You are the head of an ever-expanding city-state in Ancient Greece. However, your opponents have also seen significant growth in their city-states. It’s up to you to use cards and dice to make sure that your empire is crowned the greatest. Khôra: Rise of an Empire is a midweight European-style board game consisting of nine rounds. Players will be rolling dice, drafting cards and taking actions on their path to victory.
What’s in the box?
Khôra: Rise of an Empire is a European style game — this means that most of the game’s components consist of bland wooden pastel-coloured pieces. Also, be ready to be overwhelmed by all manner of cardboard tokens. The experience of unboxing the game can seem a tad overwhelming, but beneath the bland surface hides a very fun Euro board game.
Although most of the components tend to look a bit uninspiring, the same can not be said for the artwork. It has a semi-realistic style that works well with the theme and does a lot to bring some much-needed colour to the game.
As expected from iello, the components are all of the highest quality. One of my favourite pieces is the player boards, which have perfectly shaped holes to place your markers in. It’s a small but welcome touch.
Almost all of the components follow a functional role. Whether it is a whole made specifically so that a token fits perfectly or a shape made to easily recognise a token, everything has a purpose. While the game might not be the flashiest, it is little touches like this that makes the process of playing so enjoyable.
All the info players need are incorporated on the player boards, which lets you refer to them when you are stuck or unsure what an icon means or what to do next.
How do you play it?
As mentioned, Khôra: Rise of an Empire is played over nine rounds with the goal of gaining the most victory points to win. It is your basic Euro-style gameplay we’ve come to love (or hate). The game can be played with 2 – 4 players and takes just over an hour to complete.
Players each get a player board and a starting city tile, each with their own unique abilities.
Each round sees players following the same seven steps. At the beginning of a round, an event is revealed. The first and last events are always the same. Some of these events only occur at the end of a round which gives players the opportunity to prepare for them beforehand. After this, players will collect income, roll dice, assign actions (which are matched to the dice that were rolled).
Players can also spend some of their citizens in order to negate bad dice rolls. There is a military phase, which basically boils down to comparing numbers and having the highest to win. Combat nets you tokens which, again are needed to play specific cards.
At the end of the nine rounds, players will score their Victory points. These are scored in various ways including developments players unlocked on their city tile and from Politic cards players played.
Each of the cities has its own unique playstyle, for instance, Athens focuses on playing cards as quickly and effectively as possible.
What did we think of Khôra: Rise of an Empire?
Khôra: Rise of an Empire was a great surprise. I was initially quite underwhelmed by the games uninspiring components and lack of any themes. But after playing a few times I’ve been hooked.
Just like the game’s components, which might not be very pretty but are exceptional, when it comes to functionality, Khôra: Rise of an Empire’s gameplay is where it shines. There is just something very primal and satisfying about seeing your tokens moving up a track.
Initially, it can be quite difficult to plan ahead but as you play more you’ll soon realise all the strategies open to you as a player. There are a few limitations though, depending on which city you get you might only have a few options open to you. For instance, if you get Sparta, the best road to victory would be a military one.
One gripe players might have is the luck involved with rolling dice. Because the game is only played over a few rounds, one or two bad rolls could spell disaster for your chances of winning. Personally, I enjoyed the randomness it added but Euro purists might find this off-putting.
Overall, Khôra: Rise of an Empire is a very enjoyable board game, one that is easy enough for newcomers to jump into. Building your city-state and seeing all the markers move up the track is a strangely enjoyable experience and with each city playing differently there is quite a bit of replayability.
Khôra: Rise of an Empire
- Easy to play
- Rounds are quick
- Everything has functionality
- The randomess of dice rolls might be off-putting to some
- The components are a bit bland
Complexity vs Depth