Gen Con 2018: Orbis


Fan of Splendor? You’ve come to the right place.

You want tiles. You need resources to get the best tiles. So you take cheaper tiles which give you resources to get the better tiles with their resources, so you can continue to get new tiles with newer and better resources and points.

Orbis differs in a few ways, however. You’re building a pyramid of hex tiles, so the game will end when everyone has taken their 15 tiles. Whenever you take a tile, it adds resource cubes matching its color to all adjacent tiles in the central 9×9 grid.

Some tiles do have a cost, but all tiles have a reward, ranging from extra resources to earning points. Some points are awarded straight up. Some give you points for having certain configurations of tiles in your pyramid. Some give you temples, which award points based on who has the most at the end of the game. And you can also earn points for “smiting” resource cubes from the central board, if those resource cubes are available to be smited.


Finally, there are a number of god tiles, each providing an additional unique bonus or way of scoring points. These cost nothing to take, and you must take one of them by the end of the game. However, if you take one too early you might not be able to meet the scoring condition (and other players will know what you’re trying to do in order to block you). On the other hand, wait too long and the options left to you could be completely useless.

This is definitely not my sort of game. I demoed it as the artwork is bright and colorful and attractive, but pure resource-collection games just bore me. I will say the added aspect of special abilities and the pyramid construction elevated this above Splendor for me, but it’s just too abstract for me to really get into the process. However, I know a lot of people are into these quiet sort of economic games, and the colorful art is certainly attractive. And the game does only last about 20 minutes, so enjoy it if it’s your thing!

Futurewolfie loves epic games, space, and epic games set in space. You'll find him rolling fistfuls of dice, reveling in thematic goodness, and giving Farmerlenny a hard time for liking boring stuff.

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