So, you think you always know the best path to success? Well, it may be time to prove it. In Gentes players try to build monuments, settle in new cities, and, train their people trying to score points along the way by matching symbols on buildings, achieving common goals (like training 18 people). You want to build up an optimal engine so that you don't end up slowing yourself down in the long run. With many choices available each turn, what strategy will best help you get ahead of your opponents? Put your planning to the test! Let's check it out ...
What Is It?
Though some might call it a civilization game for the theme is presents itself as having, I'd call this more of a Euro style game with action selection, a unique timing system (for actions and overall gameplay), and various goals to work towards. Players can choose to focus heavily on one area (buildings, cities/hometowns, training people, taxing), or work on some combination to diversify their assets, as it were. There's no right or wrong way to go about things, the game just takes a bit of puzzling to find which route works best for you.
Who Is It For?
A bit on the drier side, and not a super easy play, I'd recommend this one to gamers ages 13+ and say that it is perhaps best suited for more experience/hobby-er gamers. The "theme" isn't strong (hence why I called it Euro-style; i.e. the mechanics could work with any number of themes really) so if you don't mind that, then you can definitely enjoy the game as well. On the other hand, if you like a lot of player interaction, this one may not be for you, as that feels very minimal throughout the game, depending on strategies that are taken.
Quality of Components
For reference, I do have the retail version and not the deluxified version, but this one is still pretty sweet!
The cardboard chits, player boards, and cards are all your average, but solid, quality. The rules are pretty nicely laid out overall, easy to follow, with examples along the way. The one exception I felt to this was that if your first game is a 2-player game, it's a little strange reading through the rules because some specifics are mentioned throughout the normal rules, but there is also an extra 2-player rule section. I like how well all the player pieces match in color (sometimes I see things be slightly different colors between the wooden pieces and the boards, but these are great). My only real complaint is that the art/colors are muted and kind of bland, but that everything does fit well with the theme, so it still works.
I would give this one about a 3 or a 3.5 out of 5 for difficulty, it's a bit of a toss up. Like I mentioned, there's definitely a little puzzling to be done, so the game can definitely cause a little bit of analysis paralysis (AP). It can be difficult to plan for your best options, especially since you can't be sure what action tiles your opponents will take and when.
On the bright side, everything does work really well together which makes it easier as you're playing and getting the hang of it.
While this isn't the prettiest game I've played by any means, I thought it had some solid mechanics and gameplay, which definitely makes it worth your while. I like the wide range of options/choices I have each turn and the ability to switch gears toward a new strategy if I see an opponent on my tail for something.
I can see it being hard to get to the table for some, due to looks or theme, but I can also say, as someone who tends to opt for more thematic games, that it's a great Euro that deserves some attention!
Designer - Stefan Risthaus
Artists - Harald Lieske, Adam P. McIver
Publishers - Tasty Minstrel Games (TMG), Spielworxx, Game Brewer, Maldito Games
BGG - https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/217780/gentes
BGA - https://www.boardgameatlas.com/search/game/g5SrFCyepz
*I was provided a copy of this game to do this review*