I love strategy games. I spent an entire summer playing Risk with friends as a youth, and even taught chess club as an adult. Most strategy games, however, require a certain investment in time, which I don’t always have to spare. Similarly, many strategy games have very deep rule sets which can be a barrier to playing with both my 6-year-old and 10-year-old daughters. With Blue Orange Games’ newly-released Attila, I don’t have to worry about time or difficulty; instead I can simply focus on the fun.
Attila, as the name implies, is a game based around the historical figure Attila the Hun. Two players each control three game pieces to represent the opposing armies of the Huns and the Roman Empire. The point of the game is to trap your opponent so they have nowhere to run by placing flaming arrows on the game board after each turn, eliminating escape options one by one.
The game is both simple and quick. While my six-year-old was probably most confused by the historical premise of the game when I read it aloud from the rule book, she took instantly to the mechanics of the gameplay itself. Similar to the knight piece in chess, the characters you control in Attila may only move in L-shaped sequences. With only a limited number of spaces on the game board, the scorched-earth tiles you must place after each turn means that there is a finite end to each game. Though the game’s pieces definitely limit you to a certain number of turns each game, the strategy aspect of Attila means you can position your riders and your arrows to be declared winner even sooner.
The game is fun right out of the box and although play time is advertised at 15 minutes, no game has taken us longer than ten. For more advanced players, the game board is actually made up of four segmented tiles and can be arranged in a variety of ways so to keep you on your toes. To me the game reminded me both of chess and those little jumping pegboard games you find at Cracker Barrel. There’s an appeal in the certainty that there are only so many moves to be made and someone will be declared the winner when your fire tiles run out, if not before.
The retail price for Attila is $15.99, but it can be found cheaper online. Like all Blue Orange Games, in addition to the fun had while playing the game, kids and adults are actively using a variety of skills. In Attila, players as young as seven use visual perception, focus, and problem solving. Me, however? I’ll be busy applying some anger management techniques to not let my frustration show as my children defeat me over and over again.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this game.