Prepare to be transported back 2,300 years to ancient China. You are commanding an army. Your mission: the capture of enemy forces and their elimination. Your guide: Sun Tzu, a real life Chinese general and author of the classic Taoist treatise "The Art of War.” As a commanding general, you must ensure a steady flow of supplies to your forces; you must navigate a geographic terrain that changes with each game; you must learn to use the vortex judiciously; it can transport forces across the board in a single leap or it can send them to their doom! You can initiate a cavalry charge or take defensive action. Each time you take possession of the dice, you must make decisions that may prove crucial, even fatal. The rules are simple, but success requires a complex set of skills involving mathematical ability and strategic savvy.
About The Game
Bin'Fa is a game for 2-6 players, with a play-time of twenty minutes to two hours. A player controls at least one but can control up to three armies per game. The recommended age is 12+ years. In Bin-Fa, the armies move over a landscape that is different each game. You can use the board sections to create inlets, peninsulas, isthmuses, lakes, and more. Adding vortex and terrain markers allows you even more control over the layout of the game board and how it will be traversed. Your ability to take advantage of the layout of the battlefield is crucial to victory and defeat.
A few sample board layouts:
Each army is made up of 12 Army Units, one General, and one Supply Pawn. At the start of your turn, you must decide if you are going for supplies or moving your army. On taking possession of the dice: first see if any of your Army Units are in danger and if so, respond defensively; second, see if any of your opponent's Army Units are vulnerable and, if possible, attack; third, if neither of these choices applies, go for supplies. Sun Tzu says: "Do not move without considering all the possibilities. Move always with a clear purpose."
The rules for movement of your army allow you to simulate many strategies from the ancient battlefield. Even “cavalry charges” are possible—where a unit dashes across the board to attack an enemy position. Your mission is to surround and eliminate enemy Army Units until only your Army is left, leaving you the victor.
Deals and alliances can be made in the open or in secret. But only one commander can emerge victorious: knowing when and with whom to form alliances and when to break them can sometimes determine who wins and who loses. You can view the rule book here: http://www.bin-fa.com/00images/files/BinFa-InstructionBook-Proof4.pdf
Bin'Fa is a game that has been over 40 years in development! It's first printing was in 1977, a limited run of 500 games.
Without the money to market the game, Ken shopped around for a publisher. In 1979, Avalon Hill published Bin'Fa under a new name, Hexagony.
"When I started at Avalon Hill, I discovered a huge number of boxes and unopened packages. There must have been more than a hundred boxes, all containing prototypes. I was in charge of deciding the fate of all these prototypes. The first step was to read the rules to every game. That narrowed the field down to about two-dozen games, with the rest all being sent back to their owners. I play tested the remaining candidates and wound up with a half dozen or so that I thought were really good. From this process, I became the developer on HEXAGONY." - Alan Moon, Designer of "Ticket To Ride" and considered to be one of the foremost designers of German-style board games.
After its acceptance at Avalon Hill but before publication, Ken realized that by using stackable checkers pieces, as many as twelve army units could occupy a triangle; the change totally transformed the game. Unfortunately, Avalon Hill was loath to incorporate the change and instead relegated it an “optional rules” section. In 1986, Ken was able to get the copyright for Bin'Fa returned to him and continued to work on its development, incorporating new ideas and rules based on game play and reviewers' comments.
In 2000, the Seacoast Edition of Bin'Fa was published, again in a run of 500.
Named after the part of New Hampshire where Ken was living, it gathered rave reviews, but was not marketed or tied to a distribution network and Ken did not run a second printing. Meanwhile, numerous incremental changes continued to be made to enhance the player's experience with the game.
The biggest change to Bin'Fa came when Ken realized that the battle sector, which had to this point always been in the shape of a Hexagon comprised of six large triangles, each comprising 16 smaller triangles, was only just one of an almost infinite number of configurations. By deconstructing the battle sector and rearranging the six elements in various ways, the game was transformed. Instead of a simple hexagon, now there could be lakes and inlets, continents and isthmuses; no two games would ever be played over the same topography again.
It is a testament to Ken’s pursuit of perfection that it took four decades to complete his work. He now intends to devote himself to the Bin’Fa Association, Bin'Fa Tournaments, and to the Taoist Arts Foundation.
The new version has many changes from those familiar with its previous incarnations, such as the addition of the General; Vortexes that allow you to traverse the board in one move, appearing where east expected; rule changes governing the gathering of supplies, and the separation of the original hexagon shaped game board into six separate game board sections which offer almost limitless possibilities for new terrain each game.
