Not World War I has ended. Steampunk battlemechs are the norm. The nations of Not Europe have received word that the high tech nation known as "the factory" has gone silent. Each of them dispatch a force to investigate and gain a dominant position over their rivals. As with life, whoever ends up with the most money wins!
Rules (includes tutorial video)
A player's turn consists of picking 1 of 4 actions on his player mat. They may not choose the same action they took their previous turn.
Sample sheet (there are different themed mats with slightly varied costs and benefits for each action)
An action beings by executing the top half first. Costs are in red. Benefits are in green.
After the top half is concluded, the player may execute the bottom half, if able. The bottom half always carries a cost.
For example, in the picture, the 2nd "Bolster" action requires the player to pay a coin. They then choose between gaining 3 power (eagles) or drawing 2 combat cards (yellow rectangles) (the forward slash symbol always denotes "or"). They then gain a popularity (heart) if they own a monument building. Then for the bottom half of the action, they may pay 4 metal to receive a mech and 3 coins. Notice how some spaces are indented or have checkered borders. Those spaces at the top start off covered, while the ones on the bottom start uncovered. As the game progresses, you get the opportunities to removes cubes from the top and place them on the bottom. This increases the benefit of top actions while reducing the costs of bottom actions. All building spaces (mine/mill/monument/armory) start off covered until you construct that building.
Move- Move up to the displayed number of units OR gain the displayed number of coins.
Bolster- Gain the displayed amount of power OR draw the displayed number of combat cards.
Trade- Choose any 2 goods to place on a space with your workers OR gain the displayed amount of popularity.
Produce- Choose the displayed number of spaces. Place 1 of that space's goods (wood for forest, etc) for each worker on that space.
Upgrade- Pay oil to move a cube from a top action (increasing its benefit) to a checkered space on any bottom action (decreasing its cost). This makes actions more efficient.
Build mech- Pay metal to take a mech unit from your sheet and place it with one of your workers. Mech units can fight battles and also unlock one of your 4 specific faction bonuses. You may only have 4 mechs and they are only built once (defeated mechs are placed back on starting map space).
Build structure- Pay wood to construct one of your 4 structures. Structures provide benefits to top actions as well as exert control on a space even with none of your units there.
Enlist- Remove the bottom right circle from a bottom action and place it one one of your one time bonus slots on your player mat (+2 coins, popularity, etc.). From now on, every time you or a player to your left or right executes that bottom action, you receive the bonus shown on the bottom right.
Winner is whoever has the most coins at the end. The game ends as soon as one player gets a 6th star. Stars can be gained by:
-Completing one of your two secret objectives (max 1).
-Deploying all 4 mechs
-Having 8 workers
-Getting all 6 upgrades
-Getting all 4 enlists
-Constructing all 4 buildings
-Reaching max 18 popularity
-Reaching 16 power
-Winning a battle (max 2).
Players receive bonus coins at the end for each star they have, each territory they control (the middle factory counts as 3), and each 2 resources on territories they control. Their popularity level acts as a multiplier for each of the 3 factors.
Separate from those, each game will have a random structure bonus where each player receives a coin bonus at the end for each structure that meets the conditions on the structure bonus card. (page 19 rulebook)
Stuff to remember
Anna & Wojtek (Polania Republic): Anna was born into a long line of intellectuals and diplomats. After her parents died in the war, she moved in with her grandfather, a former soldier and avid hunter. He raised her and taught her how to shoot a gun. Over time, Anna became an expert marksman.
On a hunting excursion with her grandfather, Anna discovered a mother bear who had died in a trap. Huddled next to the bear was a young bear cub. Taking pity on the animal, Anna scooped him up in her arms and took him home, much to the dismay of her grandfather.
Anna and Wojtek, as she named the bear, quickly became inseparable. They even developed a form of communication using sign language.
When Anna grew up, she decided to use her marksmanship to aid her country. Wojtek joined her as she enlisted in the newly-formed reconnaissance troops in the Polania army. Together they traveled across the countryside becoming living legends as they distinguished themselves in battle and showed compassion for even the poorest farmer.
When the Factory shut down and rumors swirling about a growing Rusviet force, Anna and Wojtek accepted a mission to ensure the unity and independence of Polania by securing the eastern border and patroling the lands around the Factory.
Gunter von Duisburg with Nacht & Tag (Saxony Empire): Gunter grew up in a wealthy, aristocratic family known for the dire wolves they bred and sold across the country. As a young boy he traveled with his father across Africa, where he developed excellent hunting skills and an interest in archeology.
With a strong love of his country, Gunter enlisted in the Saxon army. He spent the first few years of service training soldiers to work with dire wolves, where he formed a kinship with two particular wolves: Nacht and Tag (Night and Day).
When the war began, Gunter and his wolves led elite mech squads across the forests and mountains of Saxony and Europe. His name was both feared and respected, and his jacket grew heavy with medals of honor.
After the war, the Saxon emperor sought an audience with Gunter, Nacht, and Tag. He asked them to go on a special mission to the east, where he saw an opportunity to expand to the unclaimed lands surrounding the Factory. Gunter was never one to turn down an adventure, so off he went to the east.
