Fertility is a very straightforward and charming game about placing domino style tiles on common board to obtain resources (Alabaster, Bovines, Papyrus flowers and Grapes), that you then spend to develop your own personal board with district tiles. Resources gained don’t carry over to the next round, so you have to have the right empty spots on your district titles to be able to store them.
What is Fertility like?
On your turn there are 3 simple steps:
- Mandatory: Place a domino tile (Valley tile) and collect resources.
- Optional: Build a District tile on your Metropolis (personal player board).
- Optional: Supply Shops (on your District tiles) in your Metropolis (personal player board).
The first thing you do is pick 1 of the 3 domino tiles in front of you and place it on the shared common board. At least one of the resources has to match another resource already on the board. You’ll get resources based on how many adjacent resources matched the tile you placed, so matching more will give you more resources. Placing the domino next to wheat fields will increase your wheat holding, the more wheat you have at the end of the game, the more points you’ll score!
You now have the option of buying one of the district tiles on display. They’ll cost you 1-3 of the resources you just acquired. Why do you want to buy these? Well it’s simple, they will help you score points if you fill them up with the right resources. You have room to buy a total of 7 in the game. How these districts score you points is different.. Some are simple like putting t an Alabaster and a Grape here and score 5 points. Some will give you God statues, these are worth points based on the number of different ones you have at the end of the game. Others will score points based on how many resources you have placed of a certain type on your player board.
The last thing you do on your turn is to supply your shops (that are on the district tiles) with any resources you have left. You can’t store any resources for future rounds, so if you don’t have a spot for them on your player board they are lost.
Overall I had a great time playing Fertility. It’s a fun and interactive domino placement and resource management game. It’s easy to learn and plays pretty fast.
You spend your turns placing titles, gathering resources and spending them. It sounds a little too simple right? But I don’t think it is. There is a lot of interacting going on on the main board. At the start of the game just want as many resources as possible, but as you acquire district tiles for your player board, certain resources will be worth a lot more to you, than others. Also you quickly realise that placing your dominos in certain spots might give the next player a very good move (and we can’t have that can we?). Balancing how many districts to buy is also a fun puzzle. I like that there are multiple ways to score points, with the shops, wheat storage and God statue collections.
Collecting wheat seems to be a very straightforward way to score a lot of points and it is very powerful. So if you let someone get away with getting all the wheat they are in a good position to win the game.
There is also monument building, that can be very powerful if you manage to surround and empty field when placing a domino title. If you have the most (or second most) of these placed at the end of the game you get a very nice chunk of extra points.
The only real minor letdowns of the game are the tiny resource tokens and the iconography that could also be better (specifically the God statues symbols that look very similar). This can make it hard to track what your opponents are going for in their districts.
- Simple rules
- Works well with all player counts
- Multiple paths to victory
- Great artwork and colours
- Resources tokens and the domino tiles are a little too small
- The God statue symbols are very similar
- The theme of the game could be pretty much anything
Fertility is an easy game to pick-up and teach. But it does offer a little depth and strategy too.
- Players: 2 – 4
- Playing time: 25 – 45 minutes
- Suggested age: 10+
A review copy of this game was supplied by Blackrock Games