At the Gates of Loyang Board game manufacturer: Z-Man Games Number of players: 1-4 Ages: 12yrs+ Time: 120 mins
At the Gates of Loyang is a colorful farming game that is a bit of a logic puzzle, but it’s not too “thinky”. You’ll enjoy calculating your next best moves, planning how to cash in on your veggies so you can walk the (stone) path toward victory.
The game and gameplay
Uwe Rosenberg has created three fun board games which have been dubbed the “Harvest Trilogy”. Those games are Le Havre, Agricola game and At the Gates of Loyang. They each have an element involving harvesting grain or other foodstuffs – thus the nickname.At the Gates of Loyang is not as complex or as long as Agricola or Le Havre. It is the earliest game of the three, and you can see how the other two built on some of the ideas found in this game.
At the Gates of Loyang has one of the more unusually-shaped player boards you’ll ever see. It’s roughly T-shaped and doubles as scoring track and veggie shop. Your goal, of course, is to move further up the scoring track than your opponents. To do so, you need to earn cash, which is represented by coins with square holes in their centers.
You spend cash each turn to move up the track. Moving one space only costs 1 coin, but moving to the next space (in the same turn) costs the value of that space. Mathematically speaking, it’s actually worth it to spend your cash to move as far as possible. Games are often very close at the end with ties being broken by cash in hand.
You earn cash by satisfying customers – regular and casual – who visit your shop. Each time you give them the colorful veggies – wheat, pumpkins, turnips, cabbages, beans, or leeks – they require, they will pay you in cash. You get the veggies to sell to them from your shop, from your fields (harvesting them), and from additional market stalls you acquire.
But you don’t have to do this alone! You can employ helpers, who have special abilities and who can allow you to interact with your opponents.
Pros and cons
There are many cards in this game, which adds to the variety from game to game.
Unfortunately, the cards are a little thin, and since you’ll handle them a lot they will get dirty quickly. You can put the cards in sleeves, but they are too small for standard sports card sleeves. That said, they do work okay in such sleeves.