Designed by Eloi Pujadas, with art by Alba Aragon, Troia is a light two-player tug-of-war combat game where you’ll be playing as either the Greeks or the Trojans to try to complete your objective before your opponent achieves theirs.
The Greek player is trying to play to the table four cards that will together form the Trojan Horse. Meanwhile the Trojan player is trying to play cards with Hector or Paris on them in order to advance a track the four steps to the end. It’s a hand management set collection game where, on your turn, you can either pick up cards to add to your hand, or you can play cards as a tribute to the gods – of which six will sit on Mount Olympus (ie: at the side of the board). The tribute must have at least one of the preferred offerings of the god you are activating and the number of symbols must at least match the number against which the god is positioned on their track. Make a successful tribute and you get to move the matching colour of hero one step towards your opponent. You also get to take the bonus action of the god you activated, which might, for example, include moving another hero (Hermes) or drawing more cards (Zeus). If you play symbols to a god that fully match that deity’s preference (eg: if Ares is at position 3 and you play cards worth 3 boars – Ares’ preferred offering) then you get to move the corresponding hero two steps.
Players are aiming to get heroes into their opponent’s home area (just two steps from their starting position). If you have two or more heroes in this area at the end of your turn, then, if you have it, you get to play one of the cards that’s needed to advance towards your winning goal (ie: build the Trojan Horse or advance Hector/Paris).
There’s another asymmetric twist, however. The heroes that you are each moving back and forth are not the same colour on both sides: Ajax, for example, is blue on the Trojan side and yellow on his Greek side. That means he is activated by different gods for each player. Also, when you activate a god, you move the tile for that god to the position closest to you. This makes it more expensive for you to activate next turn (4 symbols) and less expensive for your opponent (1 symbol)…
All this makes for an entertaining tactical game, albeit one where you can be at the mercy of unlucky card draws. But then, as Shakespeare remarks in King Lear, the gods were notoriously fickle and careless of human suffering (As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport). We enjoyed the asymmetry, tho’ once you’ve learnt what colours are on the reverse of each hero you’re at a significant advantage in relation to a less knowledgeable opponent. It’s an added bonus tho' that the god tiles are also double-sided. You don’t flip them during play but it means you can vary at set up the powers available to players.
You might just find it annoying that if you push the hero tiles fully onto their stands then it partially obscures the hero’s name. This doesn’t affect game play, however, so this is a minor production gripe in this fun 30-minute game. There was more of rude shock tho’ for the two members of the Board’s Eye View team who originally hail from Italy. Publishers GDM Games are based in Spain, where Troia simply means Troy. Italian speakers tho’ recognise the word troia as an insult, equivalent to the English word slut!