Wizards have a hard life. They see the future as it will happen and not the way people would want it to be. The wise, however, can learn from answers of a woman wrapped in the fog of visions and arrange so her words never happen. What do you think? What’s your destiny?
All heroes can go and ask about their future in a box, which was prepared by popular designer Stefan Feld, which named the game The Oracle of Delphi. Game was published under wings of Pegasus Spiele and H@ll Games. The game was decorated with illustrations by Dennis Lohausen and released in 2016.
On the lid, we see the main character of a wanderer surrounded by different shadows and visions. Everything is perturbed by mortals. But we do not just want to look at it, so we open the box quickly and start exploring what the game has prepared for us. There is no game board, but instead there are a dozen tiles available to build a game map. They can connect to each other and create an environment where everyone is struggling to win with Zeus figure in the middle. Each city located on outskirts of whole board holds three statues. The map then receives cubes of sacrifices and temples, the pieces of the islands (with pictures facing down) and monster tokens (decorated with stickers).
Each participant will take one of personal board and also pieces of one chosen color – the ship’s figure will be placed in the center of the game plan. But then they turn their attention to their own boards – above them, Zeus tiles should be placed (grouped by type). Right on the player board, there is a place for temple miniatures, six god tiles (placed on the lowest position of the cloud scale) and one shield token on its own scale. Players will also receive a random tile of the ship’s deck, which he places on the plan, and next to it, he places an injury card. He rolls three dice and assigns them according to the symbols of the positions around the oracle.
In his turn, an active player can take action. This chance is offered by the dice according to the color rolled and thus the position, where they are at the beginning of the turn. However, its shade is not final, because it is possible to use the god’s favor token and re-color the dice before using it. However, the color shift can only be done one step in the clockwise direction on the oracle circle for each favor token.
First of all, players can use such dice symbol to move their boat. The last field, where the ship stops after three space sailing must be of the same color as the dice used. The ship can reach the shores of the island, which player can then explore. Just turn tile around to get some kind of reward. In some lonely places, there are also monsters, that players can fight with. To defeat, they need to successfully roll the battle dice and overcome strength of the monster. For rolling a zero, player even gets a scar in the form of injury cards. However, he can continue to fight, if he pays one favor token.
Very important is the transport of sacrifices and statues. Players must first load it on their ship, which has limited capacity, and then transfer them to the target islands. They can also build sanctuaries, but dice can also be spent to cure wounds (by discarding injury cards) and also for moving god’s token on a cloud scale. As soon as God reaches the highest point, his significant advantage can be activated once at any time in the future.
However, the main efforts of all the participants are focused on fulfilling tasks from Zeus tiles. They give gamers goals full of monsters, buildings and exploration of the islands. Each such matched plaque is immediately discarded, but its successful completion results in a reward printed in the bottom.
At the beginning of each subsequent round, players can lose their full turn, if they are too injured (six scars received from monster defeat) or get a reward, if they are completely healthy and have no scratch cards.
Players in their efforts fairly alternate one after the other until their complete their last tile. If this player remains the only one, who has fulfilled all task at the end of the round, then he immediately becomes the winner. Otherwise, the number of oracle cards will decide any ties and in case of another tie, favor tokens.
The Oracle of Delphi is a luxurious adventure game, that combines tactical and dice elements in a truly exciting way. Here (as usual with this designer), players use dice and action to choose from. The results of the roll can not be affected, but they can change the color outcome a little later. But its not easy to change it however they see fit, because players have to respect order of color change.
Players sail on their ships and wander around archipelago, where heroic performances are to be served. It’s not just about killing enemies, because there’s a limited number of these creatures. But there are also many building duties on the hero’s shoulders.
Basis for everything is a good movement among the islands. In addition, we also find pickup and deliver mechanisms together with random fights. Ships have limited capacity, but players can choose from a joint offer of boats at the beginning (or they get it randomly, depending on the decision during setup).
The match is filled with lots of interesting choices. There are equipment and oracle cards, that can be won in combat. Everything provides some new benefits to players. On the way to these advantages is the execution of various heroic deeds, for which they also win favor tokens. And these are means, that need to be timed well. In one turn, player usually has three actions, but he can also use free one, if he holds an oracle card. This will always make you feel good to have sense of control of your own success.
Players must count with longer playing time. Before the ships cross all the roads between the islands, it takes some time. So you have to have two or more hours reserved for one game and with more players it can be even a drop more. This is because the more opponents there are, the more tasks there is to accomplish and the longer the waiting time for the turn. Fortunately, the rounds themselves are reasonably fast. Board is fuller with a higher number of opponents and you will miss this feeling, when playing in two. Thanks to this, the duel is not as good, although it still retains nice gameplay.
However, there is definitely not enough conflicts in the game. Players are more likely to feel the race, but game does not offer the opportunity to influence their opponents by themselves. Conversely, because of the random distribution of a number of game elements, the individual games are very different. All players have almost the same tasks, so it’s all about the skills. At least in this regard, because discovery is about luck, as well as frequent usage of dice.
Rules are described in detail and in a clear way. The game has a splendid processing, that is focused towards its tactical euro part. Wood is a distinctive feature and delivers an impression well. The illustrations are excellent and iconography is not only colorful, but also clear.
The Oracle of Delphi looks complex and it really is. In fact, it’s still a heroic entertainment, that does not overflow with small rules. Actually, it’s just a dice action and a race to do the job. Players have everything in their sight and have great fun despite longer game time. The Oracle of Delphi herself does not need to tell you anything, because this game offers tangible entertainment even without any words.
+ excellent mix
+ wooden processing and graphics
+ heroic theme
+ lots of actions to choose from
+ everything turns around floating with ships
+ ability to affect dice
- dice and exploration need luck
- empty board in two
- too long for some players