In Cyclades, players compete against each other for the favor of the gods. The Cyclades (Κυκλάδες) are a Greek island group in the Aegean sea, named that way because they surround the sacred island of Delos, birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, meeting place of the Delian League and once a busy nexus of culture and commerce.
The Cyclades board game comes with a pantheon of five major gods. At the start of each turn all players bid for their favor in an auction, and each god bestows his or her own unique bonuses. Players can also hire mythical beasts, such as Polyphemus, Medusa or Pegasus to unleash against their foes.
The goal of the game is to be the first to build two cities on your islands, while preventing your opponents from doing the same through warfare and resource domination.
Cyclades is a fairly quick game. I've found the bidding wars for the gods somewhat limiting, because the gods are effectively the main resource, and their scarcity is what creates tension. In order to win, a player should ideally win the auction for every god at least once if not twice, and this is not easy when everybody else is trying to do the same thing. Cyclades is beautifully designed and easy to learn, and while there are games I like more, it's not hard to see why this one is a sure crowd pleaser.
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