Sunday, 14 June 2015

007. The Cardboard Cartographer issue 7.

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Welcome to issue 7 of The Cardboard Cartographer.

Editorial.

In this issue of The Cardboard Cartographer we'll be reviewing 'Imperial Settlers'.
But first I'd like to thank you for visiting our website!

Each issue we hope to post some news, a game review and talk about topics relevant to table top games, such as mechanics, conventions, Kickstarter and so on.

I'd also like to mention that all opinions in this issue, and all subsequent issues, are those of their respective authors.
Please don't feel like they are a personal attack or an attempt to undermine or void the opinions of others.
Feel free to agree, disagree, debate and discuss, or simply ignore any or all that is written here.
Whatever you do, be civil. Thank you.

If you have any suggestions feel free to comment, email us, or hit us up @TCBCartographer on twitter.

News.

UK Games Expo 2015.

On Friday 29th of May, the UK Games Expo opened its doors to the public.
The next three days saw a medley of games being played, sold, demoed and previewed.
You can check out the official website here - https://www.ukgamesexpo.co.uk

There are far too many exhibits for one person to cover, so what follows is our (@DarKHaZZl3's) account.

This was my first UK Games Expo.
I had intended to attend the previous year, but sometimes life happens.
I was quite looking forward to the event; not only because of all the games on show, but it was also a great opportunity to meet like minded people and generally have a good time.

While I felt like I didn't really cover too much, I think the best way to relate the events to you is to break the event down into each day, picking out the standout moments from each.

Friday:
Being the first day I didn't really know what to expect.
I wondered the trade halls for a while checking out what was on offer.
It wasn't long before we met up with some of the #TwitterBingo folk (if you don't remember who these people are, go check out issue 4).

Nate Bret and Ben Maddox of the Bored Game Hour podcast, Jacob Coon; a reviewer and panel member on the Whose Turn is it Anyway podcast, James Bacon; a blogger, and a couple of other people (their names have been omitted for privacy).

As the first day was predominantly exploration, though we did manage to play a game which was being launched at the UK Games Expo called Orctions.


001 -  Orctions

Orctions is a card based game designed Elliot Symonds (@Quirkative on twitter).
One half of Orctions is a worker placement driven auction and set collecting game, the second half is a dice based combat game.

The object of the first half of the game is to collect three sets of cards;the number of cards required for these sets is dependent on the types of Orcs you have.


002 - Orctions

The games worker placement and auction mechanics are interesting, in fact there was a large feeling amongst us that, with a few tweaks, the auction aspect could easily be the entirety of the game.

The second half of the game is to be the last Orc left standing.

The combat mechanic is somewhat clunky.
The main dice used for combat is the D4, with more effective fighters using more dice, or D6's.
Unlike most standard dice combat games, the combat resolution doesn't use a risk style 'like for like' mechanic where a singular dice faces off against another singular dice.
Orctions uses a highest number(s) wins ,with a defenders advantage in the case of a draw.

For example;
An attacker roles 3 D4's, with the results being 2,3,3.
The defender roles 2 D4's, with the results being 1 and 3.
In Risk each side would lose 1 dice/ life/ unit.
In Orctions, the defender has the highest number/ draws with the attackers highest number, therefore defends against all attacks.

This drags combat to a complete crawl.
There is a slight dexterity element to the dice rolling, in so far that a player can knock another players dice out of the arena, but in all honesty, it isn't something you would want to do as a defender unless you literally cannot win.

Overall a game worth checking out, because that auction part of the game is really quite interesting.


Another stand out moment of the first day was the quality of the RPG events on offer.

Ben was kind enough to offer me a ticket for one of the Call of Cthulhu RPG events.
The event was run by Ben Wilson and was a one shot adventure called The Pillar of Rohini which was being run using the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition rules.
Having never been to an RPG event of this kind, and having never played any of the previous editions of the Call of Cthulhu RPG, I had no idea what to expect.
We had a little bit of a bumpy start with some people not turning up, but after a quick trawl of the trade hall we managed to find enough players to begin.

