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For this we delegate a partisan who brings it to the temple but we will not see him back as after the offering he is so dedicated to the Holy Lord that for the rest of the game he is devoted to bible study and prayers: the token is removed from gameplay - but can reenter by means of population growth. The manna scale is adjusted and the whole cycle of carrying stones and earning manna for the next offering starts all over again.
Resources are limited; each time a woods or stone tile is discovered and placed, just as many of that resource is put on the tile as there are participating players in the game. Everyone will pay itself with full dispossession on digging these raw materials, until they are exhausted and there is need for stone or wood from new tiles. A player will discover new tiles where he can reach it more easily than his rivals, placing the occasional vulcano (a bit) in their (future) way.
Erecting a holy place takes a stone and the presence of two partisans. Such a holy place grows the amount of manna on your scale by one when you have at least one partisan on this tile at the end of a turn. Attending mass at the holy place of your neighbour requires two partisans instead.
The card taking action gives extra possibilities: additional movement points, double population growth (it’s a twin!), a teleport, insight in the to be discovered land, and so on.

Because we do not have enough man power to fast and efficiently process all current tasks, we may decide to let two partisans have unprotected sex, which, yes they are a fertile tribe, gives instant birth to a new partisan, who in next turn will aid in the household and perform all adult tasks like carrying stones or chopping wood - from car wash, considering the state of civilization, he is temporarily exempted.

The huts that must be built are not only important for population growth but more important supply the offering coins that we choose one from and place it underneath a new built hut. So, we have to build four huts in order to bring all four offerings into play.

This way we wander from left to right through an expanding landscape, occasionaly picking up a wood or stealing a stone, all for the good cause, until a player has delivered the last of four offerings to the temple.

Mesopotamia is no variant of 'Settlers', no 'Tikal', no 'Neuland' and no 'Roads & Boats', but it has much resemblance with all named. It may not be a very original game, but it plays very well, looks nice, and has almost no down time as opposed to Tikal where players have to think somewhat longer than desirable; nothing of the kind here, it all works very smoothly in this game.
All players can see how many offerings and of what kind have been done, so the last offering of a player will give some insight of who might win. Just might! A player also can play one or more cards during his turn, thereby bring his last offering and claim victory just before the expected winner. Although the cards sometimes make for an unbalanced game it is understandable why they are incorporated in the game; otherwise the game would be too predictable and calculable.
Anyhow, ‘Mesopotamia’ is a very accessible game with a playing time of under an hour. With this game, Phalanx seems to have departed from the heavier games track, but they still manage to bring an appealing game onto the market.
As for the divine body on the box cover: do I see it right in that the six pack is no longer current in the sempiternal vogue, but instead we have to pursue a ten pack? Oh my god!

© 2005 Richard van Vugt

Mesopotamia, Klaus-Jürgen Wrede, Phalanx Games, 2005 - 2 to 4 players