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MOSAIC + Wars & Disasters Expansion Late Pledge Review

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Quick Look: Mosaic: Wars & Disasters Expansion+Premium Colossus Edition


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 + Wars and Disasters (expansion) 2023

 

No. of Players: 2-6 (Retail version) 1-6 (Colossus Edition)

Ages: 12+

Playing Time: 90-120 minutes.

 
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com  & BoardGameGeek.com
 
From the Publisher:

Mosaic: A Story of Civilization is a Civilization-Building game from Glenn Drover, designer of, among others, Age of Empires III: The Age of DiscoveryRailways of the WorldSid 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.

Mosaic: Wars and Disasters contains many new elements to allow you to explore deeper strategies and face new challenges.

Admin note: While this box is listed for 1-6 players, no rules are included for incorporating the expansion elements into solo play.

Disclaimer: The publisher provided the Retail Version copy of Mosiac: A Story of Civilization.  The opinions expressed in the review are completely my own.

 


Review:

Overview:

 

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.

 

Wars & Disasters:

During set up, you add 2 Disaster trigger cards into each of the 4 main decks in the same area as the Empire Scoring card, plus add the new technology cards marked with a star symbol into that deck as well.

Each player will also select a National Power card, which will also determine your player colour. These new national powers take effect at the time of an Empire Scoring cards arrival, apart from the Greek player, who has one of their powers in place at all times.

The different powers are ROMANS, GAULS, CARTHAGINIANS, GREEKS, ASYRIANS & EGYPTIANS.

In the new expansion you get

  • National Military Powers
  • 26 new technology Cards
  • 12 new Build Cards
  • 12 Disaster cards
  • 6 Military Action Tiles
  • 1 new Leader Card
  • 3 new Wonders (Statue of Zeus, Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Circus Maximus)
  • 2 new Town types
  • Naval units
  • 1 new Government tile
  • More metal coins 

 

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.

 

 

Gameplay:

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:

  • Build
  • Technology
  • Tax & Tariff
  • Population

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.

 

 

Wars & Disasters:

If you have a port city on the board and you take the military action, you can now purchase up to 2 naval units on a turn (each player has 5 they can buy), and these must be placed next to a port city of your colour.

These naval units give 2 influence for each ship in the region they are situated, and you can also pay for them to move to another region on the board in later turns.

You can also purchase one of the new war tiles by taking the military action, and if you do, you take one of the cards, and when it is played it is returned to the box.

There are 3 new Wonders available to purchase, all using the same restrictions as the original ones.

The new leader, The Admiral allows you to buy naval units cheaper than other players.

The 2 new towns are;

Garrison Town – gain a military unit in the region it is placed, plus other towns may be built next to it as if it were a City

Amphitheater Town – they score 2 VP’s for each adjacent City / Wonder when ‘first’ placed.

When the disaster cards come out you work left to right on the next disaster, and then that card is removed and the next one comes into play when the next disaster card is revealed.

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.

 

 

Wars & Disasters:

In the expansion ALL the components are designed for the Colossus edition, so all the new Wonders, Towns, and naval units are plastic, plus there are more of the excellent metal coins supplied.

All the new tiles and cards are made from the same excellent card stock as the original versions, and the new towns, wonders and naval units are also supplied as tiles, so you can use them in the retail version if you have that, so the publishers have thought of everything.

 

The Good:

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.

 

 

Wars & Disasters:

All the new content from the expansion fitted seamlessly into the game, and after the initial player encountered one of the new elements all players easily grasped the nuances of each new element.

The new National Powers added an extra element for each player to consider when the scoring cards were revealed, and for me added to the game experience very nicely indeed.

The new Wonders are excellent, and I purchased the Statue of Zeus as soon as I could, as it protects you from the disaster cards for the whole game, which can be very beneficial.

 

 

The Other:

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.

Wars & Disasters:

After several plays now, the only downside to the game for me, is the quite labour intensive and lengthy-ish set up time, with the placement of the tokens in each region and then removing those with an X being the longest of the set up processes.



Final Thoughts:

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.

 

Wars & Disasters:

For future games, I / we will definitely be using all the expansion parts / rules as in my opinion it only enhances and improves on an already excellent game.

Personally I only currently have the main game in it’s retail version, but I’m certainly looking at upgrading to the Colossus edition and getting everything on the board in that form as I believe it will look even more of an excellent table hogger than it already does.

I will also be seeking out the neoprene mat.

I still need to play the solo game, as I’m intrigued to see how it all works.

 
After reading Carl’s review, if this sounds like a game for you at the time of this posting Mosaic: Wars & Disasters Expansion+Premium Colossus Edition is still available via late pledge. Check it out and back it HERE.
Did you get it based on our review? Please comment below letting us know!
 

 

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Carl King- Reviewer

Buyer / Estimator @ ABC Stainless, P’gh & owner of YouTube channel The Games Kingdom
 
See Carl’s reviews HERE.

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