One of my most anticipated games for 2013 is:
City of Remnants is the first design from Isaac Vega, and the latest offering from Plaid Hat Games. It’s for 2-4 players, and takes 90 minutes to play. The general theme is that you are refugees on a world ravaged by the Yugai, an alien race. You are leading a gang with the goal of controlling the city where you all live, ultimately for your own survival.
In the box, you get a board, four player mats, 53 development tiles, 18 development draft cards, 40 gang leader starter cards, 31 gang member unit cards, 30 black market cards, 20 YCU coordinate cards, a YCU alert reference card, a cloth YCU token bag, 20 YCU tokens, 37 renown tokens, 54 product tokens, 91 ARC tokens, 4 turn tracker tokens, 4 influence tracker tokens, 64 plastic figures, 10 battle dice, one more d6, and a first player token. Each player chooses a gang leader and takes the associated 10-card starter deck, player mat, and figures. The starter deck is shuffled and you draw four cards. Seven of your figures are placed in your gang member pool. Other gang member cards and black market cards are shuffled into their own decks, with four of each turned face up. You’ll randomly select nine development draft cards (three of each type) and lay out the matching tiles. Each player begins with 2000 ARCs.
This game is played in rounds, and each round is divided into four phases: reset, player turns, Yugai patrol, and award renown.
RESET: All players may discard as many cards as they like, then shuffle their discard pile and place it on the bottom of their draw deck. They then draw so that they have as many cards in their hand as they have influence (you start with four). The first player token passes to the left, and everyone gets 2000 ARCs. Face-up gang member cards are discarded, and a new set of four are drawn. Note that this phase is skipped in the first round of the game.
PLAYER TURNS: Players take turns taking turns until each player has taken four turns. Did that make sense? Said another way, each players take turns doing one action until everyone is up to four on their turn track. It is possible to reach four without actually taking four actions. There are six available actions:
- Recruit – Select one of the available gang members. Each player (beginning to your left) may bid ARCs on that gang member or pass. If no one else bids on it, it is your for free; otherwise, you must bid with everyone else. The player who wins it adds the unit card to their hand, places a figure in your gang pool, and advances their turn tracker one space, even if they are not the player on turn. If you didn’t win it on your turn, you try again with another gang member and continue this process until you successfully recruit a gang member. If there are no available gang members, you must draw the top card of the deck and try to recruit it.
- Buy – Choose a black market card, pay for it, and add it to your hand. If there are no available black market cards, you can’t buy anything. You may also use this action to bu renown tokens for 3000 ARCs each. You may purchase as many renown tokens as you have influence.
- Produce/Develop – If you control a development with a produce >>> develop action, you can spend an action to carry it out. You then can build a new development by paying the ARC cost and placing it on the board. Building a development does not mean you control it – to control, you need one figure on each space the tile occupies.
- Sell – You may sell products on developments you control for ARCs. You may only sell a number of products equal to your influence. The development tile will tell you how much money you get.
- Refresh – You can refresh your cards just like in the reset phase.
- Move – You may move a number of figures equal to your influence three spaces each (not diagonally). A figure can’t end its move on a space that already contains two of your figures. If you move into a space with an enemy, you stop and fight. Fighting another player involves playing battle cards and rolling battle dice t determine the winner. Battling the Yugai involves determining their attack value, playing cards, and rolling dice.
You can also play cards during our turn to trigger their special abilities. They are discarded after use.
YUGAI PATROL: In this phase, Yugai Control Units (YCU) appear at random spots around the board. Any YCU tokens still on the board from the previous round go back into the bag. Draw two YCU tokens, as well as two coordinate cards from the appropriate deck. YCU tokens are placed on the appropriate spots of the board. If they land on a player’s figures, battle happens immediately.
AWARD RENOWN: Collect renown tokens based on spaces and developments you control. There is a pool of 200 renown points available, and if it runs out, the game ends. The player with the most renown wins the game.
Plaid Hat has a great pedigree so far. They haven’t released many games, but the games they have come out with have been well received with great production values – Summoner Wars, Dungeon Run, and Mice and Mystics all have some pretty high quality bits. They’ve been doing quite well for a small publishing company that absolutely refuses to use Kickstarter (another reason to respect them). So, my interest in this game has primarily been due to the company rather than knowing anything about the game. Now that I have looked into it more, I’m still interested.
I don’t know anything about how the gang members, developments, and other cards will work together, but I would imagine that they work pretty well. There seem to be some elements of area control, deck-building, and worker placement, all with a pretty solid sci-fi theme. I like the idea of refugees battling for survival in an oppressed world – there are some possibilities for good storytelling there. In fact, there is even a short story included in the back of the rules. Plaid Hat seems to do very well with immersing you in their themes, so I am interested in seeing how it works together.
There it is – City of Remnants. I look forward to hearing more about it when the game is released. Definitely one to keep an eye on. Thanks for reading.