"I could be happy to play no other board game... The game is just great fun to play. The varied terrain, the die-rolling, the different ways to play, the interesting strategic choices, keep Bin'Fa fresh, original and entertaining. The new edition of Bin´Fa is absolutely beautiful. Most importantly Bin´Fa's gameplay is first rate... this game will blow you away" The Games Journal, Mitchell Thomashow
"Invariably exciting and pleasurable... One of the best strategy board games on the market to date. It's an engrossing game of wits that's exciting, limitless, and sophisticated yet minimal with a style that's unpretentious... a game that vacillates between moments of absorbed contemplation, frantic action, and jaw-dropping disbelief... Bin´Fa is enrapturing... Without a doubt Bin´Fa is a must to own" 5 star Wargamer Award for Excellence - The Wargamer
"Bin´Fa combines simplicity and challenging play in a game that is worth playing over and over... this latest edition has a good balance of simplicity and depth to make an exciting multiplayer wargame. One thing that contributes to the replay value is the terrain that players can place anywhere to start the game... Few board games rival it's quality." Game Caravan.com
"I will add another voice of praise to this game... after my single session, I find myself eager to try this game again. Bin´Fa surprised me. Abstract games are not usually my favorites. However once we got it on the game table, I found the full game to be a lot of fun!" TheGameBistro.com, Kevin Whitmore
"It is a stimulating game that will provide something new and unanalyzed for Go and Chess fans without being so simple as to bore you after a few tries." The American Wargamer
"What elevates Bin'Fa from the myriad games of abstract strategy, however, is the addition of supply. Surrounding the play area is a series of 42 colored circles. Players begin with supply chips, the exact amount determined by die roll, and a supply marker in their matching color. In turn, a player may move his armies (at a cost of one supply chip per roll of the die) OR try to get more supplies. This is done by moving his supply piece (via die roll) along the outer perimeter track of colored circles. Land on a color in a sector where your armies occupy a space and you collect supply chips (as many chips as spaces you have moved). Land on the home colors of an opponent (each player has a home base of 3 spaces) and you can either collect supply chips from the bank OR that opposing player." Herb Levy, Gamers Alliance
See Board Game Geek for loads more reviews under the Hexagony and Bin'Fa names. http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1512/hexagony
Check out "The Nerd Nighters" podcast interview of Bin'Fa Creator, my dad, and me, filmed and broadcast just 24 hours after the launch of this KS! Keep watching the show to learn which ten games these two great hosts would keep if there was no other choice but these ten. Thanks JR and Andrew for having us on the show!
Another thank you goes out to Milton Griepp for wanting to share our news and thank you to a great write-up from Nicole Bunge in ICv2 on November 3rd! Check the article out here: http://tinyurl.com/lkvjaun
And another thank you goes out to Dad's Gaming addition for the write up and posting of our press release. Check the article out here
And thank you to Ludo Noticias for their write-up of this Kickstarter campaign - read it here
Foxhole Fiver interviewed Bin'Fa designer, Ken Hodkinson in this week's Meeple Mechanic! Check the interview out here.
Risks and challenges
Bin'Fa is currently in production for a first print run of 1,000 games. We would love to increase this order. The games are due to be shipped to us at the end of January, with an expected delivery date for our KS backers by February 2015.
We have put over $13,000 into this edition of the game. We collaborated with William Niebling, a professional, technical rules writer, to develop the rules with clarity and brevity; graphic designer, Gina Cardino, http://ginicidesign.com, who helped us incorporate the original 1977 brilliant artwork of Dana Franzen into the new game design and developed numerous graphic images of the new game for us; web developer, John Dehnart at CrossTimber http://www.crosstimber.name; videographer, Vanessa Williams; and our printer, Charles Levin of Quality Playing Cards: http://qualityplayingcards.net. A huge thanks goes to Marcelo Figueroa for his invaluable advice throughout this entire endeavor!
I (Erika) am working with my dad on the marketing, business development and logistics of bringing the game to market. Together, we have successfully already brought to market "The Reading Game" launched in September of 2011, which has won multiple awards, is sold at over 80 retailers and is in its second edition.
Our goal with this Kickstarter is to raise awareness of the game and increase our print run. We also would like to be able to send a free demo-sample to as many Toy and Hobby shops in the United States as we are able. We want stores and their customers to have a chance to see the game, play it at game nights and thereby build up our retailer customer base.
If we make or surpass our Kickstarter goal, we will be able to increase our print run commiserate with the funds we raise.
The MSRP for Bin'Fa: The Tao of War will be $37.95.
We will be launching Bin'Fa: The Tao of War to retailers at the GAMA trade show in March 2015. If we have enough games, we will be giving out samples to retailers to bring back to their stores to share with their customers. In June, we will be attending the Origins show in Columbus, OH where we will hold the first ever Bin'Fa Tournament, to find the first Bin'Fa champion! Sign ups for the tournament are on the Bin'Fa website at http://www.bin-fa.com/tournaments.html.
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