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Age of Darkness is by Stephen Harkleroad

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Joined: 04/23/2013

Age of Darkness

Theme: (7 out of 10) Set in the Europe’s Dark Ages, Age of Darkness has players gain points by building monuments and monasteries in order to prosper and stay alive. The population will decline as war, famine, and disease all take their tolls. The population also declines as a result of challenging neighbors and expansion. Once the player’s population dies, it can never be brought back, but players can collect taxes for revenue to help avoid spending all of their population units.

Originality: (3 out of 10) Yawn…’nuff said.

Cohesiveness: (15 out of 15) This game is for 2 to 6 players. The game map is large and easy to navigate. The only visual drawback being the pixilated quality of the graphics found throughout the components. The instructions are clear and easy to understand (they could use a spell check and proofreading as well). The use of text boxes to call out a specific rule is a nice feature. Gameplay is done in rounds of 7 Phases and can move along at a nice pace once players are familiar with the game. Set-up is straightforward and each population has specific bonuses for various game aspects. Examples of play (with illustrations) are offered to make several rules more easily understood. The playing cards are nicely sized and easy to read. The Player Aid page is a handy reference.

Components: (5 out of 5) As stated earlier, the graphics of this game could use more polishing, but all in all, the components cannot be faulted otherwise. All elements work well together and are easily understood.

Fun: (15 out of 25) Although interesting and fun to play at first, Age of Darkness suffers from its lack of originality, giving it a low replay value (the weak graphics extend this even farther). There are just too many published games that use the same old theme. The building monuments and monasteries reason for “saving your population” tries to make this game compelling and unique from the rest, but fails in the attempt at establishing its own identity. Perhaps if the game were set in its own world and given its own life (instead of using Europe’s Dark Ages as its setting), it could become much stronger and more interesting.

Total: 45 out of 64

(Posted on behalf of Wolf)

[Formatting repaired]

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Re: Age of Darkness is by Stephen Harkleroad

Darkehorse wrote:
Again I apologize for the poor formatting.

What's wrong with the formatting?

Also, if I might ask, what about the originality is lacking? That's not to say I think the game is original- I've never seen it. But what publishe game is it just like?

- Seth


Ah! Is it bad form to reply to your own review? I'll, uh, not wait for an answer.

I'm satisfied with my final score. The major points that were knocked off were for lack of originality and presentation. Presentation I can understand, because the story is...I found out about the contest after the first deadline was extended. Which means that Age of Darkness was written in approximately three days. Which means that graphics-wise, it was pretty poor, something I quite frankly didn't care too much about. And I did find some grammatical and spelling errors--though not all that many--after it was submitted, and I'll be glad to admit this. I also found one unintentional rule correction well after the game was submitted. (You can add as many points to the Famine/Peseilence/etc event matrix as you desire per turn, rather than just one).

Originality--well, okay. I guess the game this resembles most is Vinci, but besides the lose-set-number-of-tokens mechanic, I felt there was little else. And offhand, I can't think of any Dark Age games besides some lightly-themes card games. Believe it or not, the six civilizations have their starting locations roughly in synch with their historical dominance--though if I remember correctly there was some overlap so I had to be a bit creative. And the special abilities also roughly corresponded with their historical strength, though in order to balance the game's starting locations I took some liberties with this as well.

Given the quick time in which it was created, I'm happy with the results. Especially after this egotistical self-rationalized analysis. And congrats to all the winners!

Age of Darkness is by Stephen Harkleroad

..."Given the quick time in which it was created, I'm happy with the results. Especially after this egotistical self-rationalized analysis. And congrats to all the winners!"



...oh...wait... Ed judged this one.

If I had judged it, you'd be saying, "Egotiism that approaches meglomania!"


Hope you had fun anyway...

Joined: 12/31/1969
Age of Darkness is by Stephen Harkleroad

I'm pretty sure he's referring to his own analysis. :)

Age of Darkness is by Stephen Harkleroad

XXOOCC wrote:


...oh...wait... Ed judged this one.

I think Wolf judged this one. But if I had judged this one then he'd be absolutely correct! :)


Ed Evans, Alien Menace Games

Age of Darkness is by Stephen Harkleroad

...Oops. Sorry, that's right. I was referring to my own analysis. I guess I didn't word that particularly clearly.

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