It was a lot of fun!

The system is extremely simple to play and understand, even for new players; everything runs on D100 rolls.
Te one shot adventure was very well written and delivered.

If you are a fan of RPG's and have thought about attending in the past, I would highly recommend doing so. It is well worth the £4.00 ticket price.
Juts be prepared for a late night!


Saturday:

Saturday was less wandering about, more talking and playing games and demo's.
Thanks to Jacob, I managed to get involved with a preview of several of Portal Games new releases, which Ignacy Trzewiczek was demonstrating.

One of the games was an up and coming release called Tides of Times.


003 - Tides of Time by Portal Games

This game is a two player card game design by Kristian Curla and is being published by Portal Games.
The object of the game is get the most points over three rounds.
players do this by drafting cards with the intention of creating the best points engine for themselves, while trying to limit their opponents ability to do so.
It is quite an interesting little card game, that I was terrible at.

The next game he showed us was his new game called 'Rattle, Battle, Grad the Loot.'
As this has been mentioned on The Cardboard Cartographer before, I was really interested to see how the game would work.
Ignacy said while the title of the game might seem weird, it essentially describes exactly how the game plays, and after a quick demonstration, it is pretty much spot on.
Players grab a load of dice, throw them in the box, take turns destroying ships and the grab whatever loot they can.
Loot is used in a number of different ways; to gain points, upgrade your ship and so on.
It looks to be a fun game, but was still very much a prototype at the time.

Finally, an early play test prototype of the new expansion for last year's smash success, Imperial Settlers, was shown to us.
Atlanteans looks set to shake up the way Imperial Settlers works.


004 - Atlanteans by Portal Games

Not only does it introduce a whole new faction; with new building and mechanics to the game, but it also adds extra cards for the pre-existing factions, so as to balance out the game play.
On of the new mechanics features permanent building upgrades. These can make buildings harder to destroy, more productive and so on.
It is very interesting, and more about this game will be revealed at Portal con, before being officially released at Gen Con later this year.


The rest of the day was spent with more #TwitterBingo folk; today's casualties were Millie from Geek on Radio and Mike from Who Dares Rolls (he's the secret 19th number).
We generally chatted, and played some games and had a few drinks with Ben, Nate, Jacob, James and others from the previous day.


005 - Imperial Settlers w/ @Geekonradio & @WhoDaresRolls


Sunday:

The final day of the Expo. Many games were bought and more were played.

A group of us decided to demo Homeland: The Game, designed by Aaron Dill, John Kovaleski and Sean Sweigart and published by Gale Force Nine.

Homeland is a co-operative game with secret rolls which include a traitor and an opportunist.
The game was described to us as Battle Star Galactica meets the Resistance, which I feel is quite fitting.

While the intention was to play a short demo the game, we actually managed to finish a whole game because it isn't that long.

Each round new threats appear equal to the number of players.
Players take it in turns to secretly aid or sabotage these threats dependent on their secret role.
Each round the threats escalate until the 'drop' and have to be resolved, in addition another set of threats appear.

Gale Force Nine has become known for its thematic games.
While I don't feel this delivers the Homeland theme, it certain delivers the secret agency/ hidden enemy theme very well.

I also think the mechanics work reasonably well.

Battle Star Galactica is quite a lengthy game, and if someone doesn't understand the role of the Cylon/ Traitor,the game can be thrown one way or the other.
The Resistance on the other hand is smooth and sleek, but doesn't have the same bite and complexity that BSG has.
I think homeland is a nice middle ground, though admittedly, this is only after one play.

It certainly is more enjoyable than one of Gale Force Nine's previous games Firefly, but I don't think it beats Dead of Winter by Plaid Hat Games in the cooperative play with a secret role category.


I also got my first glimpse of Forbidden Stars, the new Warhammer 40,000 themed game by Fantasy Flight Games.
I didn't get to play it, but after seeing it in person, I really want too!


006 - Forbidden Stars

We also managed to play a quick game of Room 25, a game designed by François Rouzé and published Matagot.
This was introduced to us by the couple behind the #TwitterBingo event; Geraint and Rhyannon of @Gohalvesongames.

