First Take Friday – Theurgy, Trekking Through History, Disney WordARound, Pyramido

In First Take Fridays we offer hot takes on games that are new to us. This week we have Theurgy, Trekking Through History, Disney WordARound, and Pyramido.

Theurgy – David Wood

In Theurgy each player takes on the role of an almost forgotten god in a world that is increasingly skeptical about spiritual matters. Working though your two acolytes and remaining followers, you must convert people to your cause and have them build temples in your honor. The player who builds the required number of temples, which varies depending on player count, wins.

Players will use a mix of mechanics – action selection, influence bidding, hand management, variable player powers, etc. – to achieve victory. There are only four actions to choose from, and like Scythe, you cannot take the same action twice. So, players will need to plan their moves carefully. Actions include:

  • Pilgrimage: moving your acolytes and followers to other settlements and converting members of the local population.
  • Spread the Word: placing faith tokens to mark your growing cultural influence in surrounding settlements.
  • Divine Intervention: performing miracles or summoning monsters to overcome local skepticism.
  • Test the Faith: seeing which god the locals turn to when their faith is tested and building a temple if you have the most followers remaining in that settlement..

The game is suspenseful. You are always on the edge of your seat waiting to see if your plans will reach fruition or be dashed by your rival gods.  May the best man, er god, win!

Ease of entry?:
★★★★☆ – The odd bump or two
Would I play it again?:
★★★★☆ – Would like to play it again

Read more articles from David Wood

Trekking Through History – Bob Pazehoski, Jr.

Trekking Through History made a decent splash in 2022 as a stunning and approachable game with more than a handful of interesting decisions. The idea is clean: draw beautiful cards from a market depicting historical events, add them to a run in ascending chronological order, and collect resources along the way to unlock points and bonuses. The rules make perfect sense fifteen seconds after you see it on the table. The fun mechanical reversal is that rather than paying for cards, players simply take them, accumulating resources from having visited the prominent moment. Every turn is pure profit, but must be handled shrewdly in order to keep the trek in order, accomplish resource goals, and prepare for future efficiencies. It’s lovely.

Our four-player game, however, revealed perhaps its only weakness. Because the market is ever-changing, and because there is an interest in maximizing every choice, Trekking Through History is the sort of game that enables players to get up, grab a snack, heck, read a book in between turns. The only gain from sitting and watching it all unfold is heartache as preferred cards disappear. If I’m to think on my feet the whole time anyway, why not get up on my feet between turns and see what’s happening in the kitchen? I hear the two-player affair is more swift, free, attentive, and rather brilliant. I believe it and I hope I get to try it. But I’m not sure I’d rush it to the table for a larger group unless you need a game to serve as a background activity for conversation, either about the events in the game or the happenings of the week.

Watch our video review of Trekking Through History.

Ease of entry?:
★★★★★ – No sweat
Would I play it again?:
★★★☆☆ – Wouldn’t suggest it (with four), but would happily play it (with two)

Read more articles from Bob Pazehoski, Jr.

Disney WordARound – Justin Bell

Playing games with children? Priceless, no matter how good the game ends up being. Quality time with my kids is something I’ll treasure forever.

That said, our first experience with Disney WordARound—and yes, WordARound is listed as a single word on the BGG listing—was a little bumpy. It was bumpy because I won my first game with my daughter ten-to-nothing. The concept here is simple: flip a card, and based on the color from the previous round card’s answer side, decipher the word in the active color ring.

The “decipher” part is where Disney WordARound becomes tricky. All of the words are Disney themed, so you pick the movie and there’s definitely a card or two in there with words from the film. But the letters in each word are printed in a circle, and something they read clockwise, other times counterclockwise. I picked up on this quickly, so sometimes, I was getting words super fast, while my daughter wasn’t able to see the words quite like I could. “This is a good game for only kids, or only adults,” she said. I tend to agree. Interesting, but it would be more competitive with similarly-aged audiences.

Ease of entry?:
★★★★★ – No sweat
Would I play it again?:
★★★☆☆ – Wouldn’t suggest it, but would happily play it

Read more articles from Justin Bell.

Pyramido – Tom Franklin

Pyramido is a tile-laying game with a crunchy, stacking twist. Players choose 1:2 tiles from one of three stacks of face-up tiles from which to construct their 4:5 base. Tiles either feature two different colors, one per square, or a single color. Some, but not all, will feature symbols. When you place a tile with a symbol, you place your matching scoring token on that symbol. Orthogonally connecting squares of the same color will score you points.

With the second, third, and fourth rounds, you’ll place your tiles on top of the previous round’s level, with each level shrinking in size by one on each side (3:4, 2:3, etc.). The outermost ring of symbols will can still be scored, provided you can connect them with new tiles. A very clever game that I’m looking forward to playing again.

Ease of entry?:
★★★★☆ – The odd bump or two
Would I play it again?:
★★★★★ – Will definitely play it again

Read more articles from Tom Franklin.

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About the author

Dave Wood

Retired Air Force officer, I'm an analyst with a small defense company. I've been a wargamer since I was teen and am a member of both the Boardgame Players Association and the Queen City Game Club in Charlotte NC.

About the author

Bob Pazehoski, Jr.

On any given day, I am a husband and father of five. I read obsessively and, occasionally, I write stories of varying length, quality, and metrical structure. As often as possible, I enjoy sitting down to the table for a game with friends and family. I'm happy to trumpet Everdell, in all its charm and glory, as the insurmountable favorite of my collection.

About the author

Justin Bell

Love my family, love games, love food, love naps. If you're in Chicago, let's meet up and roll some dice!

About the author

Tom Franklin

By day, I'm a mild-mannered IT Manager with a slight attitude. By night I play guitar & celtic bouzouki, board games, and watch British TV. I love abstracts, co-ops, worker placement and tile-laying games. Basically, any deep game with lots of interesting choices. 

You can find my middle grade book, The Pterrible Pteranodon, at your favorite online bookstore.

And despite being a DM, I have an inherent dislike of six-sided dice.

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