About this project
Gryphon Games is proud to present Matt Leacock's Roll Through the Ages: The Iron Age by Tom Lehmann, the much-anticipated sequel to Matt Leacock's best-selling and highly-awarded Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age. Matt is also the designer of the terrific titles Pandemic and Forbidden Island. While Tom has been busy designing such notable titles as Race for the Galaxy and Pandemic: On the Brink.
STRETCH GOAL ADDED AT $75,000!
Now it's a $5 add-on as well!
Gryphon Games is pleased to announce a stretch goal at $75,000 for Roll Through the Ages: The Iron Age. We will give FOUR Fate Dice in the 4 player colors to ALL backers--regardless of when they have pledged. These would then replace the original one or two dice that Backers would have received otherwise. The basic game, when released, will have only the yellow/gold Fate die in it--similar to the one pictured on the back of the box. The four player colors are the same as the metal peg colors pictured under "Add-Ons" below. If we fall short of the $75,000 goal you can add these 4 dice as an Add-On for $5--either before or AFTER the campaign on Kickstarter ends for a period of 30 days.
These four dice will be a very good addition to the game as they will identify the players; speed up play (you always roll the Fate Die on your turn in this game); and tie the color scheme together that much tighter. Thanks for your continued support of RTTA:IA--Rick, for Gryphon Games
It's now the Iron Age and you are still rolling! Do you build provinces, raise armies, and conquer barbarians or build ports and ships to gain trade goods? Explore the strategies of Greece, Phoenicia, and Rome as you erect monuments, fend off disasters, and strive to feed your people.
Roll Through the Ages: the Iron Age gives players different ways to build their empires: the Trade and Naval strategies of the Phoenicians, the conquests of Alexander the Great, and the engineering prowess and gradual absorption of new provinces by the Roman Republic.
Grab those dice—including the Fate die—and prepare to build the greatest empire as you continue to Roll through the Ages!
What's inside the box?
• 4 Pegboards
• 20 Pegs (5 each in 4 player colors)
• 6 Empire Dice and 1 Fate Die
• 1 Pad of score sheets
• 2 Reference cards
The Limited Edition Mediterranean Expansion!
The Mediterranean expansion adds overseas settlements to the mix via a central pegboard that all players share. Players race to reap the benefits of strategic colonies: Crete for fleets; Spain for mining; Carthage for wheat; Gaul for armies; while Syracuse, the home of Archimedes, and Alexandria provide vital innovations.
Manage the mix of colonies, developments, monuments, and conquests to make your empire powerful and prosperous, famous for centuries to come!
The rules to the base game and the expansion
Tom Lehmann's Designer Diary notes:
When Gryphon Games and Matt Leacock asked me to design a sequel to Matt's 2008 civilization dice game, Roll through the Ages: The Bronze Age, my initial reaction was panic. I really admire Roll through the Ages. It's a fun, accessible distillation of Francis Tresham's seminal Civilization into a 30 minute dice game. Everything's there -- cities, trade goods, developments, disasters, and even monuments (more so than in Civ).
Design a sequel, Matt? Sequel games are tough -- much harder than expansions, in my opinion. What do you do? Do you treat the original as a "brand label" and go design a totally different game and then slap "Roll Through the Ages" on it? That's not satisfying. Do you "re-skin" the original game in a different setting, say, China? That can work, especially for games with lots of chrome or that are out of print, but it is tricky for a pretty clean design still in print. Do you design an expanded "Director's Cut"? Matt already did that, with his RTTA: Late Bronze Age print and play expansion (which I helped playtest).
A Little History
To find my way into this project, I reasoned that the Iron Age followed the Bronze Age and then considered Mediterranean empires during this period: The Phoenicians were a trading empire based on ports, which spread Iron Age technology to the Western Mediterranean. Their greatest colony, Carthage, eventually came into conflict with Rome. The Romans were a military empire, who gradually conquered and assimilated tribes on the Italian peninsula before expanding outwards, conquering barbarians and building roads and aqueducts. The Greeks did both, founding colonies, such as Syracuse, and using coinage to usurp Phoenician trade in the Aegean, while also engaging in conquest. Alexander the Great finally took Tyre, the most powerful Phoenician city-state for some 800 years. What if I took the Roll Through the Ages mechanics and adapted them to portray these different approaches to empire building?
