AuZtralia is a military/economic/adventure game for one to four players. You start with a port on the coast of Australia. From there you will build railways into the hinterland, to allow you to mine resources and establish farms.
SETTING UP THE GAME
- Take your Player Board, coloured pieces and starting resources: two Coal, two Iron, and four Gold.
- Put a face down Survey Tile in each hex marked with a triangle. Then flip, and orientate them.
- Place resources and Old One tiles as indicated by the Survey Tiles. Remove the Survey Tiles.
- Set up the Event deck by drawing five cards of each level and arranging them with lowest levels on top.
- Display five Personality cards.
- Put the purple Old One disc on the Time Track at 22
- Place Military Units on the board.
- Determine a first player and place all the player discs on the Time Track according to the number of players.
- Place the Port buildings in reverse player order, ensuring that none are within two hexes of another.
PLAYING THE GAME
The player whose disc is in the lowest numbered position on the Time Track is the active player. If there is more than one disc in a space, the player whose disc is highest in the stack is the active player.
- When you are the active player, you take one of your cubes from your HQ and place it in an Action on Box of your choice on your Player Board. You then perform the corresponding action.
- Each action on has a Time Point cost. You move your disc this number of spaces along the Time Track. If your disc ends up in a space with other discs, you place your disc on top.
If your disc reaches or passes space 53, you cannot take any more actions.
- You can select an action on that you have already performed, but you must pay one Gold for EACH cube you already have in that box.
There are two boxes for this action. The first box has a cost of two Time Points and allows you to build track in Coastal and Outback hexes. The second box allows you to build in all three types of terrain.
You take all of one type of resource from a hex that you are connected to by your Railway. Place them in your Warehouse. The Railway line from your Port to the hex you wish to mine must be free from Old Ones.
You take one Personality card from the display.
BUY MILITARY UNIT
The cost of each Military Unit is shown in the corresponding box of your Expeditionary Force, and on the main board. You pay this cost in Gold.
You can perform two of these sub-actions, in any combination you wish:
- IMPORT – Take one Coal or one Iron from the supply and place it in your Warehouse.
- EXPORT – Take one Coal or Iron from your Warehouse and place it back in the supply. Take one Gold from the supply and place it in your Warehouse.
There are three types of Farm tiles: Corn, Sheep and Cattle. You can place a maximum of one of each type in a single action.
Combat occurs when you attack a hex or when one or more Old Ones move on to your Port hex. There are some minor differences in the way combat is handled between these two, as will become clear below.
- Checking your Sanity
- Flipping Old One cards
- Deciding when/if to withdraw
At the start of every combat, make sure you have three Sanity tokens on your Expeditionary Force.
If you attack a hex containing a face-down Old One, then after turning it face-up you have the option to withdraw. If you decide not to withdraw, you must enter into combat
Withdrawal – Before drawing a new Old One card, you have the option to withdraw. If you decide to withdraw, you first remove all purple damage inflicted on your units and move all of them back to your Barracks.
Wnning Combat – An Old One is eliminated if the amount of damage inflicted against it is equal to or more than its Damage Capacity, as indicated in the black box.
Defeat – You will be forced to retreat if:
- have no military units left in the combat, OR
- you are required to lose a Sanity token and have none left on your display.
You resolve other effects of the Old One card, then you must eliminate all units that have one or more Damage cubes on them. Any remaining units are returned to your Barracks
Defending your Port – If your Port is attacked by the Old Ones, i.e. one or more Old One tiles are moved into your Port hex, combat is resolved in almost the same manner as described above.
Except for the following:
- This does not cost any Time Points.
- You cannot choose to withdraw.
- If you are Defeated, all of your units are eliminated and your Port is removed from play.The game then ends immediately. However, if you eliminate all of the Old Ones at the same time that you are Defeated, you still suffer eliminations due to damage, BUT you do not lose your Port.
- If two Ports are attacked simultaneously, the combat is resolved in player order.
Combat with more than one Old One – When sending an expedition out to attack a hex which has more than one Old One, you must fight all of them, you cannot choose to fight just one.
ACTIVATING THE OLD ONES
When every player has passed the purple disc ‘22’ on the Time Track, the Old Ones become an active ‘player’.
- Moving the purple Old One disc one Time Point along the track.
- If purple moves to an illuminated Event space, draw one Event card and resolve the effect.
- If there are any face-up Old Ones capable of moving (Temples cannot move) then draw TWO Old One cards and resolve any movement.
Note that the Old Ones may enjoy a number of consecutive activations.
