Quick Look: Orconomics 2nd Edition
Designers: Timofey Bokarev, Fedor Korzhenkov
Artists: Anton Kvasovarov
Publisher: Ares Games
Year Published: 2021
Ever wanted to “find out what Orc society has become, now that the Age of Heroes is in the past?” Now we know! The Orcs not only defeated mankind in the Age of Heroes, they funneled all that rage into cutthroat . . . Capitalism? Seriously though, this game is dripping with theme. The art is incredible; each industry’s avatar is bursting with character. The Orcish industries make sense in this new, currency-driven Orc culture. Each industry brings special bonuses that help promote your Companies or stab your Orc competitors in the back.. And speaking of currency, our Orcs haven’t abandoned the old ways entirely – the skulls of one’s enemies work just fine in trade.
Another winning feature of the game is the multiple paths to victory. Players can focus solely on acquiring their own Companies (each worth a victory point), which can generate revenue to win more auctions allowing players to – you guessed it – acquire more Companies. Players can take out loans against their Companies to increase their capital just before an auction . . . but beware! Interest on loans is paid each turn and can soon start to squeeze your budget!
Alternatively, players can utilize industry cards to gain bonuses or found Startup Companies. These Startups mature into Companies over time, allowing players to acquire Companies for free later in the game (and maybe even take the win on the sly).
Another way to win is through the strategic acquisition of skulls (currency) or Companies to complete Quests to gain those sweet, sweet victory points. Players can focus on their own goals and ignore the other players if they wish, but the game provides plenty of take-that mechanics, allowing them to not only jump ahead of the other players, but also hold their competitors back, steal their skulls, and even force them to abandon their Companies.
The only criticism our group had was the Crisis Token, which would occasionally move about the board, depriving players of their revenue. The game provided few opportunities for the Crisis Token to be moved – it would often sit on a single industry for several turns in a row. We felt that having it move more often – perhaps every turn – might shake things up a bit more.
Orconomics is easy to learn, easy to teach, and easy to play. It’s straightforward enough for younger players to get the hang of, but provides enough strategy for more experienced players to enjoy. The modular board game provides plenty of replayability, and there is player interaction on every turn, not just the active player’s. The Orc theme adds a fun fantasy element to an already unique economic game. Highly recommended!