Game Designer Nicholas Yu of Zucchini People Games, LLC has created a new game called Eternal Dynasty. In Eternal Dynasty, you as a player representing a dynasty vying for political and military control in Ancient China. In this area control game, the action takes place over four generations. Each generation, you select a new leader to represent your dynasty. The pictures shown in this article are from a prototype and may not represent the finished product.
At the start of the game, each player is dealt three leader cards as well as 6 dynasty cards. Each player looks at their leaders and dynasty cards and chooses which leader and dynasty cards to keep. Each player keeps one leader per generation. Each leader card has a special ability and also an indicator as to the number of dynasty cards than can be retained. For example, Yan the Fair can keep two dynasty cards, and her special ability is that she will always cast a “Nay” whenever a vote card is played. Any unselected cards are discarded. An initial amount of influence in then placed on that leader’s home province.
Each generation of play lasts a number of turns. On a turn, each player has the option of building/spreading military or political influence to gain control of provinces, play a dynasty card to resolve an action, or call for a vote to exert your motives In addition, each leader has some reserve influence that can also be added. After the first generation passes, an event card is played, causing different effects to the game play. Events can be either minor or major.
At the end of each generation, points are scored for areas that are controlled by either political influence, military influence, or both. If a player has the majority of control of both political and military influence for a province a bonus coin is drawn and revealed at the end of the game, giving additional victory points. A new event is played, a new leader is selected for each player along with new dynasty cards being dealt. Play continues over the course of 4 generations, shaping the areas of control for each dynasty. The player whose dynasty has the most points wins.
Eternal Dynasty is very much a Euro-game focused on area control. The game itself does not have direct combat with opposing characters, but dynasty cards and votes can allow for removal of either military or political influence. Game play is rather quick, so playing over four generations does not take a long time. I would say with four players that a complete game can be done in about 90 minutes. This game shines with the mechanic of a new leader over each generation. Each leader has new abilities, new limits of dynasty cards, and new levels of reserve influence. In addition, each leader has their own home province, giving an opportunity to spread areas of control in different parts of China. So with each new generation, it is almost like playing a different game.
From a family perspective, this game is rich in history and social studies. With the game play taking place over multiple generations, this game illustrates Chinese history with the long-ruling dynasties. Along with each leader, a different style of game play emerges, giving the game the feel of taking place over long periods of time. The game also shows a practical application of a voting process, and offers many opportunities for decision-making skills to be developed. Social interaction is major part of this game, with calling for votes, the placing of influence, and the reading aloud of dynasty and event cards. Given that this is a slightly complex game, I think the minimum age for this game should be 13. This is perfect for families with teens to spend time together “reliving” ancient Chinese history.
If this game appeals to you, it will be launching on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter on January 15th. Consider backing this project to make it a reality for everyone to enjoy.