Room 25 is essentially a puzzle game with programmed actions that are taken one at a time, in turn order. by themselves
We played a cooperative version of the game, which was interesting, though there is a cooperative competitive version, where players help each other, but only so that they may escape at the detriment of the others, which sounds much more intriguing to me.

The final thing we got to experience was an Orction by the guys behind the previously mentioned Orctions.
The Orction was a real life auction of games that were bought for the occasion or surplus to requirements.
It was entertaining watching Elliot play the role of auctioneer, and was nice to see some people grab a bargain and fight over the rarer games.
This should totally be a n annual event!


So there you have it. I am aware that I've missed out a great deal of things.

I'd like to talk a lot more about it, but alas, I would be here for a very long time, and I simply couldn't see everything on offer by myself.

It is to this end I have enlisted the help of everyone who took part in the #TwitterBingo meet up.
Bellow are their accounts of the event; what they did, their experiences and many other bits and pieces for you to enjoy, if you so desire.

I seriously recommend checking them out;

Geraint & Rhyannon - Go Halves on Games (@Gohalvesongames on Twitter); a couple from South Wales in the UK who love board games of just about any description.
Check out their thoughts on their Facebook page 'here.'

Millie - Geek On Radio (@Geekonradio on Twitter); host of weekly podcasts, radio shows & the occasional blog of all things geeky.
Check out the UK games Expo episode on iTunes, or alternatively on the Geek On Radio website.

Jacob Coon - Whose Turn is it Anyway (@jacobjcoon on Twitter); Currently a technology missionary with @GEM_eDot and board game reviewer and panel member on the Whose Turn is it Anyway podcast.
Check out his write up of the event;
Part 1.
Part 2.

Matt Hawkes - Bored? Game! (@bored_game on Twitter); Owner of a website and shop dedicated to anyone who lives, breathes and loves to lose themselves in anything remotely to do with games.
Matt got to have a peak at the retailer summit held the day before the expo. Check out his thoughts on his web blog of the event.

Mike B - The Who Dares Rolls Podcast (@WhoDaresRolls on Twitter); Apparently, he's never bored of the board, or interviewing folk.
Who Dares Rolls have a blog on the event and well as an episode of their podcast dedicated to the event. 

Nate Bret & Ben Maddox - Bored Game Hour Podcast (@boardgamehour on Twitter); For one hour a week, it's time to talk nothing but board games. Every Monday: Start time 7pm (GMT) 12PM (PDT) 3pm (EDT).
Their podcast can be found on the Board Game Hour website, or alternatively, on iTunes.

Luke Hector - The Broken Meeple (@thebrokenmeeple on Twitter); a board game loving geek that likes to express himself! Running a blog on blogger dedicated to reviewing popular board and card games.
You can listen to his episode on the UK Games Expo on his blog.

James Bacon (@Jbsin on Twitter) - A blogger who loves American football and geek culture.
Check out his first blog post, which is on the UK Games Expo on his WordPress blog.

Paul Davis - Card and Pixel (@cardandpixel on Twitter); Paul and his associates are passionate gamers who love writing about games, and curating interesting articles about games, modelling, industry news, mechanics of gaming and philosophy of gaming as a hobby.

For the Card and Pixels UK Games Expo head over to their Tumblr blog 'here.'

That's a lot of folk, but you'll learn a lot about the event for sure.


Kickstarter.

It has been another slow month for Kickstarter.
There have been a lot of projects released, but not a great deal that stand out.
Here is this issue pick of the litter.

Sky Scrapers.
007 - Sky Scrapers Kickstarter

'The unique characteristic of Sky Scrapers is that it can be played on a board of any size and any shape. This opens up endless possibilities for a mix of real and virtual game entertainment which is the basis of the Sky Scraper Project.'

Ending on June 16th 2015, 'Sky Scrapers' by Logy Games is well short of the $50,000 funding goal, sitting at around $1,500.

