Episode 187: Alma Mater

Click here for the direct download link for this week’s episode

1) The Pegs discuss their recent game plays including Gods Love Dinosaurs, Honey Buzz, Shores of Tripoli and many more;

2) All the Pegs review Alma Mater; and

3) Look back at Maracaibo.

Join in the conversation for this episode over at our Board Game Geek guild.

Thank you to our sponsors: Queen Games, Grand Gamers Guild, and AEG!

Show Notes

00:01:08 – Trivia

Banter

00:05:17 – Secret Santa

00:07:16 – Welcome to our new sponsor, AEG

00:08:01 – Blue Skies correction and find it on Boardgamearena.com

Plays

00:12:06Honey Buzz * – Elf Creek Games; Designer: Paul Salomon; Art: Anne Heidsieck, Jason D. Kingsley;

00:23:36Shores of Tripoli * – Fort Circle Games; Designer: Kevin Bertram; Art: Cat Bock, Marc Rodrigue, Matthew Wallhead;

00:34:37 – And now a word from our sponsor, Queen Games

00:39:25God Loves Dinosaurs * – Pandasaurus Games; Designer: Kasper Lapp; Art: Stevo Torres;

00:45:19Marry the Monster * – Petersen Games; Designer: Zoran Dobrijevic, Arthur Petersen; Art: Brian Patterson;

News

00:54:00 – Legacy Lounge: Pirate Legends and Legacy Tales: Barataria

01:00:25Slay the Spire: The Board Game

01:05:09 – Reload Kickstarter

01:11:17Wingspan Book

01:12:40Jojo’s Juice

01:15:35A Very White Mahjong Board

01:20:19 – A word from our sponsor, Grand Gamers Guild

REVIEW: Alma Mater

01:21:14 – Rules Breakdown

Alma Mater is a 2-4 player worker placement game designed by  Acchittocca, Flaminia Brasini, Virginio Gigli, Stefano Luperto, and Antonio Tinto, with art by Chris Quilliams and released in 2020 by eggertspiele.  In Alma Mater, players take on the role of the headmaster of a university, recruiting students, professors and chancellors to improve their university’s reputations and become the most prestigious institution in the land.

At the start of the game, players will choose a player color and go through a process to select their starting Chancellor, which will grant them a unique, ongoing ability during the game.  More than just a way to identify who’s who, a player’s color also corresponds to the color of the main resource in the game – books.  There are five colors of Book resources in the game, one color for each player as well as a fifth, yellow book – the Dictionary.  Without getting too much in the weeds here, suffice it to say that obtaining, managing, and spending books is a fundamental element of the game, with players using combinations of action spaces as well as a personal market to both collect books of other players’ colors, and make books of their own color available to other players.

Setup also involved a number of randomly chosen elements, as the available Professors and Chancellors, the arrangement of available Student tiles, and the organization and advancement of the Research track, are all determined by random card draws.

On a player’s turn, they will place one of their Master workers on one of three main areas of the board.  In most cases, taking an action will require the expenditure of some combination of money and/or books.

In the first area, players will recruit students from one of the four disciplines: Art, Law, Medicine, and Mathematics.  When recruited, Student tiles will be placed on the player’s personal board.  Students grants a range of abilities, in general providing an instant benefit – such as books, coins, or advancement on the Research track – and an ongoing benefit, such as a discount on future actions, an additional action space, or income.  The precise cost for students varies from turn to turn, as the Book cost to recruit them will be determined by each player’s position on the Research track the previous turn.  Players who are higher on the track will assure their personal Books are more likely to be a required part of the cost.

In the second area, players will recruit Professors.  The first time a Professor is recruited, the player who obtains it will spend coins as well a certain number and distribution of books as indicated on the action space, though they will choose the exact colors for that distribution; thereafter, the specific color of books they spent become the required cost for all future recruitments of that professor, but there is no longer a monetary cost.  In this way, the first player to recruit a professor may establish that future purchases will require a book of their player color.  Once purchases, Professors provide an instant benefit, and thereafter players may spend a book and their turn to activate the Professor and taking the action again, exhausting the card until their next turn.

In the third area, players may take a number of general actions, including buying books from the supply, gaining coins, and buying books from other players’ personal markets.  Actions taken in this area may also change player order for the next round.

Over the course of play, players may also interact with two other areas: first, as they reach certain benchmarks – called Glory, determined by tiles that are also randomly drawn at the start of the game – they may claim one of the three available Chancellors.  Chancellors grant ongoing powerful abilities for the remainder of the game.  Multiple players may access the same Chancellor if they have reached the same Glory benchmark.

Finally, a number of actions will allow players to advance up the Research track.  In addition to requiring an action or game affect to move up the ladder, each step on the ladder has a prerequisite.  The prerequisite could be anything from paying a certain number of books or coins, to having a certain number and type of professors, to being forced to put a number of your workers to sleep, making them unavailable for the rest of the round.  This is just a small sample of the kinds of costs that might be paid, and certain actions will allow a player to advance up the track without paying said cost.  Not only does position on the track affect end game scoring, each round the Book Reputation track will adjust to reflect each player’s position on the track.  Players lower on the track will receive income, while players higher on the track will position their books to be required costs for any number of actions in the game.

After all players have taken all possible actions, the round ends with an income phase, a check to see if players are holding more Books than their storage allows, the adjustment of the book track and, if applicable, changing player order.

At the end of the sixth round the game is over and final scores are tallied.  Scores will be a combination of points gained over the course of the game, the point value of professors, students on the player’s board, position on the research track, position on the book reputation track, and end-game points granted by students.  The player with the most points, wins.

01:25:58 – Review

01:55:44 – Ratings

02:06:05 – And now a word from our sponsor, AEG.

ReRoll

02:07:03MaracaiboCapstone Games; Designer: Alexander Pfister; Art: Fiore GmbH, Aline Kirrmann;

Check out our original review for Maracaibo during Episode 162.

02:13:24 – 2021 Resolutions, Predictions, and Crazy Predictions

Gameplay Photos

* Disclosure: These titles were received free of charge by the publishers or distributors. If you are interested in submitting a title for review, please read our Review Policy.

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