Ethnos

RRP: £39.99

NOW £29.79
RRP £39.99

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Ethnos is a fantasy land, waiting for you to claim it! The landscape’s populated with wingfolk, giants, minotaurs, merfolk ‘tribes’ and more. Don’t let that intimidate you, though. These beasts are here to help you gain control of the six regions of Ethnos…Paoli Mori is the mastermind behind Ethnos, a game for up to six players. It’s published by CMON Limited, with a mar…
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Ethnos is a fantasy land, waiting for you to claim it! The landscape’s populated with wingfolk, giants, minotaurs, merfolk ‘tribes’ and more. Don’t let that intimidate you, though. These beasts are here to help you gain control of the six regions of Ethnos… Paoli Mori is the mastermind behind Ethnos, a game for up to six players. It’s published by CMON Limited, with a marvellous array of cards. These cover the twelve different tribes that roam the land. These cards also come in six colours, matching the six regions of Ethnos. You pick six of these twelve tribes to play with in a game. Each tribe provides different rules and scoring mechanisms. You’ll get a modular set-up each time you play! The wonderful gameplay is so simple to grasp. To partake in area majority, you’ll need to master set collection and hand management. On your turn you recruit one card among a face-up flop of cards (or draw blind from the deck). Or, you play a band of allies down as a set. You can play a set as same-type creatures. When played, you get a unique reward associated with that tribe type. Or, you can played a set as same-colour cards. These could be three different creatures, so you pick one of them for their tribe type reward. Then you get to place one of your markers down in the region of Ethnos that matches the card colour. (You pick which colour you want if you played same-tribe cards of different colours.) There’s three ‘ages’ to the game, each where the regions score points in an area majority manner. Some regions are worth more at the end of phase one than it is at phase two and vice-versa. At the end of the age you also score the sets you’ve played in front of you, with larger sets scoring more. There’s a wonderful twist in Ethnos, and that’s whenever you play a set, you have to discard the rest of your hand. The cards enter the public flop, meaning the other players will leap on them like vultures! This also counter-balances the timer mechanism. Once the third dragon card gets revealed from the deck, the age ends. After the third age, the player with the most glory points wins! Player Count: 2-6 Players Time: 45-60 minutes Age: 14+

Awards

Golden Pear

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Quick to learn and plays in 45-60 minutes.
  • A fun ‘Gateway’ experience for players new to the hobby.
  • No frustrating ‘Take That’ area control mechanisms.
  • Different set of powers to master in each game.

Might Not Like

  • Art can be boring and races often look too similar.
  • Too random at six players.
  • Not deep enough for many.
  • Can devolve into simply taking cards from the stack.
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Description

Ethnos is a fantasy land, waiting for you to claim it! The landscape’s populated with wingfolk, giants, minotaurs, merfolk ‘tribes’ and more. Don’t let that intimidate you, though. These beasts are here to help you gain control of the six regions of Ethnos… Paoli Mori is the mastermind behind Ethnos, a game for up to six players. It’s published by CMON Limited, with a marvellous array of cards. These cover the twelve different tribes that roam the land. These cards also come in six colours, matching the six regions of Ethnos. You pick six of these twelve tribes to play with in a game. Each tribe provides different rules and scoring mechanisms. You’ll get a modular set-up each time you play! The wonderful gameplay is so simple to grasp. To partake in area majority, you’ll need to master set collection and hand management. On your turn you recruit one card among a face-up flop of cards (or draw blind from the deck). Or, you play a band of allies down as a set. You can play a set as same-type creatures. When played, you get a unique reward associated with that tribe type. Or, you can played a set as same-colour cards. These could be three different creatures, so you pick one of them for their tribe type reward. Then you get to place one of your markers down in the region of Ethnos that matches the card colour. (You pick which colour you want if you played same-tribe cards of different colours.) There’s three ‘ages’ to the game, each where the regions score points in an area majority manner. Some regions are worth more at the end of phase one than it is at phase two and vice-versa. At the end of the age you also score the sets you’ve played in front of you, with larger sets scoring more. There’s a wonderful twist in Ethnos, and that’s whenever you play a set, you have to discard the rest of your hand. The cards enter the public flop, meaning the other players will leap on them like vultures! This also counter-balances the timer mechanism. Once the third dragon card gets revealed from the deck, the age ends. After the third age, the player with the most glory points wins! Player Count: 2-6 Players Time: 45-60 minutes Age: 14+

In the land of Ethnos, the players are leaders seeking to reunite the six kingdoms. To do this, they must grow a force drawn from six different tribes of fantasy creatures. Leaders must use each race’s unique ability to gain dominance over the other players and the land.