Sky Scrapers is a two player abstract game based around capturing, and therefore building on top of, tiles or buildings.
The height of the building dictates its movement; 1 high moves one space, 2 moves 2 and so on.
Once a stack of tiles reaches four high it is a Sky Scraper.
The game ends when there are no more move remaining, and the player with the most Sky Scrapers at the end of the game wins.

It isn't all that often you see abstract games on Kickstarter, and this campaigns current level of support is a good indicator as to why.
Kickstarter is, in theory, the perfect place to launch a game like this.

In reality, the market just isn't there right now.

Backers are drawn to big, showy things; projects that are nostalgic, or projects that are essentially safe bets/ pre-order systems.
That is a shame, because Sky Scrapers seems to be a decent abstract strategy game in the same vein of chess and checkers.

This certainly isn't their first game either.
Their website indicates that they have made several games in the past, but this is their first Kickstarter campaign.

Another thing that doesn't work in the projects favour is their odd funding options and complete lack of stretch goals.
$50,000 is a lot of money for what the project has to offer and it isn't until you read the whole project page you realise that the money is also for the creation of a virtual gaming platform.

'Creating the virtual game platform will take money. Our minimum target, $50,000, is kick-starting funds to build a great initial web site. To achieve a polished, user-friendly and highly functional web site may require additional funding. Any excess funding will be used to improve the web site experience and the virtual service.
The Sky Scrapers Project site will be permanent. It will bring fun and entertainment to everyone.'


$25,000 of this goal is on IT, Programming, Web design and server rental.

This means that this Kickstarter is essentially two projects in one.
Something that I just don't think is going to work very well, nor will it gain backer confidence.

Our verdict? Just play the free app to learn the rules and make the game yourself out of, well, anything.
Pass.

Push It.
008 - Push It Kickstarters

'Push It is a tense game of skill that can be played anywhere. To win, push, flick or judo-chop your pucks so they are closest to the central jack at the end of the round. Sound simple? Well, it is! Find any smooth surface (tables are ideal, and luckily most people have them), whip out your Push It bag, and play with whoever is up to the challenge.'

Ending on June 28th 2015, 'Push It' is by a group of people from the UK headed by Leeson George.
The project has passed its initial funding goal of £4,00 by over £1,500.

Another game without a great deal of theme, Push It is a competitive dexterity game.

The easiest way to describe this game is tabletop bowls.
Players take it in turns to push, flick, slap or chop their puck from the table to edge in order to get closer than anybody else to the Jack Puck in the middle of the table.
It is that simple.

We managed to see this game in action at the UK Games Expo.
Any game that can get people vocally excited is doing its job reasonably well.

It isn't a big box game of intense strategy, nor is it a beautifully told story dripping with theme.
It is simply a light, fun game that is small and easy to play.

There isn't a great deal else to say.

This is their first Kickstarter campaign, but they seem to have everything in place, ready to start production when the project is complete.
Unknown setbacks aside, I think they'll manage to deliver in a decent time frame.

And for just £15 to get your own copy, it isn't unreasonably expensive.
Well worth backing if this kind of game is your thing.

Exoplanets.
009 - Exoplanets Kikcstarter

'Space — a place of extraordinary phenomena, interdependencies that have existed for an eternity, and mechanisms which have not yet been fully identified. A mysterious place which sometimes causes fear and trepidation due to its magnitude, but is always fascinating. This time the cosmos became our inspiration. That's why we'd like to invite you to have fun with us and participate in the project of publishing the game in which everyone becomes a co-creator of cosmos - Exoplanets.'

Ending on June 20th 2015, 'Exoplanets' by 'Board & Dice' is a Kickstarter staff pick and so far has secured more than double its original funding goal.

Exoplanets is a game that is part resource management, part area control.
Players take it in turns to birth new planets and spend resources to create and develop life.
All of this is done in an attempt to establish their dominance in a young star system.

The game play mechanics seems polished and the theme, while not hugely influential on the game play, is pretty neat.

We suggest you check out the Rahdo Runthrough video on their page as it does a great job of explaining how the game flows.

