Scythe: Invaders from Afar, Pandemic: Iberia, Black Orchestra, New Angeles and Star Wars: Destiny!

Scythe: Invaders from Afar

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While empires rise and fall in Eastern Europa, the rest of the world takes notice. Two distant factions, Albion and Togawa, send emissaries to scout the land and employ their own distinct styles of conquering.

This expansion to Scythe, Invaders from Afar, adds 2 new factions. Each faction contains the following:

  • 5 miniatures
  • 31 custom wooden tokens
  • 1 faction mat
  • 4 cardboard tokens

It also includes these components, which allow for Scythe to be played with as many as 7 players:

  • 2 new player mats
  • 6 Automa cards
  • 1 custom plastic insert designed to fit into the expansion box or the original Scythe box.
  • 2 cardboard tokens to replace the Wayfare and Meander abilities in 6-7 player games
  • 2 Rulebooks
  • 7 cardboard coins ($50)

The expansion works seamlessly with any version of Scythe (i.e., if you have special resource tokens, that’s fine–the expansion doesn’t have any resource tokens).

Originally the game was to be capped at 5 players, but Jamey Stegmaier wanted to include 2 new player mats in the expansion. He realized that some people were going to use the mats to play 6-7 player games no matter the what the box says, so he wanted to make sure the game worked for them! To scale up, the expansion includes alternate abilities for some of the original factions.

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Pandemic: Iberia

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Welcome to the Iberian Peninsula! Set in 1848, Pandemic Iberia asks you to take on the roles of nurse, railwayman, rural doctor, sailor, and more to find the cures to malaria, typhus, the yellow fever, and cholera.

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From Barcelona to Lisboa, you will need to travel by carriage, by boat, or by train to help the Iberian populace. While doing so, distributing purified water and developing railways will help you slow the spread of diseases in this new version of Pandemic.

Discover a unique part of the world during a historically significant time period: the construction of the first railroad in the Iberian Peninsula during the Spring of Nations.

The game comes with two variants that can be added :

  • patient flow : the cubes, representing patients, will tend to flock to hospitals to try to get cured. Hospitals also are a bit more powerful.
  • historical illnesses : instead of being generic, each illness has a specific power to better represent what it is (Malaria, Cholera, Yellow Fever etc.)

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Black Orchestra

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As Hitler’s grasp on Germany tightens and his maniacal fervor is unmasked, men from the highest levels of the Reich begin to plot his assassination. As the clock ticks and Hitler’s ambitions grow, these daring few must build their strength and prepare for the perfect moment to strike. The Gestapo hound their trail, calling these conspirators “Schwarze Kapelle”, the Black Orchestra. Will this band of daring patriots save their country from utter ruin before it is too late?

Black Orchestra begins with each player choosing an historic figure involved in the conspiracy against Hitler. In this dark and dangerous pursuit, motivation is perhaps your greatest weapon. If you can stay true to your convictions in the face of overwhelming threat and inspire your comrades, then you will be able to use your special ability, attempt plots, and even become zealous (necessary for some extremely daring plots).

But every move you make may also increase the suspicion of the authorities. The Gestapo will make routine sweeps, and any players with high suspicion will be arrested and interrogated (possibly resulting in other players being arrested). If you are all arrested or if the Gestapo finds your secret papers, you lose. And the suspicion placed on each conspirator will increase the chances their plots are detected.

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On a turn, players may take three actions, such as moving, searching for an item, or drawing a card; or, at the cost of one action per die, roll the dice in an attempt to gain even more actions — at the risk of attracting the suspicion of the gestapo. This dice rolling “Conspire” action allows players to make bold moves when most needed.

After the actions have been taken, an event card is drawn. The game is played over seven stages of World War 2, represented by seven stacks of event cards. These cards walk you through the events of WWII in a roughly (but not strictly) chronological order. New stages open up new areas of the board, cause Hitler and his deputies to interact with the Conspirators, and present various opportunities or threats. During the final stage, many board spaces become off-limits, as the Allies move closer to Germany.