Ethnos is a set collection game in a similar vein to Ticket to Ride, where the players collect sets of cards from a display of Ally cards or the Ally deck. These cards form a hand from which a 'Band of Allies' will eventually be selected.

Players win 'Glory' at the end of each age by having the most control markers in each kingdom. They add control markers by sending in a Band of Allies. But only if they play more Allies than they have existing markers already in that region.

At the end of an age, of which there are three, the leader with the most control markers gains the most glory. In the second age, both first and second place winners gain glory, and in the third, the top three players will score. At the end of the game, the leader with the most glory wins!

A Deeper Look Into The Rules

While the above could almost be Ticket to Ride without the trains, there’s more to it than that. Of the six tribes of creatures in the game, each has a unique ability which comes into effect when playing a Band of Allies. A Band, when played, must be made up of either all the same race or all from the same kingdom, denoted by colour.

One Ally from the Band of Allies is assigned the leader. The leader's colour designates which region the player may place a control marker if they have played enough cards. The leader's race also determined the power a player uses that turn.

There are 12 different races available with only six in each game (five in the 2-3 player version). The Centaur’s power, for example, allows a player to send a second Band of Allies into Ethnos on their turn. The power of the Wingfolk is to place a control marker on any kingdom no matter what colour the leader is, although the size of the band still has to allow for the placement in that region.

Then, the Orc’s power is to horde, which adds a marker onto a separate Orc board. The player can score the orcs at the end of an age, dependent on how many regions where the orc leaders have markers. The more regions, the higher the bonus.

Once players send a Band of Allies into a kingdom, it gets placed before the player and will score additional points at the end of each era depending on the number of Allies in the group. The players then discard their remaining cards as face-up Ally cards, making them available for other players to recruit.

 

What’s Fun About Ethnos?

Ethnos is not over-ambitious in what it sets out to be. It's a light set collection game with area control elements and race abilities. It doesn’t take long to understand how to play, allowing players new to the hobby to begin learning new mechanisms easily. For this reason, Ethnos is a great gateway game.

While it says 60 minutes playing time on the box, for four players it took only 45 minutes to play, plus the brief rules explanation. Turns are quick, with little overall downtime, and scoring is uncomplicated. In turn, each of the races can aide in scoring in a different way, leading to different strategies.

Some area control games can have opponents messing with your pieces, moving them or killing them to gain control of regions. This style of game can be frustrating for some, especially when it ruins a move or a strategy built throughout a game. Ethnos is not one of these games, instead focusing on simply building more control than other opponents.

Are There Any Issues?

While it’s easy to get into and is fun, Ethnos is not a perfect game. The art on the cards is very bland, with many races looking too similar.

Often rounds can devolve into just drawing a single Ally card from the Ally deck because there are no face-up Ally cards. This can allow the luckiest player be able to play something after several turns.

But overall, these flaws are only minor and can be easily overlooked for the fun the game brings. Ethnos is an excellent game for both beginners and experienced players, with some luck and a mix of uncomplicated mechanics. It’s fun and quick with plenty of replay-ability. For those looking for a deep experience, this may not be the game for you.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Quick to learn and plays in 45-60 minutes.
  • A fun Gateway experience for players new to the hobby.
  • No frustrating Take That area control mechanisms.
  • Different set of powers to master in each game.

Might not like

  • Art can be boring and races often look too similar.
  • Too random at six players.
  • Not deep enough for many.
  • Can devolve into simply taking cards from the stack.