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Can You Control the Right Areas in Europe, the Middle East, and...the World of SHASN?

Candice Harris
United States
Los Angeles
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Osprey Games has announced Crescent Moon, an upcoming 2022 release from designer Steve Mathers that's described as "an ambitious asymmetric area control game of tense negotiations", to which I respond, "Yes, please!"

Crescent Moon plays with 4-5 players in 150-180 minutes and promises tense negotiations and political intrigue in a 10th century Middle East fantasy setting as described below:
As the sun rises over the deserts, rivers, and oases of the Caliphate, a delicate balance has been upset. As one of many rival powers in the region, you now have the opportunity to alter the course of history and seize power for yourself. The ambitious Sultan sits in a golden palace, presiding over great works of architecture. The secretive Murshid works to covertly undermine the central authorities through an expansive network of agents.

The wandering tribes of the Nomad aim to sow discord in order to secure employment for their experienced mercenary citizenry. The ravaging forces of the Warlord sweep across the land, chasing after promises of plunder. And, in the face of chaos and uncertainty, the Caliph aims to preserve order through military might. Will you successfully navigate this web of rivalries and rise to prominence, or will you squabble with your lesser adversaries and fade into obscurity?

Board Game: Crescent Moon

Crescent Moon is played over three years (or four years in the long game). Each year, players will take four actions which might be to deploy new armies, enlist mercenaries, build fortifications and settlements, conquer new land, expand their influence, and much more. Each character has a unique pool of abilities and available actions, which will shape their game, whether its the Sultan, who cannot raise their own army and must depend on mercenaries, or the Murshid, who can use their political influence to interfere in other characters' battles. Players can purchase potent power cards, representing ploys, wise advisors, and specialist units from a market shared between all players. At the end of each year, players score points according to their own unique character objectives, and at the end of the game, the player with most points wins.

Crescent Moon is an area control game for four or five players. Take on the role of one of five radically asymmetric characters, each with their own objectives to fulfill, unique actions to utilize, and game-changing special powers to employ. Build symbiotic relationships with your allies, undermine your rivals, and choose your friends and enemies wisely in this cut-throat game of power and politics.
• Norweigan publisher Aegir Games teamed up with Paradox Interactive to bring the award-winning Europa Universalis PC game back to the tabletop world in 2022 with Europa Universalis: The Price of Power from designer Eivind Vetlesen, with a solo mode designed by Dávid Turczi.

Europa Universalis: The Price of Power, which was successfully funded on Kickstarter in November 2019, is a 4x, grand strategy game for 1–6 players that plays in 90-300 minutes. Here's a high-level overview of what you can expect:
Govern one of Europe's great nations through the Ages of Discovery, Reformation, Absolutism and Revolutions — spanning more than three hundred years of history. Lift your nation out of the slumber of the Dark Ages and create a glorious empire, through clever diplomacy, brave exploration and ruthless conquest. Each of the playable nations have their own very unique opportunities and challenges.

Board Game: Europa Universalis: The Price of Power

Europa Universalis is a strategy board game that gives players a full 4X game experience in a historical setting. Through strategic use of cards and careful management of resources you can expand your realm on the map board, while at the same time developing the internal machinery of the state on your player board. You must build diplomatic relations that support your ambition and you can explore far-away parts of the world. By recruiting skilled advisors and carefully investing monarch power in great ideas, province development, and long term strategies, you may well be able to outshine your historical counterparts.

This is a game for 1–6 players (depending on the various scenarios included). The goal of the game is to build the most successful empire, and points are scored for (amongst other things) owned provinces, explored territories, diplomatic relations, victories in wars, and secret objectives that have been accomplished.

The board game is based on the famous strategy game series by Paradox Interactive, and captures the heart and soul of the grandness that makes the computer game so magnificent.
Board Game Publisher: Columbia Games
• Block-wargaming aficionado Columbia Games is planning to crowdfund Alliance, a new strategic game with coalitions and shifting alliances during the Napoleonic Wars (1805-15) for 2-6 players from designer Tom Dalgliesh (Hammer of the Scots, Napoléon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815, Richard III: The Wars of the Roses)):
A game of diplomacy in the Napoleonic Era...with a Columbia Block System twist.

Set in the Napoleonic Era, the players play as Austria, Britain France, Prussia, Russia, and Spain. They cannot do it alone though, they need help of the neighboring countries, the minor states. The Columbia Block System add a level of granularity to the traditional style of such games.

Even though Alliance is best played with 3-6 players, the Minor States creates added depth for even a two-player game. Solo rules will also be created for the growing demand for solitaire play.

Players start the turn by receiving six cards, and discarding one. Afterward, the take turns playing a card, moving and building units, conducting combat operations if the need arises. Then a political phase happens where players make diplomatic plays for the Minor States in the game (non-committed countries).

Players make alliances with each other that last at least a year and can have many subjects (gold tributes, border disputes, non-aggression pacts, etc.) By default, the winner is who gains the most Victory Points in cities by the game's end. Other scenarios may have extra stipulations that also determine victory.
Zain Memon, game designer and co-founder of the cinema and new media studio, Memesys Culture Lab, is at the tail end of a Kickstarter (KS link) for his latest political, area control title, SHASN: AZADI, which is available as a standalone follow-up or expansion for his 2021 release SHASN.

If you're not familiar, SHASN is a political area-control game for 2-5 players where every player takes on the role of a politician in the midst of a political campaign. Here's the gist of what AZADI brings to the SHASN world:
SHASN: AZADI is a semi-cooperative political strategy board game where players play as revolutionaries, trying to free their country from the grips of a tyrannical imperial power. If they succeed, only one will emerge as the leader of the new nation.

Each player must work with their compatriots to topple the Imperials and gain freedom for their nation. But every time a player takes a turn, the Crown will march forward and the Imperials will take a turn, launching devastating attacks against the revolution.

Players can combat the Imperials by resolving Azadi Cards. From Jallianwala Bagh to the battle of Yorktown, each Azadi Card is a unique event from history.

Board Game: SHASN: AZADI

Each Azadi Card has two sides, presenting players with two divergent paths of resistance. Will players take the path of peace and sit on a hunger strike, or will they take up arms and assassinate their oppressors? Each choice in an Azadi Card belongs to a certain Ideologue. Players must choose their path wisely, for their choice will unlock a new zone, and a Resistance Card belonging to that Ideologue, strengthening that Ideologue for the rest of the game.

For every action you complete on an AZADI Card, you will gain legacy. Spend your legacy to erect Monuments to your sacrifice and earn new powers once your nation gains Azadi. If players resolve the number of Azadi Cards required by their difficulty, and a final Foundation Card before time runs out - Azadi will be theirs.

But the new sovereign nation will need a leader. Players must compete in the first democratic elections of their country to see who will be declared winner.

What will you stand for? And what will freedom cost?
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