Into the Iron Age
Roll Through the Ages: The Iron Age is a dice game for 1-4 players. Players each have a pegboard, whose tracks mark stored wealth, ships, armies, goods, and food, and a sheet to record their empire's rise to glory. Empires begin with one Port and Province apiece and, during setup, players build their choice of one more for free. Each turn, players roll as many empire dice as their number of Ports or Provinces, whichever is greater. Players can either specialize (to gain lots of dice) or try a balanced approach. Ports are expensive to build but produce more goods when goods faces are rolled, but require no food. Provinces produce armies and tribute (victory points) when built, but require food every turn. Unfed provinces result in -victory points. Players take turns rolling dice, collecting food and goods, and building ports, provinces, and developments in a manner similar to RTTA. Likewise, the empire dice are similar to RTTA's dice, with food, population, goods, innovations, and disaster faces. The disaster face is different, providing 1 good and 1 population (refugees), not 2 goods, to fit this game's larger scale.
In addition to empire dice, players also roll the special fate die. Its faces are drought and abundance (affecting food collection), a disaster, and conquest, tribute demand, and omens. A conquest result allows an empire, with a large enough army, to conquer barbarians to gain tribute at the cost of an army and making their next conquest more difficult, leading to diminishing returns unless the empire then builds even more armies.
A tribute demand allows a mighty empire to score tribute points equal to the difference in military strengths, for each weaker empire. A weaker empire -- if they chose to save a good for this purpose -- can choose to give the demanding empire a good instead, to prevent the stronger empire from scoring for it. This leads to jockeying for military dominance as well as some tough decisions for Port players whether to spend or save some goods to buy off the military players, should a tribute face be rolled.
Finally, the omens result allows the player to adjust one die (including possibly the fate die itself or a die showing a disaster face) to any desired face after all re-rolls occur. The fate die adds uncertainty to the game, so that military paths may or may not result in tribute gains during a given round of play. Since the leadership development allows a player to re-roll one die -- even the fate die -- it is more useful for militaristic players, which helps evoke the effects of mighty generals, such as Alexander.
TIming and Developments
Both a short game and a full game are provided. The short game is typically a race where the Port players are trying to get their economies going before a Province player can end the game on tribute. In the full game, what goes around, comes around, as the Port players now have enough time to build ships and a navy, and engage in conquest and tribute demands themselves. Meanwhile, the Province players run out of easy tribute gains and have to decide whether to make up the difference by going for monuments or somehow getting to expensive developments.
Besides Ports vs Provinces, the metallurgy, coinage, and architecture developments dramatically affect which dice results players want to roll and whether they should save up for expensive developments or build lots of mid-priced ones quickly to end the game. These additional sub-paths provide lots of possible strategies to explore.
Expanding into the Mediterranean
The Phoenicians, Romans, and Greeks all expanded into the Mediterranean, coming into conflict. I wanted to both capture this and add something completely new to Matt's game system. My first prototype put a crude outline of the Mediterranean on the sheets, so players could build and mark off colonies, paying population and ships, to gain victory points and varying advantages from different locations.
This ran into several problems: To fit on a crowded sheet, the map was tiny and hard to use. I wanted players to be able to partially build colonies and possibly displace others from them. This was awkward with pen and paper. The biggest problem, however, was that colonies were "one too many" things to explain to new players, even though experienced players liked them. When this happens, often an expansion is called for. Rules "indigestion" is solved by breaking up the learning curve across products. After learning and enjoying the base game, players can easily pick up the expansion rules later.
Of Pegboard Maps and Kickstarter
Once we decided to split off the colony map, presentation and packaging issues arose. We all believed that supplying a central pegboard map for the colonies would be ideal for the combined game plus expansion, both to provide a common play focus and to make partial colonies and displacing colonists easily work. Pegboards are expensive. How large could we make one at a reasonable price? Would a sequel game sell enough copies to support an expansion? Should we bundle the expansion and base game in one box, with separate rules sheets so player will -- hopefully -- not rush into the colony game? Should we release only the Iron Age base game and then decide if an expansion is feasible?
The last is what would have probably happened in earlier years. Now, with funding sources such as Kickstarter available, we could test the waters with a campaign where backers would effectively buy both. That way, if successful, the version we all wanted would at least get into some players' hands. Depending on how well things went, Gryphon could then combine the base game and expansion or release just the base game or release both to the wider market. Being able to structure a campaign, not just to push risk from the publisher to the consumer, but to gauge demand and sort out what to actually produce, strikes me as a fine use of crowd-sourcing.
The Roll through the Ages : Iron Age campaign has succeeded in its initial goal. It will be run through Dec. 13th. For myself, as a designer, I'm thrilled that both the game and expansion will be available, at least to backers.
Thanks for the Keys, Dad!
I'd like to thank Matt Leacock for the opportunity to take his RTTA game system out for a spin, even though -- like any proud Dad after loaning the keys to his car -- Matt winced a few times as I ground the gears... Matt also assisted a lot on the graphic design front, which I appreciate.
Cyril Van Der Haegen did a great job on graphics (love the final map!) and Gryphon Games was a pleasure to work with.
