Ridere, ludere, hoc est vivere.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Undiscovered Carthage?

(c) Z-man.  Used by permission
Last Friday, I wrote about the underappreciated game Alexandros.  I remarked that I never run across any mention of it in blogs, podcasts, or anywhere else outside its boardgamegeek entry.  This evening, Kathy and I played another game only slightly more recognizable, Traders of Carthage (designer Susumu Kawasaki, artists Peter Gifford and You Satouchi, publisher Z-man).  The whole time we were playing, I kept remarking on the tight, agonizing decisions, turn by turn.  Nothing is obvious in this game; every choice has two sides - risk and opportunity, benefit and consequence.  I wondered whether ToC, like Alexandros, might qualify as a little-known gem that deserves more recognition.

Like Alexandros, it was my friend Grant Greffey who introduced me to ToC.  On boardgamegeek, at this writing, the 2006 release ToC is rated 6.86 by 1427 raters and ranks at 605 among boardgames - about twice as many raters as Alexandros and considerable higher in the rankings.  That puts it in the company of the more recently (2010) released but perhaps just as obscure Isla Dorada and the better known but much older (1986) Are You a Werewolf?  

Beer, wine, and Traders of Carthage
I actually met one other person who had heard of ToC; when I bought it at the Congress of Gamers bring-and-buy, the volunteer at the desk recognized it and mentioned how hard the game is to find.  That comment suggests that the game has a following; I'm curious to know what kind of a print run it got from Z-man and how well it did when it came out.  The boardgamegeek marketplace shows (at this writing) copies available for $45 to $110.  Another is on eBay for $60, and the amazon.com ad has it for $130.  So clearly there is a market and therefore, presumably, reason to believe that the game is known and sought after among gamers.  Alexandros, by contrast, is available at prices ranging from four Euros on boardgamegeek marketplace to $22 on eBay, a market suggesting that there are more sellers than buyers.


  1. I have so wanted this game for a long time, but, will not pay that much for it!

  2. Agreed, Jason. I was very lucky to find it used for a reasonable price at the CoG flea market.