Written and Reviewed by Chelsea Siaca
Title: Will you be the best Demigod in the land?
The Wise One has sent 4 Demigods to bring the Wisdom of the mountains to the people of the islands. Learning the Wisdom of the mountains is done through studying and experience. The ultimate mysteries are only learned on the highest mountains.
Welcome to Oros
As a Demigod, you will be teaching your followers to form mountains and build sacred sites that will expand their knowledge. You will also be expanding your followers’ capabilities, making them more effective in their pursuit of knowledge.
We played with a prototype copy of the game. But if that was a preview of what the game’s final production will look like, color me impressed. The map is the center of Oros. It has 2 sides – a small map on one side and a large map on the other side. You will be filling this map with lands tiles. They all have similar landscape of lands, mountains, and water. The main difference between the main land tiles is that they have numbers on them ranging from 1 to 4. In addition to the land tiles, there are 12 mountains and 12 island tiles.
Each player will receive a player board representing their Demigod, 7 followers, 8 Wisdom caps, and 9 sacred sites – 3 of each size. Each player board has various columns, which represent the actions that you can take during the game. The last bits of components are the Ziggurat and the Demigod standee, which will go on the track on the Ziggurat.
Earn the most Knowledge Points (KP) by upgrading your followers’ abilities, having them build sacred sites, and improving the value of the sacred sites. You upgrade your followers’ abilities and the value of sacred sites when you earn Wisdom. Your followers can only build sacred sites on mountains. However, before you can build the sacred sites, you will have to create the mountains. All these actions are interwoven; choose wisely and you might end up with the most KP.
You will need to build sacred sites to earn Wisdom and ascend actions, but they can only be built on mountains. However, at the beginning of the game there are no mountains on the map and you start the game on an island. So how do you get off the island and when do the mountains emerge? Well here is where the fun starts!!!
To get off the island tile you can either collide land tiles or erupt a volcano. The starting islands all have volcanoes on them, so you can start off by erupting one of them or simply colliding land tiles together. Option A – Erupting a volcano will fill the tile it is on before moving on. Meaning? If you are on a 1 island, and there is a 1 volcano on that island tile, when the volcano erupts the land tile will becomes a 2 land tile. Option B – Colliding land tiles, when you do that you add the numbers on the tiles and replace the tiles with a new tile of that value. For example, if a 2 land tile collides with a 2 land tile, a 4 land tile would replace the 2 land tiles. Why would this be important? Well you need to collide two 4 land tiles to make a mountain. So you will spend the first couple of actions and rounds moving off your starting island, creating mountains, or moving to mountains others created.
Once there are mountains on the board, your followers can build your sacred sites. There are 3 different types of sacred sites. They range on size and the order in which they can be built. They have to be built in order from largest to smallest. So you cant build the top of the sacred site without first building the base and middle structures! You build one at a time and can only have one of your own sacred site pieces on each mountain. You will have to travel around the map to build your other sacred sites! Depending on which sites you build, will determine how much Wisdom you receive. You will also receive 2 ascends every time you build a sacred site, which means you will move your Demigod up 2 spots on the Ziggurat. At the end of game, you will receive 1 KP each spot on the Ziggurat your Demigod has ascended!
Lastly, you can send a follower to study or recall one. When you send a follower to study, you can send one to the study section on your player board or to one of your own sites on the map. If you recall one of the followers from study section on your board you gain Wisdom. When you have a follower studying on your sacred site and another Demigod’s follower builds the next level of the site, you will gain Wisdom.
Now that you know all the actions available in the game, Oros is played in a series of rounds in which you can take up to 3 actions. You assign one of your workers to an unoccupied action space and then take that action. During set up certain actions are blocked off by a worker. However, they will become available once you place one of the workers blocking them into an unoccupied action spot. Don’t worry too much about those actions just yet! You will not be able to complete them at the beginning of the game! It is very important to plan ahead and open the right actions in the right order or you can block yourself out of actions you need. Throughout the game as you earn Wisdom; you can use that Wisdom to upgrade the actions. At the beginning of the game, you have 2 workers that are locked and unlocking them is triggered when you upgrade your all the actions (except building the sacred site action) past the Horizon lines.
The end of the game is triggered when a Demigod ascends to the top most space in the Ziggurat! Everyone who hasn’t had a turn that round takes their turn and then the game is done!
Oh my! Oros definitely had me thinking and trying to plan/find the best available course of action!! The game starts a bit slow; I don’t mean that in a bad way. You have to focus on building up the land tiles. There will be a lot of shifting /moving tiles in hopes to create mountains and kick off the building of sacred sites. At the beginning of the game, I struggled with how the tiles behave in relation to the map. The opposite edges of the map are considered adjacent, so if you are moving tiles beyond the map, they are moved to the opposite side of the map. There other players didn’t seem to have the same issue. I think it was mostly spatial. However, by the end of the game I felt more comfortable with how the land times moved around. The landscape on the map changes from one player’s turn to another. By the time it is your turn, what you might have planned might not work or be possible. Someone might have moved your follower along with the land tiles you had plans for.
Oros is one of those games that once you are done playing, you keep thinking about what you could have done differently and cant wait to try it again. To me that is a sign of an excellent game. I think my favorite part of the game was trying to decide what actions to upgrade and when to upgrade, which could lead to unlocking the 2 extra workers! If you unlocked the workers and don’t have a plan for those worker; you might end up clogging up the board and not being able to play your turn effectively. Trust me it happened to me! I wasted a turn trying to get my actions freed up!
Oros is currently on Kickstarter and it funded in less than an hour!!! I am truly not surprised. This is probably one of my favorite games from 2021!!!