the right card.
You also need to make room to take a turn order token, or “Complete a Quest”. There is only one of these for each colour and they don’t just determine turn order, they also determine your actions at the end of the round. Miss out on one at your peril.
So you have a card, what do they do and where do they go? Onto your tableau. They go into your Domain which is along the top of your player board.
They sit in your domain for now but some have an ability you can use.
Some have an instant effect that takes place as soon as it’s placed in your domain while others have a permanent effect while in there. Some can be activated once per turn by tapping them and others have a once per game ability marked by removing a ring counter from it once used.
After this phase has ended we go on to “Writing the Legends”.
Firstly swap turn order disks so everyone is in their new turn order. If you didn’t manage to complete a quest you get what’s left after everyone else has taken theirs. Then, get VP and Gold from your Quest token. You can get 1-2 points and 2-5 Gold this way compared to 0 points and just 1 Gold if you fail to complete a quest.
Then you add cards to your Elysium and you’re limited to the number of cards allowed by your Quest token. 1-3 from a quest token and just 1 if you failed a quest. You pay Gold equal to that cards level in order to try and create Legends.
A Level Legend is made from 5 cards of the same Level but different Families (Colours). Family Legends are a Level 1, 2 and 3 card from the same Family. You can use a Citizen as a Joker but they cost you 2 VP at the end of the game.
The first player to create a Family or Level Legend will get a bonus token adding to end game scoring. At the end of 5 rounds you get points for your Legends, Tokens and points from other sources. Most points wins!
I do like this game. There are 7 decks, or Families to play with and you only use 5 so the games will vary slightly while playing. We did play with the Blue ‘dick your opponents’ family which I didn’t really like but I’m looking forward to trying the others.
The whole thing of giving up a column for a turn and hoping you don’t need it later is great. You need to keep an eye on what your opponents still have available so you can try and guess what they’re going for. Also, you’re able to take the ONLY quest counter they can possibly get if you want to be really mean.
So, in summary, good game, better than Splendor and nothing like 7 Wonders (in-joke :))