You are the leader of an ancient civilization, just beginning to establish itself on the continent. A wide world lies around you, filled with verdant forests, putrid swamps, towering mountains, and azure oceans, all with resources ripe for the taking. Using these resources, you must raise your civilization, constructing buildings and marshaling armies to overwhelm the barbarian villages around you. Of course, you must never forget whence your power comes, and by making your offerings to the gods, you can obtain what the physical world cannot give you.
Deus is a game of civilization building for two to four players. Each of you commands a small collection of peoples with great ambitions, and you must guide your culture to greatness. You will construct ships, buildings of science, granaries, temples, and massive armies, and by using these buildings, you can gather the victory points you need to win the game. As you build, you’ll form a larger tableau, which in turn allows your civilization to become more powerful with every passing year. Lead your people to greatness in Deus!
The Building Blocks of Culture
On every turn in Deus, you are faced with a simple choice: either construct a new building for your civilization or make an offering to the gods. You may only perform one of these actions each turn, so you’ll need to make the most of every action.
If you choose to construct a new building, you select one of the building cards in your hand, pay the resource or gold cost, and place it above your player board in the appropriate column. You may then place the building on the board, in a region you already control or an unoccupied region adjacent to one of your regions. Placing these buildings on the board is crucial for gaining control of regions, gathering resources, and scoring victory points, as we’ll explore below.
After placing a building, you have the chance to trigger the effect on the card you just placed in your tableau. There are six different types of buildings that you can use to expand your empire, and each of them offers different effects:
- Ships and other maritime buildings commonly allow you to engage in trade, selling resources for gold or victory points.
- Production buildings produce the four resources that you’ll need for building and trade: clay, stone, wheat, and wood.
- Scientific buildings allow you to pay less heed to the gods, allowing you to draw more cards and gain more buildings without making offerings.
- Civil buildings immediately grant you victory points based on how developed your civilization is.
- Military buildings allow you to steal gold or victory points from your opponents. In addition, you’ll need military buildings to attack barbarian villages.
- Temples offer broad victory point bonuses that can greatly increase your score at the end of the game.
As you construct more buildings, they’ll be added to your tableau, expanding your columns upwards. Importantly, whenever you play a new building in a column, you can also trigger the effect of every card below the card that you just played! For instance, if you have a Stonecutters’ Guild and a Forum in the civil building column, you’ll be able to trigger both of their abilities when you play a Trading Post card into that column. In this way, your civilization’s power increases as the game goes on, until playing even the smallest building can trigger a train of powerful effects.
Make Your Offering
The other possible action that you can choose on your turn is to make an offering to the gods, invoking their favor and granting you powerful effects. To make an offering to the gods, you discard any number of cards from your hand. Whichever card is on top of the discarded pile determines which god you invoke and what benefits you gain. After you’ve made your offering and claimed the effects, you’ll refill your hand by drawing back up to five cards.
- If you make an offering to Neptune, you gain two gold per discarded card.
- If you invoke the favor of Ceres, you can gain one resource of your choice per discarded card.
- Making an offering to Minerva allows you to draw back up to five cards, then draw an additional card for each card you discarded.
- When making an offering to Vesta, if you discarded one card, you gain one victory point. If you discarded any more than one, you gain two victory points.
- The favor of Mars allows you to claim one new building per card discarded.
- Finally, if you ask for help from Jupiter, you can trigger any of the effects offered by the other five gods.
Making an offering has additional benefits beyond the favor of the gods. First, you have the chance to cycle through your hand more quickly, discarding cards you don’t need and easily refilling your hand. In contrast, constructing a single building only allows you to draw one new card at the end of your turn.
In addition, making an offering to the gods commonly allows you to add a building from your reserve to your player board. Only building on your player board are available to be constructed, so you’ll need to bring more wooden buildings onto your board during the game if you want to continue your empire’s expansion.
The Spread of Enlightenment
A game of Deus can end if all of the temples from the supply have been constructed, but it also ends if all of the barbarian villages have been conquered. At the beginning of the game, there are a number of barbarian villages scattered across the continent, and each of these has a number of victory points on it. No player can build in a barbarian village, but if the village is entirely surrounded by buildings, the player with the most adjacent armies immediately conquers the village and claims the victory points.
When the game ends, players tally the victory points they’ve earned over the course of the game and the points they earn from their temples. Finally, the players who have the most of each type of resource receive two bonus victory points—then, the player with the most points wins the game.
Rise to Greatness
In Deus, the choice of how to build your culture is entirely yours. You may become a militaristic society, brutally oppressing your opponents and attacking the barbarian villages. You may focus on trade, producing vast amounts of resources and selling them for a profit. You may even follow the path of science and abandon the gods forever. Construct the greatest civilization of ancient times!
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