This is a game with a persistent and changing world that is ideally played over many game sessions. After a scenario, players will make decisions on what to do, which will determine how the story continues, kind of like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. Playing through a scenario is a cooperative affair where players will fight against automated monsters using an innovative card system to determine the order of play and what a player does on their turn.
Each turn, a player chooses two cards to play out of their hand. The number on the top card determines their initiative for the round. Each card also has a top and bottom power, and when it is a player’s turn in the initiative order, they determine whether to use the top power of one card and the bottom power of the other, or vice-versa. Players must be careful, though, because over time they will permanently lose cards from their hands. If they take too long to clear a dungeon, they may end up exhausted and be forced to retreat.
In Quartermaster General: 1914, each card has two different uses: one when played, and another when prepared. On your turn, you have the opportunity to both play and prepare a card. You can also spend cards to draft more troops, or use cards to attrition your opponents. However, your deck represents your overall resources, so moving too quickly through your deck early might result in your unsupported armies being swept away in the final rounds of the game. This is worth it if you can capture Berlin or Paris in 1915, but if your gambit fails, you may have a tough road ahead.
The game ends after 17 rounds of play, or earlier if one side has a commanding lead.
The central mechanism of the game uses a system similar to that in Mancala or pit-and-pebbles games. In Trajan, a player has six possible actions: building, trading, taking tiles from the forum, using the military, influencing the Senate, and placing Trajan tiles on his tableau.
At the start of the game, each player has two differently colored pieces in each of the six sections (bowls) of his tableau. On a turn, the player picks up all the pieces in one bowl and distributes them one-by-one in bowls in a clockwise order. Wherever the final piece is placed, the player takes the action associated with that bowl; in addition, if the colored pieces in that bowl match the colors shown on a Trajan tile next to the bowl (with tiles being placed at the start of the game and through later actions), then the player takes the additional action shown on that tile.
What are you trying to do with these actions? Acquire victory points (VPs) in whatever ways are available to you – and since this is a Feld design, you try to avoid being punished, too. At the Forum you try to anticipate the demands of the public so that you can supply them what they want and not suffer a penalty. In the Senate you acquire influence which translates into votes on VP-related laws, ideally snagging a law that fits your long-term plans. With the military, you take control of regions in Europe, earning more points for those regions far from Rome.
All game components are language neutral, and the playing time is 30 minutes per player.
Power Grid is one part territory control, one part plant expansion and one part economic management, as players compete to buy the raw materials they need to fuel their ever more demanding power plants.