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Athens: The Birth of Politics

Politics and negotiation in Ancient Athens!




Struggle with Persians, Spartans and your own people on the way to a great empire! You can even change the form of government, changing the rules of the game!

Athens: The Birth of Politics reflects the most glorious, critical century in the life of ancient Athens, from the birth of Democracy to the titanic struggle with Sparta. Players cooperate and compete to manage its fortunes, especially its politics, wars and government.

In this game you must constantly balance personal advancement against the security of the state. Trade and fight to build up the empire. Vie for power in the Assembly and on the battlefield. But to grow in size and power only attracts the unwelcome attention of rivals, not just your opponents, but also foreign powers like Persia, Syracuse, Thebes and most deadly of all, Sparta.

Don't like your government type? Change it!

In a unique feature the game reflects the ancient Greek theory of Anacyclosis – the cycles of government – and includes Democracy, Oligarchy and Tyranny. Players can strive to change these forms, for their own advantage, and thereby alter the very rules of the game.

When the government type changes, those on the top and bottom tend to change places. Can you see the change coming? How do you prepare for it? Or will you be the one actually triggering it? Once the change happens, how do you cope? All make for interesting challenges.

Class Warfare in Ancient Times

Each player represents a specific class – Aristocrats, Merchants or Farmers – with its own Statesmen, (dis)advantages and goals. Which will you play?

  • Aristocrats have the most Statesmen, several of them generals with great ability, but face declining revenues and so may conspire to subvert Democracy and set up an Oligarchy.
  • Merchants have the best revenue potential and benefit from Democracy, but talented Statesmen are rarer.
  • Farmers have good potential revenue, though often endangered by war, but have some of the best Orators, including Pericles and Themistocles.

Often there is another player of your class with whom you can ally, but at times you will come into conflict with them as well and find yourself allying with other classes. Consequently no class has an unbalancing advantage.

This is a The Republic of Rome-style game with a number of changes to reflect the situation, including:

  • Markedly different Persuasion rules
  • Five possible Military leaders per turn
  • Hidden Popularity
  • Ostracism
  • Ageing Statesmen
  • Act of Zeus cards
  • Wars and Enemy Leaders to suit the period
  • Laws that change the voting rules
  • Card drafting
  • Coups
  • Democratic Resistance to Oligarchy
  • Restrictions on Income redistribution

But in the final analysis the only real question is, are you smart and savvy enough to survive and thrive where Pericles and Athens could not?

For pictures and other components see below. Also includes, in addition to the rules booklet, a separate setup and terminology guide.


Recent Updates (all included):

10 April 2019:

  • Forced to change to larger box type because the other type went obsolete. Reduced player aide mat from 10x10" to 8x8" to fit into this narrower box.

4 January 2019:

  • Karneia event only occurs on a roll of 1-3.

29 December 2018:

  • Added more details to the Player Aide Mat.
  • Make 25 Talent coin more legible.
  • Make clearer the note on Thetes cards.

4 December 2018

  • Rules update for clarity.


Published November 4, 2018.

What This Is:

This is not a mass-produced game, but printed-on-demand . We have uploaded the artwork, rules and specifications, but The Game Crafter makes it only when you order it. Learn more.


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Average Rating 1 reviews
Publish Date November 04, 2018
Edition First
Department Games
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More Info Athens: The Birth of Politics web site

Why buy this?

Reminds me a little bit of Junta ... I like that!

  • War, politics, negotiation, coups and rebellion
  • The need to cooperate to save the nation and yet compete
  • Historical accuracy and immersive detail


  • 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.


See It In Action

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Ratings and Reviews

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Own It Played It Fun Priced Well High Replay Value Well Written Rules Nice Artwork


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