Quick Look: MOSAIC
Designer: Glenn Drover
Artists: Jared Blando, Hendrik Noak, Jacoby O’Connor Grzegorz Pedrycz, Jessica Riola, Erica Rossi, Annie Stegg
Publisher: Forbidden Games
Year Published: 2022
No. of Players: 2-6 (Retail version) 1-6 (Colossus Edition)
Playing Time: 90-120 minutes.
Mosaic: A Story of Civilization is a Civilization-Building game from Glenn Drover, designer of, among others, Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery, Railways of the World, Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Boardgame, and Raccoon Tycoon.
Mosaic is an action selection game. On your turn, you will perform one of seven actions and acquire components.
Acquiring Components is important in creating the unique mosaic of your civilization. They are used as prerequisites for many new technologies, as well as for scoring. Also, by pursuing specialization in one or more Civilization Components, you may be able to claim a ‘Golden Age’ of that type.
As the game goes on and your Civilization grows, scoring cards are eventually revealed from the four decks. Each time a scoring card is revealed, your Civilization will score for each region that you dominate with your cities and military units. After the third scoring card is revealed, there is one final turn and the game ends. You will then score for your cities and towns, your wonders, projects, and golden ages, and for all of your cards that score for your unique Civilization Components.
Disclaimer: The publisher provided the Retail Version copy of Mosiac: A Story of Civilization. The opinions expressed in the review are completely my own.
Well, where to start. What an absolutely fantastic game. Having never played a game of this type before, I was both apprehensive but also excited to see what MOSAIC would throw my way. I needn’t have worried, because this game after one play is now in the top 3 of games I own, it is that good in my opinion. Only one other game tops it for games I’ve played this year.
Rules & Setup:
The set up does take a while, but once done the board looks great, and it makes you want to start playing, and taking and using the resources dotted around in each region. Each player gets their own board to track population, the resources they can produce, and for each unique resource they collect from placing tiles onto the game board, which then form part of your unique trade goods supply.
Each player board is based on a civilization, i.e. Roman, Egyptian, Gaul etc., although these are purely aesthetic, and just because you may have the Egypt board, you are not required to restrict yourself to, or even use the Egypt region in your game.
The rulebook is well laid out, in an easy to follow manner and explains each action you can take, and the scoring sequences which crop up during the game, and at the end. It also has plenty of pages with explanations of the symbology on the cards including the Nine Pillars of Civilization which allow you to build up facilitate the playing of other cards into your tableau, as you can only play certain cards if you have already played cards that have enough of the symbols shown on the new card.
Each player gets a Leader card, and each of these leaders have specific starting resources and possible on-board extra starting bonuses, and some have abilities that trigger when certain things happen, or actions are taken etc.
Theme and Mechanics:
The theme as suggested is the civilization of the ‘world’ by certain countries, and you do this by area control and engine tableau building, using cards and playing actions each round.
Once initial set up and leader actions have been completed by all players, the starting player, followed by every other takes an action.
There are 8 possible actions to choose from each round, and they are –
- Work – producing Stone, Food or Ideas
- Population – Increasing your Population
- Build – City, Town or Project
- Wonder – Construct one of the Wonders of the World
- Tax & Tariff – Tax your Population or Tariff merchants to get money
- Military – Recruit new military units, or move existing ones
- Government – Create (Purchase) a Government
Each of these actions will increase either your presence on the main board, and / or build up your personal resources / tableau to utilize more actions as the game continues.
These actions continue until an Empire Scoring Card comes out of one of the following card decks:
- Tax & Tariff
Scoring takes place after the card comes out (the card is then put aside), and the game ends after the third of these comes out of a deck, or all of 2 of the 3 following scoring tiles have all been claimed, which are:
- Golden Age x 9
- Civilization Achievement x 9
- Wonders x 9
Once one of these have been met, end game scoring takes place and the civilization with the most points is declared the winner. If there is a tie then the person with the most Wonders is the winner, if there is still a tie then the player with the most money wins. If there is still a tie then they share the victory.
Artwork and Components:
The artwork and components are of top notch quality. I played with the retail version so everything was cardboard, but in other editions the wonders, cities, ports, towns and armies are all made from plastic. All the card stock and the game board where very thick, and the cards were of playing card size, so easy to read and keep track of the symbols.
This game is excellent. From opening the box it’s easy to see this has been a labour of love by the designer and publisher alike. Everything has been produced to a very high standard, and is well worth the price.
This game is I believe still being delivered to backers in some regions, as I write this review (December 2022), but if there is a reprint I would like to see the option of an upgrade kit for people who initially bought the retail version via the first Kickstarter, of if purchased from a retail outlet. The only things that lets’ the retail version down currently in my opinion is no box insert, rather everything is stored in the free clear plastic bags sent / supplied, and the fact that the solo mode is not included in this version, and is also not available as a separate ‘buy’, even though the solo rules have been posted on BGG. Solo rules are only supplied with the upgraded versions of the game via Kickstarter.
Putting up a Print & Play file for the cards could easily be done, or even sold for a nominal fee to anyone who wants to buy them, which I would certainly do.
I have not played many civilization games, but this is certainly one I will be playing again and again with friends, and even more so if I had the solo mode option.
Play This If You Like:
Play MOSAIC if you like other civ games of this type, but also if you have never played one before, as I was truly impressed by how easy it was to pick up, even though it looks complicated at the outset.
Find out more at BGG.
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Carl King- Reviewer
Well done! I concur with your assessment and Mosaic is in my Top 25 after only three solo plays (sadly the game was destroyed only weeks after finally opening it, due to a pipe bursting in our home flooding several rooms). I look forward to getting my replacement copy and the expansion later this year.