Philipp Klarmann
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Pax Renaissance - a game about the development of the Renaissance in Europe including religion, economy, warfare, discoveries, trade, banking, conspiracies, religious wars, peasant revolts, inquisition, reformation. Did I miss something?Sure.

If you love Hearts of Iron on the PC or similar games, you will love this one. If you enjoy clean and crips mechanisms with controlled and limited gameplay, stay away. Because PR will mangle your brain and spit it out after your first try and you might not return. But if you do not, you will miss out on one of the most fascinating experience games out there.

How to learn PR? Well, get used to the fact that your first playthrough will leave you head scratching until the very end. Because only at the end, things finally make sense. So, to lessen your burden and the one your co-players face, acquaint yourself with a few facts about the game before you even start reading the excellent rulebook:

1) PR is about winning the game on 4 different methods. However, it is utterly impossible to settle for one of them right from the get go. Because all depends on which cards come out and what your competitors do. So, keep all options open and grab opportunities. For your first game, shoot for an Imperial victory. It is far more easy to achieve than others if you are new to the game.

All it takes is a marriage of a queen to an empire thus placing the empire into your tableau. Usually you want to take the Ottomans for this. They were strong in history and they are in this game. Then campaign against one more adjacent empire and you have won. Easy, eh?

Not so fast. Because in your first game, you will not even see the importance of queens. But because I told you: go for the queens. Now. Grab her, even if you burn through your money. Then use the newly aquired empire to wage war against its neighbours, conquering them all if possible. And watch the other players squirm. Because they start to understand the military aspect of PR immediately. They will understand: do they beef up the neighbours to make campaigning harder? You bet they do once they see what is coming. Which they might not on your first campaign. So, that is why I say: go for an Imperial victory in your first game. Because it will make things click for the other players.

2) Which actions to take when it is your turn? Well, there are seemingly a million choices because of the tableau ops action. However, it only makes sense when you actually have a decent tableau. So, in your first game: build a decent tableau. This means taking cards from the market which make sense. But you will not see in your first half of the first game which cards are more valuable than others. Certainly, you will also not understand which of them are actually helping you and which are only clogging up your tableau. Selling cards will make almost no sense. But wait, it will all come in time. So, go for the take card action as your preferred option in the beginning.

3) The Take Card action: Focus on getting cards which help you get another empire and conquer others: queens, military cards. Ignore religious, law and globalization cards for your first actions, but do not forget them. A card which gives you an inquisitor will come in handy later to block strong cards of your opponents. Some globalization cards strengthen military aspects. But do not forget about the power of the other cards to block you outright or harm you in other ways via one shots. (oh, those one-shots -> use the table on the back of the rulebook!)

4) The West and East Ops action: Once you have some tableau cards, it can make sense to start your first tableau action. Don't underestimate taxation to build up a weaker empire. But forget about it when the map is saturated. What is saturated? It means, that there was enough money and stability in the game that the map tokens are all put on the map cards. This usually happens when the Trade Action is done. Ok, maybe let us talk about the trade action first.

5) Trade action: this brings money into the game. Lots of it sometimes. You will take the last card from the market and use all money placed on top of it. Trace the trade route from the beginning to the end. Give everybody with a trade emporium in the border of two cards one florin gold until you run out. Sometimes, there is even money left. Leave leftover money where it came from. Do not forget to give the player who started the trade route one extra gold and do not forget to add 2 gold (for 3-4 players) or 1 gold (for 2 players) to the trade route. And most importantly: do not forget to put levies onto the map cards the trade route crossed. What are levies? The little chess pieces called tokens. So, many trade routes lead to early saturation which leads to more difficult military campaigns which lead to smaller chances for an imperial victory. See? That is why winning the Imperial victory will become tougher and tougher once the game is going on longer: there is simply too much money and too strong military on the board if there is no constant warfare. Only weak map areas like Italy suffer from constant invasion. Always remember, you only have two actions and declaring victory takes away one of them!

back to 4) Which Tableau Ops to take: Usually for the Imperial Victory, you want to campaign. Prepare such campaigns with the Siege action to weaken the target. Once the Imperial victory is out of reach, try to focussing on other tableau actions. But let us face it, some tableau actions are rather weak, one-shots are better but for these, you can only play them on the first playing of the card. As to the other actions, there are simply too many to describe: moving your inquisitor e.g. makes only sense in certain situations.

6) Emporium building. Now, find out how to build emporia. Suppress other Emporia, pirate them away and build enough of them to serve you in later stages of the game. They are key for many aspects of the game mechanics. So, learn how to build those. This, you now should be able to do on your own. No cheap military campaigning, this is the real way of the banker. Subtle winning.

I hope this long rant made sense. If this is your first game of PR, do not hesitate to set it up solitaire and just play a 2 player game with two hands. What is not making sense in the first 4-5 turns, will make sense once the first comet appears. It starts the race for the victory conditions and then you will understand.

Have fun and enjoy this wild ride!
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Jack
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Thanks Philipp! These were very handy pointers. Can't wait for this one. Also, I will be making a game aid in the style of my previous ones for the other Pax games to help consolidate the rulebook down to 3 or 4 pages.
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Phil Eklund
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Didn't you take pictures, Philipp?
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Philipp Klarmann
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Uploaded in the gallery!

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jonathan schleyer
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Fascinating! You mention playing solo 2 hands. Is this a good way to play the game as I am primarily a solo player so wanted to know if this game was worth getting for playing alone (playing 2 hands or more) even if the game doesn't have pure solo play rules per se?
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Matthew Eklund
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provence wrote:
Fascinating! You mention playing solo 2 hands. Is this a good way to play the game as I am primarily a solo player so wanted to know if this game was worth getting for playing alone (playing 2 hands or more) even if the game doesn't have pure solo play rules per se?


I would suggest against it. Pax games often reward subtle, sneaky, and counterintuitive manuevers... which is hard to emulate when playing both sides.

Indeed if you find such self-deception easy, you might want to seek medical help.
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jonathan schleyer
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Thanks for your feedback. I very much enjoy Pax Po solo using the official rules and I guess that'll be my only Pax game for now despite the fact that the themes are so amazing
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Jorik
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The other "branch" so to speak (neanderthal and Greenland and the coming bios:Genesis) are great to solo due to the more random effect of the dice rolls.
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Philipp Klarmann
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I agree. That is why I said it is for the learning of the mechanisms only to prepare your first night of PR.
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Samuel Hinz
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There are also solo rules for pax pamir
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Mark Turner
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abodi wrote:
There are also solo rules for pax pamir


There are? Link?
 
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Jorik
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MrMT wrote:
abodi wrote:
There are also solo rules for pax pamir


There are? Link?

in the upcoming Khyber knives expansion I think.
in the files section for the expansion I think as the new cards aren't neccesary IIRC
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Samuel Hinz
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yep grab the latest living rules.
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Andrew Denison
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MrMT wrote:
abodi wrote:
There are also solo rules for pax pamir


There are? Link?


The solo rules were done by Ricky Royal I believe? I think you can find them in the variants section of the Pax Pamir page and maybe the Box of Delights page.
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Jack
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My game aid is done and posted and should be showing up soon in the file section.
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