Ethnos is an area control / card drafting game in which players take control of giants, merfolk, halflings, minotaurs and other fantasy tribes. Collect glory, as your armies gain control of areas in the land of Ethnos, most glory at the end is the winner.
Start the game with one card featuring a tribe type and region. On your turn you can recruit new allies, or place a band in a region, that’s it! Super simple and thus is the draw of Ethnos. You recruit cards, make sets (of either races or regions) and go forth to conquer the regions. Each race has its own special ability, play smart to ensure you have more allies in a region than your opponents, though cleverly that’s not the only way to score. You will also score based on the sizes of the bands you send forth (the number of cards played in a set / band). The more in a band, the more points you’ll score.
Ethnos is a simple game, but it’s a clever in that it switches up each game with random sets of races during setup. This means each game should differ slightly. Ethnos is a great game for all gamers, but particularly for introducing new gamers to this style of game. Heavier gamers will enjoy it, but longevity might be questionable.
It took me ages to get on the Ethnos train, because I just wasn’t feeling that ugly board and overall art style (I admit it, I’m a shallow gamer at times). As I stated on Twitter this week, Ethnos is “ like the girl you should have gone for rather than the vapid supermodel. Doesn’t look great, but is smart, fun and full of depth”. I stand by that statement. Ethnos is a keeper for me, one I’ll enjoy playing for years to come. Maybe you will too. Just look past the board aesthetics.