Reiner Knizia for Playroom Entertainment
This is another of the colours and numbers style of game that made Reiner Knizia the number one board games designer in the Western world. Given the Playroom Entertainment quality of production, ILIUM has more value and longevity than it possibly would have if another company had published it. The game-play and mechanic are simple, as in all great Knizia designs, but also as usual there is a twist in the scoring system - the actual mark of a Reiner Knizia game.
The players are archaeologists in charge of teams of diggers (depicted and identified by player coloured wooden meeples) searching the recently opened dig sites for artefacts and treasures, each trying to outdo the others by collecting sets of the different types: Coins, Horses, Armbands, Bottles and Helmets. Each artefact is valued between 1 and 5 and this is shown on the card counters (aka tokens) as 1-5 icons. These tokens are shuffled and randomly placed on the 13 dig sites, the number each site receives determined by the number of roads that lead into it.
These roads are made of stepping stones with each stone being a single step that will hold meeples or a Supply cube. On their turn the players take the top card from their deck and see how many meeples (workers) they can place this turn. These workers (1-3 shown on the card - see below) must all be placed on one stone. Once the path is complete - it may not be completed by using a Supply cube - the player who has the most workers on the path takes the lowest valued artefact from either of the two Dig Sites that have just been connected - the player who has the second most workers takes the lowest artefact from the site not chosen by the winner.
The idea, as in Euphrates &Tigris, is to collect sets of 5, all different, artefacts. Players score 10 points for each full set plus they can score either 10 or 5 points for having the most of each separate artefact type. At the beginning of the game each player is given a secret patron (a character who demands the highest valued artefact of one specific type) so there is added spice to collecting enough of the artefacts.