Gaïa - A Game Where You Are God!
Gaïa has recently become one of my favorite games. It feels like a resource game, but the resources are different land tiles. As a player you work to build and control different territories by placing cities. Each player starts with 5 meeples which will count as your victory points. You are trying to place all your meeples first to win. You have the choice to play the basic rules or advanced. Personally, the advanced are more entertaining thanks to adding godly powers like lightning, volcanoes, rain, sun, earthquakes, etc. These powers change the landscapes, destroy cities, steal cards and remove meeples from the board. I enjoyed playing with the godly powers because it allowed my friends and I to destroy each other’s cities rather than see who was lucky enough to get the right cards to make their city first. They added an extra element of strategy. If you’re not someone who likes multiple set backs in a game, play with the basic rules because the advance may frustrate or annoy you.
In the advanced rules each player starts with:
1 power card
1 life card – contains city and animal cards
2 nature cards – contains different land cards like deserts, plains, swamps, seas, mountains and forests
Once everyone is set up you draw a card and play a card each turn. If you play a land card you place it face up in front of you and place the corresponding land tile on the table. These land tiles will create your world. To place a city, you need two pieces of information from the card. The upper left corner has a symbol of one of the landscapes or a rainbow star. This shows where you can build your city. If it’s the rainbow star you can build your city on any tile. You also need to check the four symbols on the bottom of the card. You need at least two of these landscapes touching the tile you wish to build your city on. The tiles need to be horizontal and vertical, not diagonal! As for the animal cards make sure to check the left-hand corner to see where to place your animals to feed certain cities.
When you build or add land needed to cities you add meeples to show you claimed that territory. You can also finish objectives first and place your meeple on them. Objects could be playing a godly power 4 times or placing every kind of land tile. I found that this is a good way to get points because godly powers can’t take those points away, but they can mess with cities. With every meeple placed you get closer to winning.
When it comes to games, I’m a fan of tiles. If your game has them, I’m now twice as interested in seeing how it plays. Gaïa caught my attention immediately with its box cover art, tiles and name. My friend Ryan and I both ended up purchasing it at PAX: Unplugged last year after playing it. The rule book was translated into English so there may be a bit of confusion but over all Gaïa is an easy game to learn. The more I play the game, the more I love it. It is well balanced, so anyone can win. If you find this game in the United States give it a try! You won’t regret it.