Zehra & Kar (Crimean Khanate): Princess Zehra was the firstborn daughter of the Khan of the Crimean Tatars. Despite her royal upbringing and against the will of her father, Zehra preferred to practice bow shooting and horseback riding rather than meekly drink tea with dignitaries. She found that she was able to see things before they happened, a skill that greatly aided her archery skills, especially for moving targets.
When Zehra turned 16, her father gave her a great steppe eagle for her birthday. Much to Zehra’s surprise, she found that she could see through the eagle’s eyes, and she had the sense that the eagle could see through hers. Zehra named her Kar.
Zehra traveled the land with Kar, representing her family’s interests and serving the people. Tales of her bravery were spread far and wide by Crimean caravans and traders.
Steeped in the tradition and culture of their people, Zehra’s father was reluctant to adapt the new mech technologies developed by the Factory. However, he realized that the world was changing whether or not he liked it, and he didn’t want his country to fall too far behind. So he asked Zehra and Kar to go on an expedition to the north for the purpose of learning modern technology and ensuring peace for their people.
Bjorn & Mox (Nordic Kingdom): Bjorn, the descendant of a renowned Viking family, grew up in a small village in the north of the Nordic Kingdom. For centuries his tribe had bred and raised the massive musk ox seen on many farms across the arctic. From an early age, Bjorn found that he was able to tame and communicate with the huge animals.
When he was 15, Bjorn was caught in a terrible snowstorm while trying to find a young musk ox that had wandered away from the herd. He found the musk ox, but there was no hope of making their way back to the village. Much to Bjorn’s surprised, the musk ox seemed to understand the dire situation, as it created a protective barrier to keep Bjorn safe from the blizzard. After surviving the ordeal, Bjorn took the creature as his mount and named him Mox.
As an adult, Bjorn had a yearning to see the world beyond his tiny village, so he and Mox embarked on a series of adventures across the land. They served as ambassadors to other tribes, went on war missions, and sought to find new oil reserves.
Stories of their courage and heroism eventually reached the king, who asked Bjorn and Mox to participate in a special mission to venture into the south. They seek to add new villages and farms to their kingdom by diplomacy or by force, as well as to explore the Factory to give them a technological advantage in future wars.
Olga Romanova & Changa (Rusviet Union): Olga comes from an old aristocratic family that lost their money and position a long time ago. So she was raised on humble means and in harsh climates, surrounded by simple people and nature. From childhood Olga was taught to have great respect for the Siberian tigers that prowled the Rusviet tundra.
At 15, Olga was already turning into a beautiful woman of strong ambition and intelligence. She caught the eye of Viktor, the young commander of a squadron of mechs traveling through her village on the way to war, and they began to correspond via letter.
Viktor surprised her by showing up on Olga’s 16th birthday to present her with a Siberian tiger cub named Changa he had discovered on patrol. The three of them spent the next week together, and they talked of marrying.
Unfortunately, the great war began, and Viktor was called away to service. They continued to write, but one day Olga received word that Viktor had gone missing in enemy territory. She vowed to find him, so she joined the Rusviet military intelligence service with Changa at her side. With her intelligence and ambition, she quickly climbed the ranks, and she finally got the chance to search the western lands for her beloved Viktor with the full strength of the Rusviet military at her back.
-Only your leader or mech units can fight battles (can play max 1 power card per combat unit involved).
-The only thing that matters for battles is the amount of power bid + value of battle cards played. The only thing having more units (leaders & mechs) does is allow you to play more of the power cards in your hand (1 max per unit).
-If you lose a battle but bid at least 1 power, you draw a combat card.
-Workers can only cross rivers with mechs.
-Mechs and your leader can only cross rivers once the riverwalk ability has been unlocked.
-Each faction's riverwalk ability carries the limitation of only being able to move into
2 terrain types (which leads to the silly situation where you can only cross rivers one way, but them's the rules).
-Tunnels are all adjacent to each other. The mine building is adjacent to all tunnels (the mine being the only way to get to the other side of a river aside from riverwalk).
-Only leaders can pick up encounter tokens
-Your structures count as controlling a territory even if you do not have a unit there.
-You cannot use other players' structures. Capturing one just denies an opponent from using it while it's occupied.
-Produced resources are always on the board until spent. They appear on their space when produced and may be moved by any of your units. When a player makes a purchase, you may spend any resource in a territory that you control. This makes it possible to capture stockpiles from enemies.
-The cost of the produce action goes up the more workers you have deployed. See the uncovered sample player mat, so that having all 8 workers out it would cost you 1 power, 1 popularity, and 1 coin to produce.
-Getting a 6th star does not win you the game! The winner is whoever has the most coins after all scoring is complete. You get bonus coins for each star, but it's entirely possible to be the first to get a 6th star and still not win. The 6th star merely ends the game. Sometimes a player may want to delay getting a 6th star knowing he couldn't win if the game ended at that moment.