Five mighty empires are at war for the world, but you are no mighty ruler. Instead, you'll be playing a secret society who is betting on the hopeful victors of this war while pulling strings to rig the results and ensure your bets pay off. A War of Whispers is a game of area control, hidden agendas, and shifting loyalties, that offers deep strategy within a tight playing time.
You start the game with 5 Loyalty Tokens, each corresponding to one of the 5 different empires, bet randomly on a loyalty value.
Your goal is to ensure that when the game ends, the empires you are most loyal to control the most cities across the map. You will influence the actions of these empires by placing spies in their ruling councils, which will give you control over certain functions of that empire: attacking, unit placement, etc.
Gameplay consists of turns broken down into the following phases:
- Deploy Agents — Each player deploys their agents to empire council positions. Sheriffs solidify an empire, Stewards draw cards or boost a single region, the Marshall prepares for battle, and the Chancellor exercises their authority by copying other agent positions.
- Empire Turns — Each council position on each empire council will take an action such as attacking, drawing or playing a card, or marching your banners. Cards are empire-specific but can be combined with cards from other empires for devastating combos. The combat resolution is diceless and brutal — forces exchange at a 1:1 ratio.
In the above example, the player takes the Sheriff action by placing 2 banners, then the Marshall action by attacking 2 banners into enemy territory.
- Mark the Turn — Pass the first player marker clockwise and advance the marker on the turn track. The game will end immediately when the marker hits the final spot on the fourth round.
- Swap (optional) — Each player may swap 2 of their unrevealed loyalty tokens. If they choose to do so, they must reveal both of the swapped loyalty tokens and leave them revealed for the rest of the game.
- Cleanup — Each player discards down to 5 cards.
How do I play cards?
You play cards during your Empire Turn. To play the card, you must discard cards of the empire and quantities shown in the cost listed beside the chosen ability.
In the above example, 2 cards are discarded to take advantage of the Bear Empire's Mercenaries ability: destroy 3 banners in any region.
How do I win?
To determine the winner, players reveal all of their loyalty tokens that were placed secretly at the start of the game. Multiply the loyalty bonus by the number of cities each empire controls. The graphic above represents a sample final scoring for the Pale Raven player:
- Lion — 2 Cities x 4 Loyalty (Devout) = 8
- Elephant — 3 Cities x 3 Loyalty (Dutiful) = 9
- Bear — 1 City x 2 Loyalty (Affiliated) = 2
- Eagle — 4 Cities x 0 Loyalty (Unallied) = 0
- Horse — 2 Cities x (-1) Loyalty (Opposed) = -2
The final score for the Pale Raven player is 17 (8 + 9 + 2 + 0 - 2).
The player who scores the most points is the winner. If two players are tied for equal points then the player that swapped loyalty the least during the game wins. If both players are still tied, the player with the most empire cards in hand wins.
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Are you planning to be at the Origins Game Fair? Hey, us too! We'll have a prototype of A War of Whispers available for demos, so come see us at the Starling Games Booth, #1132/1134, if you want to give it a try!
Game Design: Jeremy Stoltzfus
Art: Tomasz Jedruszek
Art Direction, Graphic Design, Map Illustration: Dann May
Game and Creative Development: Dann May, Brenna Noonan, Jeremy Stoltzfus
Additional Graphics and Development: Cody Jones
Kickstarter and Social Media: Brenna Noonan
Executive Producer: Dan Yarrington
Published by: Starling Games
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