As merchants gather at the city gates to trade goods, a new form of payment has been born in the kingdom of Lydia. The worlds first coins came from this region and they are the key to purchasing the most valuable properties in the kingdom. Lions of Lydia is a bag management, engine-building game from Bellwether Games. Let’s learn a little more about how this game works.
Each player is given a bag with a blue, red, yellow and green meeple. These match the 4 gates on the edges of the kingdom of Lydia. Throughout the game, players will use the meeples in their bag to trade resources and purchase properties. Visiting a city gate will give you resources based on the meeples and the bonuses on your property cards.
Player boards in Lions of Lydia keep track of your resources as you go. Wooden resource markers slide along the track as you accumulate these resources and eventually gain influence. When a resource maxes out at 6, players gain influence or they can choose to develop a property for free.
The influence tracker at the bottom of the player board allows you to purchase more properties and eventually awards end game points at the higher end of the track.
The Center of Commerce
The fountain sits in the middle of the kingdom and is where properties are purchased and developed. Placing a meeple at the fountain gives you the opportunity to purchase the properties surrounding the board. Most properties can be purchased with common resources while other will require the new coin-based currency. Developing your properties will double their value and give you even better bonuses.
No matter where you place your meeple, you will always pull a meeple from the fountain to refill your bag to 4 at the end of your turn.
Follow the Money
The Lydian Merchants are the holders of this new coin-based currency. These gold colored meeples will appear around the city and can trade resources for coins at the city gates. These coins are used as wild resources during the game and converts to victory points for the person who triggers the end of the game.
Lydian Merchants can be picked up from the fountain and used in your bag to have more control on gaining money on future turns. This mechanic works really well. Just remember that these coins are worthless to all but one player at the end of the game.
Lions of Lydia has a really nice tension to it. While you focus on gaining resources, another player may be pouring their resources into gaining premium properties. Properties will give you bonuses like additional resources at specific gates or special end game scoring criteria.
Players are building and developing properties that will lead to greater resource production which ultimately makes you feel like a boss. Since points can be gained through the Influence track and property cards, I always felt like I had options.
Lions of Lydia will fall on the lighter side of difficulty but playing against efficient players really ramps things up. As we got the game to the table more often, we found quicker ways to get the properties we needed. The game was really well thought out and after one play things start to click.
Bellwether Games has put out some excellent games over the past couple years (Freshwater Fly, Mars Open, Coldwater Crown) and Lions of Lydia just adds to the streak. This game blends bag management with a smooth economic mechanic that is a treat to teach both new and seasoned gamers.
If Lions of Lydia sounds like a game you would enjoy, head over to the Kickstarter project before it ends on April 9, 2020.
We were provided with a prototype copy of Lions of Lydia before their Kickstarter campaign. This in no way influenced our opinion of the game. Previews are a glimpse into an upcoming game with the pros and cons that we experienced prior to production of the game.