Funded! This project was successfully funded on May 30, 2012.

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Isaac Newton, Rembrandt, Oliver Cromwell and Moliere come to life as 17th century monarchs vie to be the most influential in Europe.

Yay, we made it! Check out the stretch goals: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/177499259/road-to-enlightenment/posts/227174

Check out the Road to Enlightenment rulebook (very large PDF file) here: http://bit.ly/JMVopB

A continental struggle for prestige: religion, science, art and warfare

Road to Enlightenment gives players control of great scientists, artists, philosophers, religious leaders, politicians and military leaders, bringing them uniquely and individually to life.

You play as one of the great monarchs from 17th and early 18th century Europe representing one of the seven top powers of the era: Austria, England, France, Poland, Russia, Spain or Sweden. Your objective is to be recognized as the most prestigious monarch by producing the most admired art and culture, lead the continent in scientific innovations, spread or resist the spread of Catholicism, and attempt military expansion beyond your historical borders. All of this is accomplished by marshaling 134 historical "luminaries": important historical figures covering every relevant domain of human achievement during the period.

The luminaries are rated in between one and seven different areas of endeavour: military, politics, religion, ideas, science, art or wealth. Additionally, each luminary has a unique Action, Enhancement or Response based on their real historical achievements to be brought to bear in service of your nation.

Consider the difference between Rembrandt and Vermeer. Both are important and wonderful artists. But in the real-life Dutch Republic, Rembrandt was famous and well-patronized, composing hundreds of celebrated portraits in his career. Vermeer was obscure produced an order of magnitude less art in his career. In Road to Enlightenment, Rembrandt has higher ratings and gives you a benefit every single time another luminary is removed from the game, reflecting the influence and nature of his portraiture. On the other hand, Vermeer only provides a modest benefit to reflect the limited impact his career had at the time. 

 

Complex cultural factors seamlessly integrated

Invading other countries in the 17th century was a complex mix of cultural, religious and logistical considerations. These have all been baked into the various territories on the map, making it quick and easy to make decisions around where to try and attack. 

  • You can only attempt to invade territories that have your nations colour on the top of the circle. Those are the only nations that could have even possibly successfully invaded that territory in real-life.
  • The number associated with each nation's colour indicates how difficult it would be to successfully conquer. In the case of London, it is very difficult for Spain, France or Sweden to conquer it.
  • The religious symbol in the lower left corner lets the player know whether the territory is primarily Catholic, primarily Anti-Catholic (Protestant, Russian Orthodox and other Christian branches) or primarily Islamic. If it is successfully invaded by a nation with a different religious affiliation it has an impact on the continental struggle between religions.
  • The lines connecting into London, and the anchor with an "A" in the lower right corner, indicate which territories need to be held by a player before they have access to attack. The anchor with an "A" indicates that any player who already owns another Atlantic port territory is connected and could choose to attack over the water.

With Road to Enlightenment, all of the intricacies related to managing military expansion is baked into these easy-to-use board mechanisms.

 

An innovative experience

In order to create a game that simulates the battle between nations for prestige - covering war, politics, religion, science and art - while focusing on many of the diverse people of history, we've mashed up aspects from wargames, Euro games, deck building games, and statistical sports simulations. While it is an eclectic mix, this broad spectrum approach to the game's design enabled this diverse and richly detailed set of conditions to come together in a game that is epic in scale but doesn't take all day to play.

The Box is Loaded!

  • Large mounted game board
  • 134 luminary cards
  • 21 action cards
  • 7 player aid cards
  • 7 leader mats
  • 56 wood nation blocks
  • 20 wood diplomacy blocks
  • 1 wood Battle for Christendom marker
  • 1 wood first player marker
  • 55 punchboard dubloons
  • 12 punchboard census markers
  • 4 punchboard replicas of historical medals
  • 6 six-sided dice
  • 1 12 page rulebook
  • 9 plastic zip bags to neatly hold all components

And we absolutely will be kicking it forward.

Don't forget the goodies...

We've created a limited number of sets of gorgeous metal doubloons as an "extra" for the game. If you like to pimp out your games and want to replace the serviceable cardboard money in the box with these beauties, buy a package that adds them to your game. And for a limited number of gamers who aren't interested in Road to Enlightenment but want some of these sweet, sweet peripherals, you can buy them on their own as well. We've seen metal game coins sold on Kickstarter before, but nothing as intricate as these historically modeled, edgeless (hand-stamped-style) doubloons. Edge set include quantities 5, 10 and 40 of denominations 10, 5 and 1, respectively.

