There are six main powers in the game, each with a unique path to victory :
The Valois Dynasty of France
Here I Stand is the first card-driven game to prominently feature secret deal-making. A true six-sided diplomatic struggle, the game places a heavy emphasis on successful alliance-building through negotiations that occur away from the table during the pre-turn Diplomacy Phase. Set during the period in which Niccolò Machiavelli published his masterpiece "The Prince," backstabbing is always possible, especially because the card deck is loaded with event and response cards that can be played by any power to disrupt the plans of the powers in the lead.
Here I Stand integrates religion, politics, economics and diplomacy in a card-driven design. Games vary in length from 3-4 hours for a tournament scenario up to full campaign games that run about twice the time. Rules to play games with 3, 4, or 5 players are also included. The 3-player game is just as well balanced as the standard 6-player configuration, taking advantage of the natural alliances of the period.
So the pivotal skill you'll deploy is in making your choice of which three objectives you'll start the game with (you're dealt six) -- balancing potential difficulty of completion against value of the reward -- and then which of five available objectives you'll add to your plate each time you complete one of your three. The game ends when someone completes seven. So there's real strategy but the game is still ruled by luck of the draw.
Beautifully illustrated, about 30 minutes to play, and already a favorite for many families, Augustus is one of the nominees for the 2013 Spiele des Jahres.
*Not actually millions of combos ... but like thousands or more, maybe.
Talisman, the classic fantasy adventure board game for 2-6 players, receives its most comprehensive update in Fantasy Flight Games’ critically acclaimed Revised 4th Edition.
This revised version of Talisman 4th Edition includes plastic figures for each of the heroes, and even new figures for the toads! Strength and Craft changes are even easier to track with the new stackable markers, and the addition of Fate Tokens gives players a bit of control of the randomness of the dice.
In Talisman, you’ll embark on a perilous quest for the ultimate treasure, the legendary Crown of Command. You’ll choose the warrior, priest, wizard, or one of eleven other heroes with powers both magical and mighty, and you’ll race your opponents through a perilous realm. Each player will roll a die to determine his movement around the regions of the board, where he will encounter dangerous foes and claim powerful rewards, all in preparation for his final climactic test.
A game of Eclipse places you in control of a vast interstellar civilization, competing for success with its rivals. You will explore new star systems, research technologies, and build spaceships to wage war with. There are many potential paths to victory, so you need to plan your strategy according to the strengths and weaknesses of your species, while paying attention to the other civilizations' endeavors.
The shadows of the great civilizations are about to eclipse the galaxy. Lead your people to victory!
In Libertalia, you must thwart the plans of competitive pirates over the course of three rounds while using cards that show the same crew members as your piratical comrades-in-arms. Yes, not only do they attack the same ships, but they employ the same type of ravenous scum that you do! Can you take advantage of the powers of your characters at the right time? Will you be outdone by a pirate smarter than you? Jump into the water and prove your tactical skills!
In Mission: Red Planet, players work as mining companies compete to send astronauts to Mars in order to colonize and mine for recently discovered materials. Over the course of 10 rounds, players play one of their special agents every round to help fill the rockets heading to Mars with their own astronauts while simultaneously working to prevent their opponents from doing the same. Once landed, these astronauts must gather to control specific regions of the planet, each yielding one of the three resources: Celerium, Sylvanite, or Ice. After rounds 5 and 8, players gain score tokens for every region where they control the majority of the astronauts. At the end of the game, players score one final time, adding any bonuses received from Discovery Cards and Bonus Cards. The player with the most score tokens at the end controls Mars, and all the riches it can bring!
The game is played using two decks of cards: a deck of resource cards, which contains cards representing ten different resources, and a deck of development cards, which give special benefits to their owners. The game is played in rounds, with each round consisting of four phases:
Each round starts with the Event phase, in which a random event may occur that affects all players.
The next phase is the Supply phase. Each player receives five random resource cards, plus one resource card for each caravel (a type of development card) that he owns, chosen from a common pool.
Then, during the Trade phase, the players trade some of their cards. One of the players, the Trade Master, determines how many resource cards (2, 3 or 4) each player must offer for trade. The player that offers the resources with the highest value becomes the new Trade Master. He chooses one of the resources offered by one of the other players, and adds it to his hand, or exchanges it with a card from the market (three face-up cards that are available for such exchanges). Then, the player that he has taken a card from gets to take a card, and so on, until all the cards have been taken.
Finally, during the Progression phase, the players exchange their resources for doubloons and developments. A player may exchange one set of three or more of the same resource for a development. Bigger combinations and rarer resources will allow more choice of which development can be selected from the five that are on offer. In addition, players can exchange sets of three or more different goods for doubloons, with bigger combinations earning more doubloons.
If a player can make a combination of ten different cards (i.e., one of each type of resource), he wins the game. Alternatively, if a player has accumulated 75 doubloons, he wins the game. If no player has achieved victory by the time the development deck runs out, the player who has accumulated the most doubloons wins.
At the start of each turn, you roll six dice, which show the following six symbols: 1, 2, or 3 Victory Points, Energy, Heal, and Attack. Over three successive throws, choose whether to keep or discard each die in order to win victory points, gain energy, restore health, or attack other players into understanding that Tokyo is YOUR territory.
The fiercest player will occupy Tokyo, and earn extra victory points, but that player can't heal and must face all the other monsters alone!
Top this off with special cards purchased with energy that have a permanent or temporary effect, such as the growing of a second head which grants you an additional die, body armor, nova death ray, and more.... and it's one of the most explosive games of the year!
In order to win the game, one must either destroy Tokyo by accumulating 20 victory points, or be the only surviving monster once the fighting has ended.