It is hard to put the feeling this game gives me into words.
It doesn't do anything special or unique, but it looks like it does.

The whole feel of the game is unique, even though I know full well it isn't.

The combination of resources management, area control and hidden goals is something that appeals to me, and couple that with the ability to foil others plans with the strategic use of powers just give the game a little bite.

This is something I think would make a great little game; complex enough to be interesting and simple enough to be accessible to newer players.

This is Board & Dice's first Kickstarter project.
They have made a couple of games in the past which have been shipped worldwide, so have some experience in this regard.
The publisher they are using for North American fulfillment is a company called Stuntkite Publishing, which is an equally small publisher.

oard & Dice seem to have a solid fulfillment plan, but this game has already doubled their expectations in terms of basic funding goals.
Though with a reasonable amount of stretch goals available, it seems they have planned for this eventuality.

I'm never confident when it comes to the reliability of Kickstarter projects by small publishers, but I think this is project is probably as prepared as they can possibly be.


If you're interested, but not 100% sold on the game there is a $3 pledge level print and play version designed for 2 players

It was a hard choice between this and Push It for our Kickstarter pick of the issue, but Exoplanets just nudges it for me.
I'm not the biggest fan of dexterity game though, so bear that in mind.


'Imperial Settlers' Review by 'DarkHaZZl3.'


010 - Imperial Settlers Opening

Google - Fu.

Imperial Settlers is an engine building game focused around card drafting game and plays with 1 to 4 players.
Designed by Ignacy Trzewiczek and published by Portal Games in 2014, Imperial Settlers was an instant hit.
It was nominated for 6 awards by Board Game Geek alone, winning the Best Solo Game of the year.
In additional it has also been nominated for 3 Dice Tower awards, amongst many more.

For more information head over to the Imperial Settlers page on the Portal Website.

Alternately you can check out their page on Board Game Geek.

Contents and Impressions.


011 - Imperial Settlers Contents

• 1 Score Board,
• 4 Faction Markers,
• 1 Round Marker,
• 4 Faction Boards,
• 220 Cards; 30 Barbarian Cards, 30 Japanese Cards, 30 Roman Cards, 30 Egyptian Cards, 84 Common Cards, and 16 Attack Cards,
• 32 Wood Tokens,
• 32 Stone Tokens,
• 32 Food Tokens,
• 40 Worker Tokens,
• 18 Raze Tokens,
• 10 Defense Tokens,
• 24 Gold Tokens,
• 6 Multiplier Tokens,
• 1 First Player Marker,
• 4 Egyptian Special Tokens,
• 1 Rule Book.

The art style of Imperial Settlers immediately jumps out at you.
It is simple, cartoony, cute and colourful.

It takes the edge off the game a little and makes it enjoyable to look at while playing.

The wooden tokens (the Meeples, wood, stone and food; which is an apple! Confirmed by Ignacy himself!), are cute and visual distinct from each other in shape and colour.


012 - Imperial Settlers Wooden Tokens

The cardboard tokens are equally distinct, if somewhat more functional, but still retain the difference in colour and shape.


013 - Imperial Settlers Cardboard Tokens

The faction cards are colour coded on the back with each factions emblem, to help tell them apart from each other, as are the common cards.
Again, the art is simple, cute and not too busy.


014 - Imperial Settlers Faction Cards

The faction boards follow this pattern, but with a bit more detail.


015 - Imperial Settlers Faction Boards

I think having all of the characters in the game be women was a nice touch; there simply isn't enough female characters who are not sexualised in modern gaming.


016 - Imperial Settlers Scoreboard

The scoreboard is functional, but I'm not a huge fan of the snake like path. The red letters help distinguish the direction, but every time I've played this game, someone gets confused.

The only real downside to the game is the text size as it is a bit on the small size.
I do however understand that this is a necessity; there are cards the utilise all of the space the card allows, and I for one would prefer to have all of the information relevant to the card on the card, as opposed to in the rule book.

Game Play.

The designer of Imperial Settlers fully embraces technology.
It is to that end the game comes with a QR code which takes you to Portal Games YouTube channel where you can watch a video tutorial of the game.

