The Colony is one of those games I had wanted to get my hands on for a while, for a few reasons actually, and it has lived up to my expectations in each.
To start with the game designer, Jeph Stahl is a Canadian. It is always a pleasure to support Canadian game designers in this space.
The Colony, first released in 2008, is also a game with much owing to Mancala, the ancient family of African bead sowing games. Stahl has his own take on the theme, using colonies of ants hoarding eggs, but the Mancala roots are crystal clear.
The fact it draws on Mancala is interesting because I truly appreciate ancient games, and the newer variants which emerge to catch attention.
"Players take the role of rival ant colonies that discover a recently cut wood pile. Live eggs still linger in the cut logs. To restore and control the colony, players collect and protect the eggs. Collected eggs are moved to a safe location in front of the player. Players can place ants on the board which will protect the wood pile. The colony that collects and protects the most eggs at the end of the game is the winner," details the ruleset.
That pretty well sums up the game.
The game can get a little 'draggy' but that may be as much a case of learning its complexities, as a design flaw. Knowing where to place eggs and how best to take control of the board takes some getting used to.
The third reason The Colony interested me was the components. The edition from Blue Panther is great, starting with a wooden box.
The colonies and ants, which are stand-up with cut-out design, are both wood, and the eggs are serviceable plastic stones. It is an aesthetically pleasing mix of components.
The Colony is not the world's best mancala-inspired game, but there is enough here to please gamers for occasional plays.
Check the game out at www.bluepantherllc.com
If anyone is interested in this game, or other boardgames feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper May 30, 2012 - Yorkton, SK. Canada