So last night I set up Warriors and Traders
and played a few sample turns. Reading the rules didn't impress me, but when I actually got it set up: sweet! It seems like there's some pretty neat strategy. I was worried that my euro-centric gaming group wouldn't like the possibility of wars; but now I feel more confident in breaking this out.
In W&T. there are barbarian armies and forts occupying neutral provinces. They're not hard, but raising and feeding armies is freaking hard.
Battles are neat, though totally deterministic, as well:
1. We damage each other.
2. If I deal more than your strength to your unit, you die.
3. You do the same to me.
4. If you are at 0(not at a negative number), you can retreat(if the enemy is the barbarian or player advanced enough on the warfare track.
That's it. But the maneuvering can be interesting. So the euro crowd would probably enjoy this, because it's often difficult enough to take barbarian territories without declaring a devastating war on another player. To make things harder, by the 4th turn of the game, the barbarians double in combat power. Oy vey.
There's non-combatant "princesses" as well. These can claim empty territories, but you only have 4. Since every single military unit costs between 1-3 food, these princesses are important to 'hold" territories. To expand further without spending food, a player can build a fort, which "holds" a province under your control, and is worth 3 VP as well.
The tech tree is really cool too: there's three tracks: production, trade, and warfare. Each advancement doesn't cost resources, but they are still expensive: Each turn, you only get two
Build a unit
Update a unit
Build a fort
Advance on a tech tree
Declare a war
Each scarce action becomes important as the game progresses. High-level techs can grant more actions, such as a trade ability to turn gold into actions, but there's often hard decisions on whether to build a soldier to take a new territory or place a tech token to greatly boost one's income power.
The last cool thing I wanted to discuss is Unification. There's 8 countries per map, and each country has several historic territories.
For example, England has:
Once during the game, if England controls at least the top 5 territories, they can delcare a Unification. The *-ed territories are contested, meaning that more than 1 nation "desires" that territory. When you declare Unification, you count the countries you control on your card, and you get bonus actions: If England controls all 7 territories, they can take 9 actions in a row.
Often, you won't have the resources to build units at that time, but you can take a bunch of tech advancements in a row. It's a game-changer, and it looks interesting as to when you think you can maximize this enormous 1-shot boost.
I'm now officially excited.
And really, who doesn't want to play Romania and take over Transylvania?
They're going to send you back to mother in a cardboard box...