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By Martyn F
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About this project

'The replayability of this game is really immense!' (Englishhttps://www.boardgamegeek.com/video/70287/epoch-early-inventors/jplay-previews-epoch-early-inventors

Rated: 8 out of 10! 'Hat man sich aber erstmal in das Spiel eingearbeitet (was spätestens nach drei Partien der Fall sein dürfte), braucht man die Übersichten kaum noch und man wird mit einem fesselnden Spiel belohnt, das die Stein- und Bronzezeit am Spieltisch hautnah wieder aufleben lässt. Klasse!' (Germanhttp://www.spielkult.de/epoch.htm

'Epoch - Early Inventors ist sehr gut ausbalanciert und sorgt so für spannende und im Endergebnis meist knappe Partien.' (Germanhttp://www.spiele-und-spieler.blogspot.co.at/2015/05/test-rezension-epoch-early-inventors.html

'Do you enjoy planning a few moves ahead and figuring out a way to get the resources you need one turn before one of your opponents?' (Englishhttp://opinionatedgamers.com

'(..) you can feel the atmosphere of the early inventors of humanity.' - For2Players (Polish): http://www.for2players.pl/2015/05/epoch-early-inventors-recenzja.html

'This game has a "sandbox" feeling to it in that you are not directed to any specific strategy - BigBoxGamers (Bulgarian): http://bigboxgamers.com/epoch-early-inventors-preview/

'Je wilt zoveel doen en toch mag je maar één actie doen in je beurt.' - E&E's Spellenmolen (Dutch): http://www.spellenmolen.be/epoch-early-inventors/

Epoch - Early Inventors from award winning game author Martyn F (martynf.com) takes you back in time to the Bronze Age. Recreate history or follow your own path!

Become the tribe leader by exploring the landscape and gathering the raw materials needed to develop tools and skills. Fish for food, hunt for deerskins and trade with the other players. Travel the earth by foot or canoe while also making sure to appease the gods.

Do you have it in you to become a legend amongst your tribe?

In Epoch - Early Inventors you and the other players are all part of the same tribe and compete for leadership by gaining the most status. You must explore and forage in order to develop bronze-age technologies and offer to the gods. At first the number of possible inventions may seem daunting, but after one or two games, you will have a rough idea of how it all fits together. And then you will start to appreciate the numerous possible strategies and the depth of the game.

At the start of the game all landscape tiles are shuffled and placed face down on the table to form a  rugged unknown world. During the game, you will explore these tiles. Grass and forest will be easy to cross. Drifting sands and mountains a lot harder.

Epoch - Early Inventors has a unique game system: each of the landscape tiles features a tool or skill on the back that is only revealed when you explore it.

Invent a new tool by 'paying' the resources depicted on the tile. Each player will develop 6-10 of the 21 available technologies in a game. So choose carefully!

To invent a tool or skill, you will need raw material and/or processed material. You can acquire raw material when you work. The landscape surrounding your camp will influence which materials can be easily found and which ones are more difficult to come by. Putting your back into it may help you acquire more material, but also requires more food.

Since the amount of effort you can exert is limited, you will often want to move your camp onto the landscapes where the raw material you need is easy to come by. Of course if you have already invented gloves, axe, knife, shovel and/or mining axe it takes less effort to get the raw material you need.

Moving your camp means you have to carry all the resources you have already gathered but you can only carry so much. Any excess food or material must be left behind. Anyone (such as another player) is free to take any of these resources that they happen to find.

Domesticating the horse or inventing the basket, canoe or cart enables you to carry more resources. Having boots or a cloak means less food is required when moving around.

As you can imagine, moving around and working costs a lot of food. So at some point you will need to gather extra food or go fishing. Technologies such as pottery, sowing, a fishing pole, hoop nets and spears increase your ability to acquire food. Alternatively you could go hunting, especially if you have a bow or a spear. You can eat the deer you catch immediately or take an extra action to butcher it. Then you not only get food, but also skins, antlers and sinew, which are a great help in inventing new tools.

To cast bronze, make rope or leather, there has to be someone who invents it. Otherwise, no one will be able to create these processed materials at all.

Processed materials make it a lot easier to invent other skills. Without leather you cannot invent boots. Without rope, climbing the mountains is almost impossible.

Processed materials are also very much appreciated by the gods. There are always four holy places where you can bring an offer. The gods will reward you lavishly if you manage to offer to them all!

Replayability guaranteed!

Epoch - Early Inventors really gives you the feeling that you are living in the Bronze Age and inventing new tools along the way. Everything in the game is connected to each other in a logical and realistic way. No food means no travelling or working. If you do not work you cannot come by any raw material. Without raw material it is impossible to invent any new tool. If you cannot carry your stuff you have to leave it behind.

