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Aethermon: Collect

Aethermon are strange creatures, different from but evidently modelled on those found in the real world. They are of course nothing like Pokemon but this is nonetheless a set collection game which can be played cooperatively or competitively by 2-4 players.

Aethermon: Collect is the first in what is intended as a series of Aethermon games by Aethermon Studios. The game is designed by Christopher Ng and Sarah Whillier, with appealing art by Fabio Porta and Miguel Gaton. It's played using a deck of 48 tile cards made up of eight 'elements' (colour/suits) of six. With four players you use all the tile cards, laid out in a 7 x 7 grid with a space in the centre, but you take out 'elements' and lay out a smaller grid when playing with fewer players. On your turn, you'll be moving a playing piece any distance orthogonally along the grid and collecting the card on which you end your move. Even played competitively, however, players don't have their own individual playing piece: all the players share and use the group token (an acrylic standee).

As the title suggests, Aethermon: Collect is a set collection game. Players score the value of the cards they collect, but with that score doubled for obtaining a set. Played competitively, they score individually but in the cooperative game the score is collective and success is measured against a scoring target. Tile cards are removed from the grid as you collect them, and the game ends when there are no moves you can make for which you can collect a card. The game is therefore one of optimisation and, played competitively, it's likely to involve players deliberately moving the shared playing piece and collecting Aethermon to deny an opponent their score-doubling set collection bonuses.

Aethermon: Collect is a small box game that can be played by all the family. It says 14+ on the box but we've found much younger children playing enthusiastically and well. Most of our plays at Board's Eye View have taken only about 15 minutes, even with four players; tho' we found competitive games tended to take fractionally longer than co-ops. That's largely because players in the competitive game have access to single-use 'artefacts' which substitute a special move or action for a conventional orthogonal move; for example, Old Skates, which substitute diagonal movement. The set collection bonuses mean that competitive players are usually driven by a compulsion that they 'gotta catch 'em all!'... :-)

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