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The Mirror
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New York
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There's a sense one has that nobody is really in the right. There are no heroes here. In fact, things are too complicated to make moralistic judgements at all. Well, sure, some out there are just plain awful, but for the most part, we're all doing the best we can, leveraging our advantages and trying to survive the volatile political and economic shifts as they come. These are uncertain times.

Pax Porfiriana is a card game, but it has this incredible historicity which opens up to you over time, and to go along with that, there's a wonderful tactical framework which reveals itself as well. This makes what initially feels like a game of pure chaos-mitigation feel more like a strategy game under constant assault. I know, I know...those sound basically like the same thing, but the difference is in the latter, there's a sense of some internal maths, working in the background holding the whole thing together like a delicate, invisible thread.

Basically, this game is a bunch of speculative nonsense supported by a historical framework which I have no real previous understanding of, and it still manages to feel like the perfect allegory for my life.

But what about the game? It's fun! Supremely so. After only experiencing the game solo, using a number of approved variants, I finally had an opportunity to sucker 3 friends, all VERY casual gamers (though to be fair also all very brilliant), into learning the game. It was less difficult to teach than I'd feared, though it did take a cool 30 min. After a slow moving learning round with all 4 of us, one rushed off on a Tinder date leaving three. We played a couple rounds this way, and it was wildly fun. So much vicious manipulation and backstabbing. At some point we all basically implicitly agreed that allowing our enemies to extort us was strangely an effective motivation to keep them invested in maintaining our various enterprises. Wonderful politicking.

It is no surprise to me that this isn't universally appreciated seeing as the barrier to play initially is fairly high, made potentially more difficult by the fact that the graphic design is a bit confusing (though I should admit, I find it to be deeply charming myself). That said, I find the game to be well worth the effort, and as my first Eklund/Sierra Madre game, I am glad that I went through the process of learning, and that I was able to fairly quickly teach my friends and get them invested as well.

I'm heading to Tucson on Monday, and I'm quite looking forward to forcing another friend of mine to learn the game as we wait out the upcoming election results, and hopefully we can find the pax that we've been looking for.

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Phil Eklund
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mirror33 wrote:
There's a sense one has that nobody is really in the right. There are no heroes here. In fact, things are too complicated to make moralistic judgements at all. Well, sure, some out there are just plain awful, but for the most part, we're all doing the best we can, leveraging our advantages and trying to survive the volatile political and economic shifts as they come. These are uncertain times.

Pax Porfiriana is a card game, but it has this incredible historicity which opens up to you over time, and to go along with that, there's a wonderful tactical framework which reveals itself as well. This makes what initially feels like a game of pure chaos-mitigation feel more like a strategy game under constant assault. I know, I know...those sound basically like the same thing, but the difference is in the latter, there's a sense of some internal maths, working in the background holding the whole thing together like a delicate, invisible thread.

Basically, this game is a bunch of speculative nonsense supported by a historical framework which I have no real previous understanding of, and it still manages to feel like the perfect allegory for my life.

But what about the game? It's fun! Supremely so. After only experiencing the game solo, using a number of approved variants, I finally had an opportunity to sucker 3 friends, all VERY casual gamers (though to be fair also all very brilliant), into learning the game. It was less difficult to teach than I'd feared, though it did take a cool 30 min. After a slow moving learning round with all 4 of us, one rushed off on a Tinder date leaving three. We played a couple rounds this way, and it was wildly fun. So much vicious manipulation and backstabbing. At some point we all basically implicitly agreed that allowing our enemies to extort us was strangely an effective motivation to keep them invested in maintaining our various enterprises. Wonderful politicking.

It is no surprise to me that this isn't universally appreciated seeing as the barrier to play initially is fairly high, made potentially more difficult by the fact that the graphic design is a bit confusing (though I should admit, I find it to be deeply charming myself). That said, I find the game to be well worth the effort, and as my first Eklund/Sierra Madre game, I am glad that I went through the process of learning, and that I was able to fairly quickly teach my friends and get them invested as well.

I'm heading to Tucson on Monday, and I'm quite looking forward to forcing another friend of mine to learn the game as we wait out the upcoming election results, and hopefully we can find the pax that we've been looking for.


If in Tucson, ping designer Matt Eklund (matthew.eklund@gmail.com) and see if he or his ruthless playtesters are up for a game.
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The Mirror
United States
New York
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phileklund wrote:
If in Tucson, ping designer Matt Eklund (matthew.eklund@gmail.com) and see if he or his ruthless playtesters are up for a game.


That's a kind offer. I just might.
 
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