I won’t go into too much detail with the Old ones, as their rules are quite extensive also. But a full set of the rules can be download from the Auztralia Board Game Geek site.
ENDING THE GAME
The game ends immediately when any of these occur:
- All discs (including the Old One’s disc) have reached or passed 53 on the Time Track. Once a player has reached or passed 53, that player cannot take any further actions.
- One player has lost his Port to the Old Ones.
Players calculate their Victory Points, as follows:
- Each non-blighted Farm is worth TWO VPs.
- Each Phosphate disc in hand is worth THREE VPs.
- Bonuses from Personality cards.
- Victory Points on Old One tiles you have acquired.
- Victory Point tokens in hand.
The Old Ones also score Victory Points. These are calculated as follows:
- Each revealed Old One tile still on the board is worth the number of points indicated on it.
- Each un-revealed Old One tile is worth double the number of points indicated on it.
- Every blighted farm is worth ONE VP.
Record Victory Points using the player discs on the Time Track. No points are scored for unused resources and/or Gold.
The player with the highest total is the winner. Note that this might be the Old One ‘player’.
If there is a tie with the Old Ones, the Old Ones take precedence. If tied, the tied players share the victory.
AuZtralia feels more like a video game than a board game; as I never thought you could have this number of different elements and depth in a board game. It has exploration, farming and military battles. There is co-op, alliances and self-preservation elements; There are epic battles and armies building. Never have I played a game like it.
The rules, as you can see are quite in-depth and detailed; and at first glance can seem a little scary. But I feel like they have gone into all this detail to fully explain everything and though at times going into too much details, it is definitely a good thing when learning. Not to mention, both Ella and Amanda from Schmil Games have been amazing and happy to clarify anything if you are still confused or unsure.
I played Auztralia with 3 of my friends this weekend just gone, and wow what a game. The amounts of elements that are intertwined within this game and the smooth transition between them is purely stunning. This truly is Martin Wallace at his best, and I would have to place this in my top 3 Martin Wallace games.
I did have my fears about this game, I thought they were trying too much or it would be one of those 4 – 6 hour epic games. That wasn’t the case at all, most games ran for about 60-75 mins…. Well except one that went for 35 minutes. We may have activated an Old One and Andy had only one Military unit and the Zombie killed it first attack and destroyed his port next turn. It was hilarious, as the first game we had done an amazing job of building up our armies and worked together to beat the Old Ones quite convincingly. So, our confidence went from soaring to the dumps in like 35 mins.
The beauty of Auztralia is you can never count your chickens to early. As one military unit can destroy the Old Ones in one battle but will do nothing in the next. Martin has done a great job in balancing everything. Even when you feel like you are in a great position, it can change in a single turn. Auztralia is a game you have to play from start to finish, you never want to get overconfident or complacent as the games can punish you for your mistakes, and yet it is always seems to be recoverable.
There were only 2 real issues I had with this game. The first is writing the review. You know how hard it is to write Auztralia into Microsoft Word? Word Automatically changes it to Australia. As I write this review, I have just left it as Australia, and when I copy it to WordPress I will fix it up.
The only real issue was sometimes the battle dragged out a little bit. We had some battles that we would flip several cards that were blank, no damage done by either side. Our 4th game we had 5 cards before any damage was actually done by either player or Old One. I understand that if you don’t have an airship and the card shows that the airship hit, but I’m talking about blank cards where nothing hits. I feel like they should get rid or lowered the number of the blank cards where nothing happens. It adds very little to the game, and though one brings a sigh of relief, multiple in succession get a frustrating
Auztralia art is purely breathtaking, amongst the best I have seen in any board game. James Colmer is such a talented artist and he has gone far beyond anything I have seen before. The level of detail and realism is quite stunning. Each of the character have been expertly given a full backstory by Martin and James has created been able to capture their essence completely. When I look at the character cards, it reminds me of those old photos my mother had from her childhood that had been retouched and had color added. It is stunning.
I also love James’ take on Cthulhu and the other Old Ones. Cthulhu is such a well know and easily recognizable character, which has appeared on hundreds of board games. Getting Cthulhu to look different but still recognizable is no easy feat and I think he has done that. I also absolutely love the wings, as if Cthulhu wasn’t scary enough, now he can fly.
Martin Wallace and Schmil games have an absolute hit on their hands with Auztralia. The game is going to be one of those runaway hits like Terraforming Mars or Scythe. I wouldn’t be surprised is you see this game among the awards this year
If you would like to go back this game on Kickstarter, check out the link here and sign up to be the first notified of its launch.