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"New" Game Round-up: Run More Factories, Trade More Companies & Stocks, and Hire More Famous Renaissance Artists

Candice Harris
United States
Los Angeles
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Board Game: Arkwright
Stefan Risthaus' heavy economic 2014 hit Arkwright has been one of those games that I'm equally as curious to try as I am intimidated by, especially when I see all the components laid out and factor in the high BGG complexity rating of 4.56. It has been on my "I think I can, I think I can" list for quite some time, so I'm excited to have the opportunity to ease into it a bit with Game Brewer's upcoming release, Arkwright: The Card Game.

Board Game Publisher: Game Brewer
In August 2020, Game Brewer launched a Kickstarter campaign for Arkwright: The Card Game, which is for 2-4 players and maintains the core essence of Arkwright while streamlining it, significantly reducing the estimated playtime (60-100 minutes vs. the original 120-240 minutes), and creating a much easier barrier for entry. Here's a high-level overview of the gameplay from the publisher:
In the 18th century the Industrial Revolution starts. The first factories are founded by businessmen like Richard Arkwright, who runs the first factory for spinning wool with machines like the Spinning Jenny and the water frame.

In Arkwright: The Card Game, you run a business and will employ workers in your factories to produce and sell goods. The more workers that have a job, the more goods that can be sold — but be prepared for crises and competitors.

The game is played over three decades (1770/1780/1790) with four rounds per decade. On your turn, you play new cards to open factories and upgrade existing ones, select improvements, improve factory quality, build machines, and employ new workers. You can also pay money to improve your stock holdings, and take out loans if you require more money for production costs. After the card playing phase, you can improve abilities by marking improvements on your score sheet.

Board Game: Arkwright: The Card Game

Now each factory for each type of good produces those goods. The market fluctuates with demand, so the demand may be lower than the value you produce, decreasing your profit. Workers in these factories must be paid, and machines operating in your play area need regular maintenance, so you can possibly lose money instead of turning a profit. Selling enough of one good improves your share holdings, and there are bonuses for having the highest appeal. Lastly, if you can’t sell in England, you can ship goods overseas or store them for future rounds.

After the final round of decade 1790, the game ends. Players then sell all storehouse goods, reduce the number of shares they hold by the number of loans, and reduce further based on their personal shipping track. Then each player multiplies the number of their shares by the value of those shares to determine score. The player with the highest score wins.
Board Game Publisher: All-Aboard Games
• In Q4 2020, All-Aboard Games will release Rolling Stock Stars, a new version of Bjorn Rabenstein's transportation-themed, stock- and company-trading card game Rolling Stock for 2-6 players with a playing time of 120-240 minutes.

For context, let's look at an overview of the original game:
Rolling Stock is a card game about stock and company trading. Players are investors buying private companies in auctions, which they may later use for an IPO (to turn them into corporations) or sell to already existing corporations (to turn them into subsidiaries of that corporation). The majority share holder of a corporation controls its actions: issuing new shares, paying dividends, and buying more subsidiaries from other corporations, players, or an ominous foreign investor.

Board Game: Rolling Stock

The companies are transportation themed, starting with the early Prussian railroad. As more companies are bought, the scope of the game expands to Germany, later Europe, and ultimately even space. With expanding scope, older companies become less and less profitable until they have to be written off eventually, severely hitting the book value of their owner.

As a pure card game, Rolling Stock has no game board to simulate actual transportation. Instead, networking effects are modeled by synergies between geographically adjacent companies that are subsidiaries of the same corporation. This simplistic model merely sets the stage for the trading of stocks and companies, which is the heart and soul of the game.

Rolling Stock is vaguely inspired by the 18xx series of games, but it is clearly not a part of it. Obviously, track building is missing entirely, but even the stock market with all its superficial similarities turns out to be fundamentally different.

Compared to the 18xx series, Rolling Stock has extremely simple rules. Strategically, however, it is comparably deep and complex.
I stumbled upon Rolling Stock Stars while geeking out on All-Aboard's website after recently playing my first 18xx game. As a newbie 18xx fan, I've grown to realize how much I enjoy stock-trading games, so when I discovered this release I was immediately intrigued.

Board Game: Rolling Stock Stars

For a comparison, here's an overview of how Rolling Stock Stars differs from the original game:

---• Shorter game (no purple companies)
---• Companies have variable powers / # of shares
---• Green and blue companies are less powerful
---• Players can sell corporations into receivership
---• Corporation valuation is abstracted away with stars

After listening to an interview that Ambie from Board Game Blitz had with Rabenstein (the designer), it seems this game really starts to shine after multiple plays when everyone understands how it works and might not be something you'll fully grasp after a single play. Regardless, they had me at "stock and company trading", so I'm looking forward to checking out Rolling Stock Stars.

Board Game Publisher: Placentia Games
Placentia Games will release Stefano Groppi and P.S. Martensen's Florenza: X Anniversary Edition, a tenth anniversary edition of Groppi's Renaissance-period, complex worker placement and resource management classic Florenza, for 1-5 players.

Here's the gist of Florenza if you're not already familiar with the game:
In Florenza, the players are the heads of the most powerful families in Florenza during the Renaissance period. The goal of the game is to become the most famous patron of the arts by hiring the most famous artists of the period and financing their works.

Each player can commission artworks in his own district, the Cathedral, or in the civic buildings of the city. Each artwork requires money and resources to complete. To earn the money and resources the artists need, the players send their workers to labor in various workshops, possibly even in their opponents’ districts. Additional workers can be earned by offering charity to the church. During the game, players will earn prestige points, primarily by completing artworks. Prestige points can be spent during the game, but at the end of the game they will be the player’s primary source of victory points.
Board Game: Florenza
Board Game: Florenza: The Card Game
Board Game: Florenza Dice Game

Florenza was originally released in 2010 and has since been reimplemented as a card game (Florenza: The Card Game) in 2013, and a roll-and-write game (Florenza Dice Game) in 2019 — the latter being my first little taste of Florenza and one of the meatiest roll-and-write games I've played to date.

Here's what you can expect in the upcoming Florenza: X Anniversary Edition, which will be co-published with Post Scriptum:
---• New Workshops for an increased strategic diversity
---• Addition of Captains of Fortune for an increased tactical diversity
---• Smoother and more elegant management of different aspects of the game
---• Reduced duration compared to the original game, with no loss in game depth

---• Option to play against one or more virtual opponents
---• Four difficulty levels: Easy, Normal, Hard, Masterpiece

---• Modern and captivating style
---• Improved visibility of key elements on the table
---• Upgraded game materials
---• More than 500 game elements
Sounds like some awesome additions to an already well-regarded game, so when Florenza: X Anniversary Edition hits the streets, I think it'll be the perfect time for me to finally delve into the real-deal Florenza.

Board Game: Florenza: X Anniversary Edition
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