Most of the time when you play this game, only about seventy percent of the tools or skills will be invented by the players and setup is almost completely random. This means that every game will be new and different. Will you follow the historical path or will you create your own?

Controlling key technologies is important since your opponents will want to bargain for their use. Combining your own inventions with those developed by others is the key to winning the game.

Every game will be a new journey and brings new insights! Are you able to develop the best combination of skills and tools? Can you spare enough to win the favor of the gods as well?

Short overview

Complete walkthrough

         

Please be aware that this is a Preview Rulebook. It is not final. Rules may still be tweaked, layouts and graphics may still be altered. So, some aspects of the final game may be different from what you see here. Please understand that during the Kickstarter campaign the project is still under development and all aspects of the game are subject to improvements.

German and Dutch rulebooks will be added to BGG and my site as the campaign develops.

Genuine historical theme

Whereas in many games the theme is just a nice finish, in Epoch - Early Inventors every effort has been made to engrain the thematic aspects into the game.

During the late Stone Age and Bronze Age humans developed many new tools and skills. This led to a huge step forward for our species. I have incorporated almost all known inventions from this period into this game. A group of archeologists from Leiden University ((http://www.leiden.edu/) have helped in designing the game with as much historical accuracy as possible.

Like those early inventors from the Bronze Age, you can develop tools like axes, knives, bows, fishing poles and spears as well as skills like rope making, bronze casting and tanning. These tools and skills will be important in helping you improve your ability to gather food, fish, hunt butcher work and explore.

The appendix will not only explain each card in more detail but it will also contain interesting archeological background information.

Adventure

Playing Epoch – Early Inventors is one big adventure. Not only does it incorporate a surprisingly large number of game elements, these elements are all combined into a seamless playing experience that will make you feel like you are an explorer in unknown territory.

The first few games are very explorative. You will find new ways of developing your clan. As your understanding of the game and its tiles grows, you will recognize that there is more to this game than just the collection of raw materials and the development of new skills.

Offering to the gods is also a very important feature. They are picky and will only be satisfied by certain combinations of resources. First come, first serve means that players must "race" to be the first ones to offer a sacrifice.

And just as you think you have seen it all, the expansion offers new tiles and strategies!

Competition and fun

Since all players are clan members from the same tribe, there will be some wheeling and dealing, but no one can ruin your strategy or your game. There are so many strategies possible, that you can always head in in another direction if another player is in your way somehow.

For experienced players offering to the gods will become an exciting "race" towards the end of the game. But even then, there are always other options open if the player before you made the same offer you were planning on making.

Luck

Epoch - Early Inventors features a small component of luck. You can reduce the influence of that by developing the right tools. It all depends on the choices you make.

But if you want you can easily play the game without any luck. 

Number of players

Epoch – Early Inventors is very enjoyable with 3 or 4 players and also plays very well with 2 players.

44 Tiles - 21 Different types: each with a landscape on the back and an invention on the front + 2 village tiles (Size appr.: 72x62x2mm card board).

5 Holy places + 5 extensions (Size appr.: 72x62x2mm card board). The illustrations are not complete yet, what you see here is a  prototype (not all tiles are depicted).

4 Carrier boards (2mm card board)

48 Huts (wood), 64 Food cubes, 32 + 8 Status (2mm card board or wood), 4 Camps (wood), 7 Dice, 16 Offer tokens (2mm card board or wood).

Depending on unlocked stretch goals, most printed components will hopefully be replaced by wooden components.

200 Raw and Processed Material counters - flax, stone, clay, wood (twigs), deer, flint, (copper) ore, rope, antler, leather, skin, sinews and bronze. (Size: at least 26x26x2mm).

4 Overviews, 2 Booklets, Game rules and Appendix (with interesting archeological background information).

20 Tiles (10 different types), 3 Holy places, 1 Holy place extension and game rules.

The adventurer makes it possible to move onto unexplored tiles. The relic gives you 1 food each turn and 1 extra work power when working. The dog makes it possible to reroll the dice. The raft is a big canoe (with more storage room and higher status!). Tunneling enables you to dig for stone, flint and ore more efficiently. The negotiator is helpful when exploring: for every 2 food you can take 1 processed material.

The pathfinder earns an extra status every time you explore 2 cards in one turn. The venus figurine gives you extra status when offering. Wisdom allows you to invent a tool without paying the food needed to invent it. The traveler can exchange 1 processed material for any other material (max. twice per turn).

There will be three new holy places included. The first will split a fixed number of points among all players that offered at the holy place. The second holy place gives the highest reward to the highest number of different raw and processed materials offered by the players. The third one will ask you to offer raw and processed materials in a certain sequence. The more items in the sequence that you can offer, the more points you will receive.

