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Author Topic: Pax Renaissance 2nd ed  (Read 3609 times)

Silent Disapproval Robot

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on: June 07, 2021, 12:31:35 PM
I picked this game up on a whim last week as I mail-ordered some minor game bits.  They only cost $30 and shipping was another $12 so I decided to trade the order with a game to make it worthwhile.  Pax Renaissance was listed as new in stock and I'd heard good things about it, so I took the plunge.

It's a bit hard to describe.  Each player controls a Renaissance era banking house (Medicis, Fuggers, etc) and acts as a sort of influence peddler/power behind the throne to try to shape the course of events in Europe and the Near East in their favour.   It's a card driven tableau builder and there is a lot of complexity to it.  I was a bit skeptical of the 4.41/5 difficulty rating on BGG but it's definitely up there in terms of brain burn.

The rules themselves aren't overly difficult.  Each player only gets 2 actions per turn.  It's less "how do I do this?" Than "what action should I take and how does doing that help me win?".

There are elements of the COIN games in that each card played has various events and operations associated with it.  There's also a fair amount of similarity between this and Imperial and Imperial 2030 in that the players don't directly control nations and empires but merely whisper in their ear.  One player could easily be in control of Aragon only to see another player arrange for a peasant uprising and the formation of a Republic, thereby wresting control from the previous player.  It also has similarities to The Expanse when it comes to the card buying market and that scoring cards are semi randomly seeded in the latter half on each deck.

We gave the game a whirl yesterday with a 3 player setup and it was a lot of fun, but quite the brain burner.  I managed to win both playthroughs.  I attained a Globalization victory in the first one by installing Henry the Navigator on the Portuguese throne,  developing caramels, and moving the main centre of trade from Trezibond to around the Horn of Africa and to the Spice Islands.  I only won this one as the other 2 players were completely unfamiliar with the rules.

In the second game, things were much closer and more cutthroat.  One of the other guys nearly one an Imperial victory by kicking the Muslims out of the Holy land and establishing a Reformist theocracy in Byzantium but he was backstabbing by the other player at the last moment.  I was able to set up trade republics in Venice and the HRE and secure enough trade concessions from the new rulers to be able to declare a Renaissance victory.

Fun game.  Only takes an hour or so to play but lots and lots of crunchy decisions to make in that hour.  Bonus that the game designer appears to be a Libertarian who likes to put footnotes and endnotes explaining his rationale behind the game design.  This has caused a fair amount of REEEEing from the usual suspects on BGG and Reddit.  End of the story is the publisher has promised that they'll no longer include the designer's thoughts within the rulebooks.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2021, 12:35:03 PM by Silent Disapproval Robot »