I'm happy that, despite my initial panic, I found a way to both honor Matt's original Roll Through the Ages game system, while making The Iron Age a different and engaging play experience. Enjoy!
A General Note about Add-ons
Add-on #1 -- Extra Dice Sets
Add-on #2 -- Extra Pads of Score Sheets
Add-on #3 -- Custom Metal Pegs--$15
Note: The colors of the pegs shown below are not final--but they should be quite close (the anodizing process is what will determine this).
Add-on #4 -- Four Extra Fate Dice -- $5
The pictures and description of this Add-On all appear above.
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EU supporters take note: We are now shipping from inside the EU. It will take more time for the game to get to you as a result but this means that you will NOT be paying additional fees and taxes to receive your games. Add-ons cost a bit more to ship than indicated below and that will need to be added as noted, but otherwise the costs mentioned are the final shipping costs for one game--you will not be paying any extra for customs and taxes.
The following shipping terms are pertinent to shipping ONE game of Roll Through the Ages: The Iron Age only.
For anything other than one game of RTTA: IA (e.g. multiple copies or "bundled add-ons") you will need to contact us and let us know your country and what you would like us to ship to you. Keep in mind that bundles and greater quantities will always save you money on international shipping. It is typically the first game that is expensive and the "add-ons" are not nearly as expensive on a per game basis. For instance, one RTTA: IA Game plus any one add-on will typically add only about $9 (+/-) to your shipping. And one RTTA: IA Game plus two add-ons will only add another $16 +/- ($9 + $7) to your shipping.
We are subsidizing international shipping by $7 per order and this is reflected in the amounts quoted below. This is the amount we are subsidizing for shipping in the US. We will ship internationally only to the countries on the following lists. Please add the amount indicated below to your pledge depending on the country you want us to ship to.
FOR CANADA ONLY -- please add $15 to your pledge for shipping.
FOR AUSTRALIA ONLY -- please add $18 to your pledge for shipping.
FOR EU Backers: Please NOTE and READ the paragraph above--directly under the International Shipping header.
For Belgium and the Netherlands, please add $15 to your pledge for shipping.
For Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, & The United Kingdom, please add $19 to your pledge for shipping.
For Austria, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, & Sweden, please add $24 to your pledge for shipping.
For Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, please add $27 to your pledge for shipping.
For Argentina, Brazil, China, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, S.Korea, Taiwan, & Thailand, please add $35 to your pledge for shipping.
If the country you reside in is NOT on these lists, you might consider using a US freight forwarder address in the US and we will ship to that US address for free.
For multiple games or if you have questions about shipping internationally, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Eagle & Gryphon Games are committed to producing games of the highest quality, both in production and game play. We feel it is important that people who buy Roll Through the Ages: The Iron Age receive a game that is well made and will be in playable condition for many years. RTTA: IA will be produced using the best printing, box and components available.
Thanks for your support of this Kickstarter Project!
Please direct any questions to: email@example.com
Risks and challenges
Eagle Games and Gryphon Games have participated in 25 successful Kickstarter projects completed in 2011, 2012 and 2013, and all of our projects have shipped out either in the same month we originally projected or within 30-45 days thereafter. We have been more than 30 days earlier than projected, but never more than 45 days later. In late 2012 and 2013 alone, we successfully Kickstart funded AND delivered 7 projects: Salmon Run, Triassic Terror, Wizard's Brew, Railways Express, Railways of North America, Karesansui, and Francis Drake. All these projects have been delivered to backers, 6 on or ahead of schedule and 1 within 45 days of projections. In August and September, we ran successful Kickstarter projects for Defenders of the Realm, Cubist and Dawn: Rise of the Accolytes. Production is underway for these three games and we expect on-time shipments to our Backers within the next six months as planned. Even so, there are always unpredictable events which can occur that might delay our projects. We will do our best to avoid them, but there is always the risk that the project might be delayed. Shipping can be a particularly difficult challenge when it involves destinations outside the US (and sometimes even within the US as well). We know from the start that we cannot get our games to the EU or Australia as quickly as we do to the US, therefore the estimated delivery date we show above is for the US only. We will obtain tracking information when it is possible, but sometimes it is not. We cannot guarantee that there will not be shipping problems as we cannot guarantee the service and reliability of the various postal/delivery services involved around the world. You will have to assume that risk along with us. We have been producing board games for over 12 years and we have a good reputation for the quality of our productions because we want them to be far better than average. This is why we visit and choose our materials and our Chinese partners/factories carefully. However, mistakes happen occasionally that we cannot control--such as missing or defective components. When they do, our customer service department will work with you to take care of production problems that might arise. Please contact us with regard to any such issues within 90 days of receiving your copy of the game.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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