Strategies and player interaction

The extra landscape tiles and holy places are shuffled together with the tiles from the base game before setup. Of course you can also choose to replace tiles from the base game with some or all of the tiles from the expansion. The expansion does not influence the playing time!

The new tiles enhance the number of strategies possible. Furthermore, you will not be able to rely on inherent strategies, as the availability of certain tiles will vary each game.

The new tiles not only bring more variation to the game, but also more player interaction.

By backing this project you will make it possible to have this game produced!

But you will also be able to influence the physical development of the game. You will get a say in what player colours there will be. Which counters will be upgraded to playing pieces. You will even get a say in what extra sets of tiles you would like to have if we do not unlock all stretch goals!

The more stretch goals we reach, the more influence you have!

Some of the stretch goals are exclusive to backers. You should be rewarded for supporting this board game from the start!

                   

Note: The playing pieces shown in the illustrations of the stretch goals  will not necessarily be available as options to choose from.

If there are more than 150 backers in any other language, I will add the game rules and booklet in their own language. The tiles will still have the English names.

If there are more than 250 backers in any other language, I will also be able to change the language on the tiles.

I will roughly calculate this during the campaign, based on the country of origin of the backers. I will ask you what language you prefer after the campaign has finished.

I will also launch this campaign on Spieleschmiede to attract extra (German) backers. These backers will count towards the totals needed to add extra languages to the game.

               

Note: This is your chance to get your hands onto this game that is normally only available in Germany and the Netherlands.

I have chosen for the power of crowdfunding because of three reasons:

1. I love the interaction with fans and the new ideas and inspiration this gives me.

2. I believe crowdfunding is the future of the economy. Backers can help shape the product to their wishes.

3. I want to make a series of games about the past. They will have different rules, but some elements will be the same. I would love to do this together with you!

To avoid shipping costs, you can pick up your game at Spiel'15 in Essen. Please choose the appropriate pledge level if you want to do this.

If you cannot or will not pick up your game, I will have it shipped to you. I have a fulfillment partner who will do this for me. They have over 10 years of experience with shipping games.

Shipping rates are fixed and will not change.

Costs of the game including shipping are as follows (dollar prices based on the rate of 1,14 doller per euro):

If the game is not delivered because of an error on our part, we will resend it free of charge.

If the game is not delivered because of an error and/or other actions on your part (wrong address, recipient repeatedly absent at the provided address, etc.), you will have to pay €40 to have us resend the game to you (this includes the costs of the game returning to us).

If for any reason, you wish to withdraw your backing after the Kickstarter has ended, I will work with you to make this happen.

If you cancel within 14 days of the end of the Kickstarter campaign, I will be able to offer an 80% refund (less Kickstarter, bank and CC processing fees).

For a refund request after this 14 day period, please send me an e-mail via martynf.com and I will try to work with you for a partial refund if possible, but you will be responsible for return shipping (if necessary).

If for any reason you feel that your game is defective (ie you have a missing piece or the game is damaged), please email me via martynf.com. Please add photos if possible, and I will work to replace the missing or damaged items ASAP.

Games for backers within the EU are shipped from within the EU, so you don't have to worry about extra charges.

Games for backers within the United States are shipped from within the US. No worries about extra charges.

Backers living outside the United States and EU, may have customs taxes added. Although this usually does not happen for games, it is the responsibility of individual backers to verify the shipping and taxes regulations within their own countries.

Game specifications and contents shown above are prototypes and may be changed during final production. This is not my intention and I do not think it will happen, but there are always unforeseeable circumstances. If it does happen, I will keep you posted of course!

Kickstarter Exclusives listed here are considered Limited Edition. Should any remain after fulfillment of the campaign, they will be used as promotional items.

All Exclusives are subject to possible future inclusion in any potential future Kickstarter expansions should future demand warrant it.

Kickstarter Exclusives will NOT be available in any eventual retail copies.

I will not accept complaints related to this campaign later than 12 months after it has finished.

Risks and challenges

Once the project is funded, the risks are minimal.

I have a European company producing the complete game. They have produced thousands of games, so they know what they are doing.

The illustrations are 90% finished at the start of the campaign. They will probably be finished before the end of it.

I myself have published 4 games and 5 expansions (via Emma Games) in previous years (see www.martynf.com) and I ran a crowdfunding project for my game Oklahoma Boomers.

This game has no risky game pieces, so no delays are expected.

If anything does happen, however, I have planned enough time to correct it and make amends.

And of course I will keep you posted about the progress.

The estimated delivery date is October 2015. If all goes well, I will be able to ship sooner. Due to the logistics of international shipping, backers in different regions of the world may receive their rewards sooner than others.

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Funding period

- (27 days)