Our carefree world remains only in our memories. But the world is just echo of what it once was. Even the remnants of our civilization have lost shape. We crawl within ruins, shrouded in cloaks of dust and look for anything, that would help us to regain glimpse of lost glory. We are searching for our hope in clay and stones.
In such a hopeless world, story of Unearth will take place. Designers are Jason Harner and Matthew Ransom, who together created this novelty under the auspices of Brotherwise Games. Since its release in 2017, Esdevium Games has been distributing it across Europe with illustrations by Jesse Riggle.
The middle-sized box shows a ruin full of stairs and sloping walls. The box itself is very solid, so you can unpack it in peace and without any fear, that the box will collapse under your first touch. Below the lid are stone tiles, that players at the beginning of each match put into a canvas bag. All sixty hexagonal pieces in four colors.
Players will receive three cards – two of which are small and are called delvers, while the last card is a ruin card. All participants are secretly dealt this bigger one face down (without the others seeing it). Each rival also receives a set of dice – three six-sided, one four-sided and one eight-sided.
In the middle of the table, there is room for cards and space is occupied by five revealed cards of ruins, while remainder of this type creates a drawing pile with a random end-of-age card at the bottom. Each such ruin is equipped with number of random stones (prescribed in the bottom right corner). Next to that, table will receive a randomly drawn set of miracles.
In each round, players will be doing excavations. Each of them will be given a chance to choose one card of ruins on the table and roll his dice, which he then places on declared ruin. Additionally, if attempt results in rolling a three or lower number, then player has successfully descended into it and can take one stone token from card (or from a common bag, if none is left lying on ruin).
With help of the resulting stones, players assemble miracles in front of them – six stones connect with one side into a circle with a free space for one hexagon in the middle. Depending on whether player uses stones of the right colors to build it, he will get a lesser or greater wonder tile.
Each ruin has its claim value, located in the upper left corner. Whenever you place a dice, you need to check sum of all dice located there. If it reaches or exceeds value specified value, then it is gathered by one of the players – new owner is player, whose dice on the ruin have the highest sum. He gets the card for himself, while everyone else who participated in exploration gets a delve card as a compensation. Players then reveal a new ruin card from the deck, placing the number of stone tokens on it and the game continues.
Using delve cards, players can influence progress and results of the dice on the ruins at the start of their turn, before the dice is rolled. Sometimes, they allow to reroll already place dice, sometimes increase their value or choose ruin card after the roll (instead of before). They can at least gain some advantage over their opponents, but they need to remember – they will try to do the same.
As soon as player pass through whole ruin deck, revealing end of age card, final turn is approaching. Players only explore the remaining ruins, that are left on the table. At that moment the battle is really over and it’s time to add up points. Players will receive points for wonders, sets of ruin cards, and even higher reward for cards, that coincide with ruin card they have received at the start of the game secretly. The winner is the one, who has the most points.
Unearth is particularly interesting with its idea. The environment of the apocalyptic world is filled with beautiful, mysterious buildings. It is only up to the players to descend into their interior and find wonders there. But they are not given for free. It is necessary to try and put them back together to reappear their lost and broken beauty.
Basically, its all about collecting sets, but the goal is masked so well, that you will not even mind it. The match is really interesting. Players struggle to dominate the cards with their dice. They can add new ones, but also reroll existing ones and everything in an attempt to reach the target sum. But that’s not all, because this has to happen at the right moment. Only the one, who has the highest amount of pips on dice of his own color will win the card for himself.
Fortunately, the others will not contend with anything you do not want. And so it really pays off to try for every card. However, players must also take main source of pointsinto account – that is, the set of ruins cards. These are assembled by color.
However, wonders provide also great value. Their completion requires collection of stones and create buildings in front of players. And that is the beautiful distraction, that divides the course into two parts. And both work alone and together quite nicely.
Last important element is delve cards, main purpose of which is to reduce the impact of coincidence. The result of Unearth is influenced by it very significantly. There is no reason to avoid this statement. Victory depends on dice and therefore on luck. But the dice rolls have no power to decide about your failure on their own. It is therefore important not to underestimate role of these small delver cards.
We like to say that length of the game as ideal. It is not too short or too long. You enjoy collecting and rolling dice just in the right amount, when the match is over in half of a hour. Players must think tactically all the time. The basic rules count for three and four players, but rulebook includes option for two. And yet it works not only in the higher numbers (with more dice), but also duel is great.
Graphics of this game is absolutely stunning. We likes the hopelessness of the collapsed houses and the apocalyptic theme, but it does not interfere depressing with your impression. This game is visually beautiful.
Unearth is really interesting game. It’s simple and uses dice, but it’s somewhat original, though it’s not using any true new mechanics. You do not get rid of this good feeling even after playing more games, so we happily recommend it to all lovers of dice games and hunts for points.
+ you can fight bad luck
+ great graphics
+ interesting gameplay
+ good in all counts
+ rerolling enemy dice
+ fast match
+ unobtrusive rules
+ building miracles
- simple rolling of dice