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To win, players must collect a plot card and fulfill all necessary requirements listed (such as having Hitler be in a certain space and possessing certain items–detonator & fuse, etc.). The active player may then attempt the plot by rolling the indicated dice, including all additional modifiers and helpful Action cards. The total of number of “Target” symbols needed to kill Hitler is based on Hitler’s military support, but a Conspirator’s security level decides if any “Eagles” rolled will see them detected, and foil the plot regardless. Players must consider their ability to successfully complete a plot and the relative suspicion levels of the different Conspirators involved.

Players will need to work together and agree on the wisest course of action, as well as have a little luck, to succeed. The phenomenon of one player dominating the game because of it’s cooperative nature is mitigated by the fact that there are no certainties, and often a player will need to make a bold or reckless move to keep the conspiracy alive. Cool heads often prevail, but play it too cool and you may miss your chance. The co-operative dynamic gets really interesting if a player is ever arrested, and fails to resist interrogation, then they will need to make a big decision all by themselves, without revealing their options to the group. No one player can guarantee success. It is hoped that players will have tense conversations similar to those had by the real conspirators and enjoy a truly unique historical experience.

New Angeles

Welcome to New Angeles!
New Angeles, a board game of corporate greed and machinations for four to six players set in the Android universe!

The largest, richest, and most diverse city on Earth, New Angeles is home to the Space Elevator that rises along its buckyweave tether and connects us to Luna and its invaluable Helium-3 deposits. It is here, in New Angeles, that you’ll find the global headquarters for the worlds’ most powerful megacorps: Haas-Bioroid, Globalsec, Jinteki, Melange Mining, NBN, and the Weyland Consortium. And it is here, in this shining beacon of human achievement and advancement, that these powerful megacorps enjoy a uniquely fertile breeding ground for their projects and their rivalries.

In New Angeles, you gain control of one of these megacorporations. Then you use your wealth and influence to create more wealth and more influence. To do this, you’ll cut deals and forge temporary alliances. You’ll leverage your credits and assets to gain financial superiority over your corporate rivals. All the while, you’ll also need to keep an eye toward the masses, striking deals with the other corps as necessary in order to keep a lid on crime, disease, and unrest. If you want to maximize your profit, you need to keep New Angeles open for business!

Business Is Good

Business is your primary concern in New Angeles. After all, the city is uniquely favorable to businesses not only because it’s the site of the Space Elevator (or “Beanstalk”), but also because the city enjoys the privileges associated with being an unincorporated, special commerce zone of the United States. It benefits from most U.S. federal laws, but fewer Constitutional demands, meaning that its inhabitants—and its corporations—enjoy more freedoms than those within the United States proper. And the megacorps, who benefit from this tax-free arrangement more than anyone else, intend to maintain this status quo.

Accordingly, there are two goals in New Angeles. Your primary goal—and that of the game—is to increase your profits. Specifically, you need to earn more capital than your corporate rival in order to win. Your secondary concern, however, is to maintain order within the city. If it descends too far into chaos, the United States federal government will intervene, the city’s special commerce privileges will be put at risk, and you—along with the other corps—will lose.

The key to meeting both of your goals, then, is to conduct good business. Negotiate with others when it works for you. Manipulate others when you must. Keep your ambitions secret. Publicize your positive contributions and mutually beneficial business arrangements. Get others on-board with your designs… and then make more credits than them all.

Envision the Future

As the head of a powerful megacorporation, you’ll find there are plenty of different ways for you to lead your company in pursuit of ever greater profit. However, most of these revolve around your ability to steer the city’s development to your interests.

Games of New Angeles are played over a number of rounds, and in each of those rounds, you and your friends take turns proposing different types of business deals. These different deals are represented by action cards, each of which comes with its own game effect. At the beginning of your turn, you’ll draw a number of action cards as indicated by your corp sheet, and then you’ll present a deal to the other corps, choosing one of your action cards to place onto the board as your offer.