If you're a fan of analogue, feel free to keep reading.

The objective of Imperial Settlers is to have the most victory points are the end of the game, which lasts five rounds.
Players do this by taking turns to collect resources, build buildings, razing buildings and other actions.

The basic set up of Imperial Settlers is the same for each game.

Players select a faction each and their faction card deck along with it.
All other cards and tokens are placed to one side and in reach of all players.

Players then take two face down cards from their own faction deck, and two from the common deck.


017 - Imperial Settlers 2 player set up

In our examples we have used a two player set up.

From here you're ready to play.

Each turn is broken down into 4 phases;
  • The lookout phase,
  • The productions phase,
  • The action phase
  • and finally the clean up phase.

In the lookout phase players draft cards.

Each player draws the top card of their faction deck into their hand.
Cards are then dealt form the common deck equal to the amount of players plus one.


018 - Imperial Settlers lookout phase 1

In our 2 player example this means three cards are dealt face up.

The player who is currently first player selects one of these cards to put in their hand.


019 - Imperial Settlers lookout phase 2

The next player clockwise then picks a card and so on until each player has chosen one card.


020 - Imperial Settlers lookout phase 3

The last remaining card is discarded.
After this more cards are dealt; again, equal to the players plus one.

The player who chose last in the draft that just happened (the player immediately anti-clockwise of the first player) picks a card first, and then this continues anti clockwise, until each player has picked one card.
The remaining card is again discarded.

The next phase is the production phase.

In this phase players take it turns to collect all of the resources their empire generates.


023 - Imperial Settlers production phase 2

Production sources are; The faction board, production buildings and deals.


021 - Imperial Settlers production phase 1

We'll go over production buildings and deals in more detail in the action phase.

After everyone has collected their production it the action phase.


The action phase is the core of the game.

During the action phase players take it in turns to take one of the following actions;

Build a location,
Activate and Action location
Make a deal,
Raze,
or trade worker Meeples.

Build Action.

The vast amount of a players victory points will come from buildings.

To perform a build action a player selects a card from their hand and play the 'pay to build' cost and then place it in the relevant row alongside their faction board.


023 - Imperial Settlers action phase; build 1

In this example a player wants to build a Quarry.
A Quarry costs 1 stone and 1 wood to build
The player pays this cost and the building is built.


Some Faction buildings have a building in their resource cost.

This means that to build this building, a player has to pay the resource cost and sacrifice a common building. This sacrificed building is then discarded.


024 - Imperial Settlers action phase; build 2

In this example a player is spending 2 stone resources and sacrificing a Quarry to build a Colossus.


It is important to note that a player may use 1 coin in place of 1of the basic market resources; wood, food or stone.


027 - Imperial Settlers actions phase; coins

There are three types of buildings

Production, Feature and Action buildings.


025 - Imperial Settlers action phase; build 3

Production buildings.

When a production building is built, it will immediately produce the resources it would have done in the production phase.


026 - Imperial Settlers action phase; build 4

In the case of the card above, it produces 1 stone. In addition to this the card produces an additional 1 stone as a reward for building the card.

Feature Buildings.


Feature buildings provide a players engine with background abilities.

Some provide victory points when a player performs a certain action, while other simply provide an empty space to be expended when building faction buildings

While production buildings which activate when built and again in the subsequent production phases, and feature buildings which happen in the background, action buildings have to be specifically activated.

Activate an Action building.


As previously state there are three type of buildings.
Production, Features and Actions.
Production building produce when built and in the production phase and Features are triggered by certain events.
Actions on the other hand have to be activated, and take up an Action to do so.

To activate a building, simply follow the instructions on the card in the same manner as when activating the worker trade action.

Action buildings provide flexibility to a players engine; some allow spending resources to gain victory points, others allow a player to convert one resource into another.

Trading worker Meeples.

Each faction board has a Production space, and Feature space and a Action space.


028 - Imperial Settlers action phase; trading meeples 1

This not only shows a player where to put their cards, but also has abilities they can utilise.
In order to trade worker Meeples, player activate the action location on their faction board in the same manner as the action cards.


