Friday, November 16, 2007

A Short Rules Preview of Albion

This one I am excited about. I’m talking about Albion, the upcoming area-majority game from the new game company Troy Press. Albion covers a lot of the same territory as Britannia, but looks like it is a quicker, less complicated game.

In Albion, players try to become the dominant force in various regions of the British Isles in order to score victory points. On his turn, if I player has the most cubes in a particular region, and he has the appropriate card for that region, he may play a kingdom card to score points. Petty kingdoms are kingdoms that consist of just one region. After a player has scored at least three petty kingdoms, he may attempt to score a high kingdom which consists of two regions and is probably worth more victory points. And at the end of the game, players see who has the most units in the three final kingdoms: England, Scotland, and Wales.

On his turn, a player will have to choose between the following actions: move settlers (from one region to an adjoining region), attack settlers (opposing settler cubes destroy each other on a one-to-one basis), add settlers (one cube is added to a region where you have a majority or tie for the majority of the cubes), recruit Britons (exchange neutral brown Briton cubes in one region for your own cubes), or play an invader carder (units that invade England from the sea). Complicating matters is a population limit for each of the varying regions that limits how many units may occupy it.

Does this sound simple? Maybe even excessively simple? Perhaps. But I was suspicious of the simplicity of Midgard when that came out, and Midgard turned out to be one of the games from the last couple of years that the Appalachian Gamers plays the most.

Albion may have less historical chrome than Britannia, but the Appalachian Gamers found that Britannia’s victory point system channels players into predictable grooves. Albion looks like it might be a little less predictable, and play in a much shorter time.

It looks like Albion will show up sometime in 2008. I’ll be waiting.

Albion can be pre-ordered for about $40. Troy Press can be found at

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