Meanwhile, each round will see a new asset placed upon the game board. Each of these assets represents a talented and useful person or organization, and if you can get the other corps to deal with you and support your offer, you claim the asset and stand to reap its benefits for the remainder of the game.

On the NBN player’s turn, Jackson Howard is revealed as the new asset, and NBN offers to put their Spin Doctors to work to decrease the city’s unrest.

Corporate Rivalries and Key Acquisitions

You may want your corp to direct the city’s business and claim valuable assets, but at least one of the other corps is going to want to see you fail. Maybe more than one. And these corps may try to undercut your deals by countering your offers. Or another corp may simply covet the asset that entered play that round, and since all the game’s assets are different, its CEO may propose a counteroffer, even if that corp has no reason to see you fail. It’s even possible for people to suggest alternate courses of action simply because they think they’ll actually help the city—not just the corps.

If there are ever two corps, then, that have proposed alternate deals, the other corps will decide which goes forward. They can support one deal or the other by placing any number of action cards from their hands facedown next to either the offer or the counteroffer. The corp whose action receives more support then resolves the action and lays claim to the asset.

Your actions and assets, in turn, will frequently help you amass capital, especially if you use them to trigger the conditions that innately favor your corporate interests. For example, NBN gains one capital for every point of reduction in the city’s unrest while Weyland gains two capital whenever a production outage is removed.

After the Weyland Consortium responds to NBN’s offer by countering with Budget Renovations,  the other corps divide their support. The active player’s offer wins the tie, so NBN claims Jackson Howard and uses their Spin Doctors to reduce unrest by one stage in two districts. Because NBN gains one capital for each point of unrest that is decreased, it moves two spaces forward on the capital track.

For these reasons—and others—it may sometimes even be in your best interests to spend money to make money. New Angeles allows you tremendous freedom to secure the support of the other corporations. You can bribe them with capital, you can promise them your support in future turns, and you can even allow them to resolve the actions you pass. The result is that New Angeles is truly a game of wheeling and dealing, and you’ll be trying to manipulate the other players every bit as much as you’re trying to make the best possible use of your cards and abilities.

Keep Big Government Out of New Angeles

Running a business is one thing. Running a city, it turns out, is quite another. But in New Angeles, you have to do both.

Even as you maneuver your corp toward greater fortunes, you have to give a perfunctory nod to the little people of the city. It turns out that in a city of several hundred million people—officially 500 million, but likely closer to a billion if you include the disenfrancistos and the androids—things can quickly turn ugly if you don’t keep the general populace sated. Accordingly, you’ll need to spend some of your time keeping the city orderly and productive. If you can’t, you’ll see the threat of revolt increase, and rioting and chaos may even lead to U.S. government intervention.

To keep the people happy and the city running smoothly, you’ll need to generate a specific variety and quantity of resources as determined by each demand card you reveal. These resources are produced among the city’s districts, but only where you have your android tokens available to generate them and only if you’re able to avoid strikes, outages, and the detrimental influence of orgcrime.

The android token in Laguna Velasco would allow the corps to generate the district’s three capital at the end of the round, except that a district with an orgcrime unit cannot produce its primary resource.

Accordingly, you’ll sometimes find yourself forced to detour from more lucrative endeavors in order to keep the city running smoothly. And you may even find yourself temporarily aligned in this endeavor with your rival. However, the alternative is failing to satisfy the city’s citizens, allowing them to shift increasingly toward chaos, and flirting with the idea that the U.S. government will come in—along with all its laws and regulations—to take over the city’s governance.

This threat is tracked each round, along with each corporation’s wealth, and if the threat reaches twenty-five, big government takes over and everyone loses… except for the one player who might be aligned with the feds. If this is you, then your win condition is no longer making more capital than a rival corp; instead, you work to oversee this fundamental change in how the city is governed.

Open for Business

Manipulate, negotiate, and bribe your way to riches. New Angeles is available now at The Wandering Dragon!