World Without End is a traditional Euro-style strategy board game, thematically built around events taking place in the fictional village of Kingsbridge, from 1337 to 1361, nearly 200 years after building of the imposing cathedral known as The Pillars of the Earth. Players take the roles of merchants, farmers and builders striving for wealth and prestige while living a pious and loyal life. The object of the game is to gain the most victory points. These are gained mainly by taking part in various building projects and by taking care of the inhabitants of Kingsbridge that are strikken by the plague, known as Black Death. However, life in Kingsbridge is not an easy one. Players have to continuously struggle to gain enough food, show loyalty to the church and the crown, pay taxes and deal with sudden misadventures that occur randomly during the cource of the game.
The most important component of this game is a huge, four-panel gameboard of superb quality, depicting Kingsbridge and its surrounding lands. On the game board there are several locations such as:
- production spaces: the Quarry (producing stone), the forest (producing wood) and the fields (producing grain)
- various building sites in which players can contribute with stone or wood and gain victory points
- the village of Kingsbridge with its houses and market. Some of the families fall ill during the plague and can be healed, granting VPs and various bonuses. In the market, players can trade wool and cloth for money.
The game takes place in 4 chapters (time periods) each consisting of 6 rounds.Each chapter represents a time span of a few years, during which players take part in various building projects, thus gaining precious victory points while also having to deal with several unexpected events. At the end of each chapter, all players have certain obligations. Failing to meet them, costs victory points and additional penalties occurring at the beginning of the next chapter. In each round the same sequence of actions occurs: ROMs Pack
- The active player (the one who has the active player token) reveals an Event card. Events can be immediate or have a lasting effect till the end of the chapter.
- After resolving an immediate event, the event card is oriented on a special city council space on the top edge of the game board. The active player chooses an orientation that fits his current goals, as it affects two elements in the game: each player’s personal income as well as a special bonus for the active player only.
- Players receive their personal income according to the card’s orientation.
- The active player receives his special bonus as he has the favour of either the Prior / Prioress, the King / Queen, the Guild Master, the Merchnats, the Earl of Shiring, the Bishop or the Outlaws
- Beginning with the active player, each player plays an action card. All players have the same set of 12 action cards. These actions include: selling wool or cloth at the market, exchanging wool for cloth (which is more valuable), building a house that provides a bonus when rented, rent up to 2 houses, getting a grain, getting a resource (wood or stone), getting piety from the cathedral, taking care of ill people, taking part in a building project contributing wood or stone, or repeating the action chosen in the previous round. In this phase, players choose a card to play and they discard another one. This way, during the whole chapter, they will play 6 actions and discard the rest.
At the end of the chapter, players have the following mandatory obligations: Show that they live a virtuous and pious life by paying 2 piety, show that they have enough food to sustain themselves by paying 2 grain, and pay a tax. In order to determine the amount of tax, the active player throws a dice. Upon failing to fulfil one or more of the above duties, players lose victory points and suffer additional penalties which occur at the beginning of the following chapter such as losing their income in the first round of the next chapter or playing one less action card. It is possible to avoid the additional penalty by paying 1 Loyalty.
Thunderstone is a deck-building game by Mike Elliott, published in 2009, one year after Dominion hit the market, creating a frenzy with the introduction of a hot combination of game mechanics: deck building and card drafting. In games using these mechanics, players choose cards from a common pool laid out on the table, and try to gradually built the best deck of cards with which they will acquire the most victory points. The theme of such games may differ but the main idea remains the same. With this review we will look at 2 games, the original Thunderstone released in 2009 and the new Thunderstone Advance, which is a new improved implementation of the original game.
In Thunderstone, you are the leader of a heroic party of adventurers arriving at Barrowsdale, near Grimhold Dungeon where the first Thunderstone, an artifact of evil power, is kept. You seek to find the Thunderstone but in order to do so, you have to battle powerful monsters that guard the dungeon. You must build a deck of cards, consisting of adventurers, weapons, magic spells, food and other items.
Before beginning the game, you have to setup 3 different kind of decks. Remember that in each game of Thunderstone you won’t be using all cards available in the game but each time the cards you use will be different:
- Dungeon deck: There are 8 different classes of monsters. You choose 3 or more classes at random, take all monsters belonging to these classes and shuffle them to form the dungeon deck. Shuffle the special Thunderstone card with the bottom 10 cards of the Dungeon deck. Now you are ready to populate the hall which is the area where you fight the monsters, placed next to the Dungeon deck. There are 3 ranks of monsters in the Hall Area. The card farthest from the Dungeon deck is rank 1 and the one closest is rank 3. These ranks are populated with monsters from the Dungeon deck. The rank of each monster, is associated with a specific amount of Light penalty, subtracted from the heroes attack power. This element of the game tries to simulate a real situation in a dungeon, where the farther you advance into it, the less light there is, inhibiting you to properly see the monsters, thus lowering the power of your attack. Each point of light penalty subtracts 2 points of power from your attack. Monsters placed in rank 1, give a light penalty of 1 (thus attack -2), monsters in rank 2 give 2 points of light penalty (thus attack -4) and those in rank 3 give 3 points of light penalty (thus attack -6). ROMs Packs
- Village deck. The village deck consists of Heroes, Magic spells, weapons and various items. Those are chosen randomly each time you play, using randomizer cards, just as monster classes are chosen. However there are 4 basic card types that will always be present in the village: Militia, Torch, Iron Ration and Dagger. In each game you will choose 4 different Heroes and 8 different Village cards to populate the village along with Basic cards. All these cards populate the village. Each time you choose to visit the village as your action, you can buy one of them.
- Starting Deck. Each player is dealt 6 Militia (6 Regulars in Thunderstone Advance), 2 daggers (Longspears in Thunderstone Advance), 2 iron rations (Thunderstone Shards in Thunderstone Advance) and 2 torches. This is your starting deck which you will gradually grow, filling it with cards from the village and monsters you defeat. You shuffle your deck and place it face down in front of you. Draw the top 6 cards of your deck and you are ready for adventure.
On your turn, you can choose to do one of the following actions:
- Visit the village: The cards you have in your hand, give you a certain amount of gold coins. You can use this gold to buy cards from the village as you see appropriate. In fact that’s what you will mainly do in your first few turns, as you wil probably not be strong enough to attack monsters in the hall.
- Enter the dungeon: Each hero has an attack power, indicated on the card. The combined attack power of all the heroes in your hand is your total available power to defeat monsters. Moreover some cards, like the torch, give you light, thus reducing or even eliminating light penalties. If you are strong enough to defeat a monster in the Hall, taking into account light penalties, you can enter the dungeon, equip your heroes with weapons if available, cast spells and defeat a monster. Each monster, when defeated, awards you with a certain amount of victory points and some experience points which you can use to level up your heroes.
- Rest. By choosing this option, you can rest and may destroy one card from your hand. It goes to the destroyed cards pile, not to the discarded pile.