029 - Imperial Settlers action phase; trading meeples 2

A player may exchange 2 worker Meeples for one of the following; 1 food, 1 wood, 1 stone or 1 card. The card may be either a faction card, or a common card.


030 - Imperial Settlers action phase; trading meeples 2

This process takes up 1 action, but may be performer multiple times in future actions.

Make a Deal.


Sometimes a player may have a faction card that is not beneficial to their engine, but has the ability to produce a desirable resource as part of a deal.

To make a deal a player selects a faction card they want to make a deal with, and discards one food to make the deal.
From then on this card will produce that resource during the production phase, and in the same way a production building does, immediately produces that resources when the deal is made.


031 - Imperial Settlers action phase; make a deal

In this example a player is paying one food to make a deal with the Primeval Forest. This produces 1 wood immediately, and every production phase from now on.

Raze Action.


When using a raze action, a player expends swords in order to destroy common cards and buildings in order to gain resources.

There a two types of raze action.

The first type of raze action is raising from your hand.
A player may select a common card from their hand and expend one sword token to raze it.
If they do this the card is discarded and the player gains the 'raze to gain' resources.


032 - Imperial Settlers action phase; razing 1

In this example the player spends the sword token and gains 1 wood resource and a 1 coin token. This card is then discarded.


The second type of raze action is razing an opponent's common building.
To do this a player picks one of their opponent's buildings to raze and spends two sword tokens to do so.


033 - Imperial Settlers action phase; razing 2

The player gains the 'raze to gain resources' in the same way they would when razing from their own hand.
However, instead of the card being discarded it becomes a 'foundation.'


034 - Imperial Settlers action phase; razing 3

A foundation may be used instead of sacrificing a building for the purposes of building faction buildings. In addition to this, the player whose building has been destroyed gains 1 wood.

Players can defend against having their buildings Razed to a degree. Each faction produces 1 shield token a turn.
During a players turn they may place this shield token on one of their building; this does not count as an action.


035 - Imperial Settlers action phase; razing 4

If a building has a shield token on it, any player attempting to raze that building will have to pay 1 extra sword token, for a total of 3 sword tokens.


There is no limit to the number, type or order of Actions a player may take during the Action phase, so long as only one action is taken at a time.
Once a player has performed one of these actions, play passes clockwise
The action phase continues until all players have passed.

This means play will pass around the table several times.

Once all players have passed the action phases ends.

Clean Up phase.

During the cleanup phases players discard all resources and tokens that haven't been used.
However, if a player has an the ability to store any resources, they may do this first.

The feature location on the faction board usually offers a player the ability to store a certain resources, but other cards may also provide this ability.

It is important therefore to try and maximise the resources gained throughout the action phase as not to waste any resources.

The only exception to this rule is during the fifth round. Players retain their resources in the fifth round to help decide ties in scoring.

Once each player has done this the round is over, and it is on to the next round.
Play proceeds in the same manner until five rounds have passed, at which point players move on to scoring.

Scoring.

In addition to the victory points scored throughout the game using actions and features, players score points for each building they have constructed.


036 - Imperial Settlers scoring part 1

Common buildings are worth 1 victory point each, while faction buildings are worth 2 victory points each.
Again, certain features may have some bearing on scoring, so bear this in mind.

The players with the most victory points in total wins.


037 -  Imperial Settlers scoring part 2

In the case of a tie, it is the tied player with the most resources wins.
If there is still a tie, it is a draw.

If you want to check out the rule book for yourself, they can be found on the Portal Games website.

Personal Opinion.

This game at first appears to be overly complex.

When I first tried to play the game I struggled to wrap my head around it.
With a little help from the tutorial video I realised how simple the games mechanics truly are.

You draft cards and you build an engine.

This simplicity allows you to focus on maximising what you have, and that is where the meat of the game lies.
It is almost solitaire-esq in its design, however the ability to raze other players buildings for resources you need/ to deny them of what they need, adds just a little bite to keep it interesting.

