“Gotta tell you, [it] really hits the "sweet spot" for me: an historical theme expressed through (as opposed to – German-style – arbitrarily dropped on top of) very tightly crafted game mechanics.”


In Ancient times explore, discover, settle, grow and fight

In this board game 2-5 ancient colonizers, pilot your ship to an unknown Mediterranean shore and establish colonies in fortuitous locations. Some decisions you will face:

  • Establish a colony as soon as possible or pursue the ideal location?
  • Establish close to others to enhance trade, or remain safe and remote?
  • Re-invest to grow your colonies or pursue those of others?
  • Send your ship home or use it in the new waters?
  • Create more colonies or thrive safely behind strong walls?
  • Negotiate the path between speedy growth and the disruption it causes?

In ancient times nearly every vacant Mediterranean coastline was colonized by one group of Greeks or another. In the game you may play the

  • tyrannical Corinthians
  • belligerent Spartans
  • Euboean explorers
  • thrifty Phocaeans, founders of ancient Marseilles and famed as the best seafarers of all the Greeks.
  • Phoenicians, whose seafaring and trading abilities are still legend to this day

The setup is always different and each side has a unique powers, making for a novel and refreshing experience every time.


9/18/2017 Fleet counters replaced with wooden ship tokens! See examples here: Cargo Received

8/30/2017 Rename to Ancient Colonies (from Poleis). Add ice cubes as part of the package instead of sold separately. Replace box with a plastic ziploc to lower cost.

12/7/2016 Since the filming of the videos below, a number of improvements have gone into the game, basically addressing all of the issues that have been raised. For more information please see the list of improvements.

The First War Links

If you like games of civilization, check also The First War, the game of discovering a new world, building up your technology and conquest.

Video Introduction:

Video Review:

Video playthrough, part 1/2:

Video playthrough, part 2/2:


NOTE: This game does not come with packaging.
NOTE: This game contains laser cut components. Laser cut items will have a slight amount of soot around the edges, which can easily be wiped off; and will have a campfire smell for about a week after you open them.



Action Shots



Cool Factors

  • A discovered, modular board that is different every time
  • Variable powers and a large card deck
  • No board means it's easy to take along.


DesignerUp & Away Games
Average Rating (2)
Publish DateNovember 22, 2016
EditionEdition I
DepartmentBoard Games
ThemeEmpire Building
AudienceHardcore Gamer
Primary MechanicStrategy
If You LikeSettlers of Catan
More InfoANCIENT COLONIES web site

Reviews and Ratings