Africana - Board Game Box Shot

Africana

| Published: 2012
17 2

Africa at the end of the 19th century:
The great European nations wish to reveal the final secrets of this little-explored continent. Players complete multiple expeditions under contract to the African exploration companies. Only those who cleverly use the travel routes and complete many expeditions will be able to finance the costly search for valuable artifacts.

The “Book of Adventures” returns in Michael Schacht’s latest opus. This time, players must scour volumes for clues to find valuable artifacts.

User Reviews (2)

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7
15 of 16 gamers found this helpful
“Exploration on the Dark Continent”

I live in Africa, Uganda to be exact. If the board game says Africa, I am in! Unfortunately, there are not too many games with an African theme and most of them are not too great. How does Africana stack up.

Components

Pretty standard fare. A couple different sizes of cards, cheap plastic coins, pawns, disks, a map of Africa with locations to travel to. The most unique components are the two wooden books. They are pretty cool and what makes this game unique and special.

Game Play

This game is all about exploration. Like most good gateway games, you have a choice of three actions. First, draw travel cards. Just take two travel cards. These cards have five different symbols on them and they will be used to, you guessed it, travel. Second, buy adventure cards. This is the second “Book of Adventure” game by Michael Schacht. The idea is that cards are placed in one side of the book and you flip the “pages” of the book to see the new cards. The first flip is free, and after that you pay one silver for each page flip. If you want to buy a card, you pay 5 silver (or one gold) and you are all set. There are two books, one in each hemisphere. The cards for the northern hemisphere are in the southern hemisphere and vica versa. This means you pick up cards and travel to the location listed on the card to complete it. You can only buy cards in the hemisphere you are in. These cards have symbols which you can collect to make sets and earn points at the end of the game. There are also helper cards you can get that will give you a permanent symbol card to help you navigate the map. The trick with these is that you can only own two without a penalty. Is the help of rapid movement worth the loss of points? That is for you to determine. Thirdly, Move. All the locations on the map have one or two symbols attached to them to show what card you need to discard to travel to that location. You can travel to as many places as you have cards so economy of effect dictates that you save up cards and move as far as possible in one turn. As you move to locations, you have to check to see if you have traveled to a location where an expedition starts. If you have, you place a marker on that expedition and join it. There is a bonus for joining, and of course, a reward for completing it. Game continues until there are not enough expedition cards to fill the spaces.

Thoughts

The rules for this always seem complex to me, but the game play never does. I find this game to be very enjoyable. Deciding when to travel, what cards to buy, what quests to join and racing to finish them before someone else does always adds to the fun. The theme fits the game, and you do end with a feeling of exploration. I have played this with gamers, and non gamers alike, and have had great success. The mystery of what card will come up in the book, and should I spend my resources to flip another card give some good tension. Overall, I would highly recommend this as a great intro to board games right along with Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne.

 
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3
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41 of 47 gamers found this helpful
“Africana: My Impressions”

Components:
The Artwork for this game is very good, the card stock for the larger Travel cards is a little flimsy but the graphics on them are quite good. The Smaller cards are better quality with some more great artwork. The player pieces are wooden and there are two wooden card holders to make the adventure cards look like pages in a book. The rule book is well laid out with pictures and examples but is large and rather than being a book, folds out making it awkward to use at the gaming table. Fortunately there is a PDF of the rulebook available so I was able to print out a much smaller version easier to reference at the table.

Gameplay:
Players represent explorers from various nations trying to uncover precious artifacts by taking part in various expeditions to earn money to buy adventure cards leading the way to their locations.

From their starting locations players use travel cards to move around Africa gaining rewards for taking part and completing them but in order to travel they need the right travel cards to get to each location on their chosen route.
On each turn players have the choice of one of these actions:

* Drawing New Travel Cards (2)
* Moving through Africa (Playing an appropriate card for each destination)
* Buying Adventure Cards

The adventure books are a really nice touch with players being able to pay a coin to flip the “pages” to reveal another card before they decide to purchase or not. The number of rounds being set by how quickly players complete the expeditions, the game end triggered when they are no cards left to replace a completed expedition at the end of that players turn. The round completes so that everyone has had an equal number of turns.

As each expedition gives the player a reward for joining (each player can join a max of 4 at any one time), either coin(s) or Travel cards, it can be a tactic whilst moving to join an expedition just to get another card which then may help your current move action. To join an expedition you playing piece needs to be on the Starting location for it, which can be where they start moving from or any destination they pass through along the way. The first player to get to the end destination, as more than one player can join an expedition, gets the final rewards VPS’s for the end of the game and an amount of coins.

Whilst there are only 1 of 3 actions you can take each turn there is a lot behind each choice and certainly tactics to be thought of as well.

This game is easy to teach someone new how to play but is another of those games where there is always different ways to play to win.

Conclusion:
The mechanics of this game are really easy to grasp but executing the perfect timing of your actions, spending your money wisely and getting in on the right expeditions takes careful thought. I really like this game and lately have played this quite a lot. There is a lot here for all levels of gamer with plenty of replayability as the cards play out differently every time. Whilst there is a certain amount of luck in this game with the random draw of travel and expedition cards the Joker card everyone starts with plus the ability to spend 5 coin to turn any card wild means you are never truly stuck without an option.

The fact that most games I have played of this have resulted in fairly close scoring shows how well balanced this game is, it is also a lot of fun to play and also frustrating as you always need to do one more thing on your turn you can not 🙂

 

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