The raze mechanic is one of my favourite examples of balance in a game too.

Razing would be far too powerful if you simply destroyed the building and gained resources; especially in the case of combat heavy factions, but by having the building turn into a foundation, it allows the victim to continue building in spite of this aggression.

It doesn't overly reward aggressive play like some civilization themed games do, but instead allows you to modify your style of play to the engine you are building.
It allows the player to chose a strategy they think will win them the game, instead of being told to play a certain way because that faction is best sued that way.
Yes, certain factions are somewhat inclined towards a certain path to victory, as are all games with asymmetric powers, but it is overly detrimental if that path is not followed.

Because of the 1 action nature of the game there is also very little downtime.
Analysis Paralysis shouldn't be a huge factor as the player interaction is minimal, but in bigger game it can sometimes start to tell.

I can see why a lot of people think this game is best suited to 2 players, but I honestly feel it works perfectly well with 3 and 4 too.

Once you wrap your head around it, the game is simple to understand and easy to play, and because of the mechanics it uses, it is very unlikely there will be a runaway winner.
The vast majority of games I have played have been won by a point of two.

In addition to this there is a solo variant.
The solo variant is actually pretty good, if a little limiting.
Ignacy has taken this into account, and released a free to download solo campaign variant to keep the solo play interesting.


Overall I think Imperial Settlers is a game the justifies the amount of awards it has been nominated for.
I'd certainly recommend check out Imperial Settlers if you haven't already.

Expansions, Reprints and Different Versions.

Imperial Settlers was released in 2014, so expansions thus far are limited.

The only retail 'expansion' so far is the 'Why Can't We Be Friends' Empire Pack, a mini expansion, also released in 2014.


038 - Imperial Settlers Why Can't We Be Friends Mini Expansion
image belongs to Portal Games.

Taken from the portal website;

Imperial Settlers: Why Can't We Be Friends, the first Empire Pack for Imperial Settlers, includes new common cards for the central deck, new cards for each of the base game's four factions, and two new cards for use in the solo game with some factions. One new effect on the cards is "open production", an ability that allows an opponent to visit your building for the resource produced there while giving you the worker who made that trek. Hope you can put him to use once again!

The pack adds a total of 55 cards. Perfect if you really enjoy the game and want a little more variety.


Just before Christmas of the same year, Portal also released a solo campaign for the game.
This is free to download from their website, so definitely worth checking out.


In addition to these, Portal Games announced Atlanteans, the first full expansion for Imperial Settlers, on May 5th 2015.


039  - Imperial Settlers Atlanteans expansion
image belongs to Portal Games.

From the Portal website;

As time has passed, we have lost record of the rise and fall of the Atlantis, but now, you can replay this ancient legend in Imperial Settlers! The denizens of Atlantis bring their technology to the world of Imperial Settlers with all new mechanics that change the way you must play the game both as the Atlanteans and against them.

I was lucky enough to get a chance to preview Atlanteans at the UK Games Expo.

The expansion looks set to shake up the way the game is played, introducing lasting upgrades to buildings, and introducing the Atlantean faction, which focuses on these upgrades, and values common building much more than other factions as a result.
Very excited for this expansion to be released, and if you like Imperial Settlers, I seriously suggest picking it up when it hits shelves sometime after Gen Con.


Digital Spotlight.

As of yet there is no official, or unofficial online or app version of Imperial Settlers available.
There is however, a tabletop simulator version.

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=448118860&searchtext=


The quality of this mod's visuals are amazing, and all available sources point to it being a very good implementation of the physical game (as far as tabletop simulator can be good).

If you're a fan of Tabletop Simulator it is certainly worth checking out.

Outro.

What did you think of this issue? Pro's, Con's?

Did you attend the UK Games Expo? What did you think?
Have you check out anyone invovled in UK board game media?

Did any other Kickstarter projects grab your attention?

Have you played Imperial Settlers?
What do you think?

Feel free to comment on this post, or alternatively hit us up on Twitter @TCBCartographer

Thank you for reading this issue of The Cardboard Cartographer, until next time!