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Springboard Approved

The Springboard Seal of Quality is your assurance that a new game project is worth your time and attention. All titles approved for Springboard campaigns are vetted by the game professionals at Game Salute. During this comprehensive evaluation process, Game Salute works with the publisher to ensure solid designs, thorough play testing, excellent presentation, and high quality components.

Shipping outside the U.S.

For all backing levels below $250, please over-pledge by $15 for Canada, $30 elsewhere in the world. 

Thanks to considerable demand, we are now offering two specials for some potential non-U.S. based backers:

1. We are offering a $70 level for which you can pick up your copy of Road to Enlightenment at Spiel 2012 in Essen, Germany in October. Back for $90 and pick this reward level to also get a set of metal doubloons. If you have already backed at a higher level but want Essen pick-up you may decrease your pledge and pick this option!

2. We are offering 3-game packs to Canada for $195 with free shipping. Overpledge in $20 increments to add sets of doubloons to this backing level. You may also add more copies of the game at $65 each. If you already backed for a single set and are interested in this package, either increase your original pledge and choose this option, or cancel your pledge and include your order with someone else's you are coordinated with.

THANK YOU to all current backers and those who have pushed for these new options.

Special thanks to Derick Bores for creating our videos!

FAQ

  • We are only discounting sets of doubloons sold with the game. So, one set of doubloons purchased with a game costs $20 ($85 overall, $20 more than just buying the game). However, any extra sets of doubloons you buy will cost $25 each.

    Given their very high quality - and relatedly high expense - we are only discounting them when sold with one or more copies of the game.

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  • No. If something is included in a higher funding level it will be explicitly stated, either on the higher level clarifying its inclusion, or on the lower level saying that this will be included with all higher levels.

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  • There are two games in the box:

    The main game, with the board and all of the pieces, is 3-7 players. It plays best with 4 or more. As long as you don't mind the time investment, the game gets richer as more players are added. If everyone knows how to play it is no more than 30 minutes per player. First time thru add 60-90 minutes total.

    There are also rules for a "pocket" game which only require the luminary cards and some of the small bits as markers. That is for 2-4 players and takes 30 minutes or less.

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  • Each player is one of seven rulers from the period: Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I (Austria), King William III (England), Louis XIV (France), Jan III Sobieski (Poland), Peter the Great (Russia), Philip IV (Spain), Charles XII (Sweden).

    On a turn you will have three "favourites" face-up on your leader mat for use and a further seven luminaries in your hand. More will be in a personal discard pile, called the exhausted pile. Here are the turn phases:

    1. Prepare. During this phase you make deals with other players - "deals" is in the loose sense here of working together and having a strategy. To win wars, in particular, you need to work together. As in real-life Europe of the period it is certainly a balance of power. Then you prepare your two actions for the turn. Using your cards you identify the actions you want to take - which will have to do with attacking, diplomacy, religion, science or art - and place the relevant cards face-down in the corresponding spots on your leader mat.

    2. Resolve Actions. Starting with the first player, each player resolves their first action. Once complete, each player resolves their second action.

    3. Cultural Census. On 40% of the turns there will (randomly) be what is called a cultural census, which in essence is a "perception check" of who seems to have the most religious influence, scientific success, or artistic majesty. This is optional and for people who participate in it, will replace their second action for the turn.

    4. Upkeep. During this phase you collect taxes and trade - to replenish your money - and pay upkeep. Upkeep varies from country to country, ranging from Spain (far-flung colonial and continental holdings, 7 per turn) to Russia (modest, somewhat backwards continental only holdings, 1 per turn). Additionally whenever you expand to take a new territory it increases your upkeep by 1.

    5. Refresh. Shuffle your exhausted luminaries and draw your hand back to 7. Pass the first player marker to the left.

    The game revolves around the luminaries. They, for the most part, are the catalysts for all of the actions, enhancements (make actions better), and responses (screwage to other people's actions). You "stack them up" and use them based either on their rating or abilities. Ratings wise, for example, in a battle you stack up the luminaries you want to use, add their total rating with your army strength (depending on if the battle is initiated over land or water, all different for every ruler), add then comparing both sides investment roll dice trying for 6's to resolve. The cultural things are even faster/more straightforward to resolve.

    Prestige gained via military is by conquering territories.

    Prestige gained by religion is all Catholic nations versus all "Anti-Catholic nations. It is a "tug of war" track. If the marker is on Catholic side at the end of the game they all get points, vice-versa for Anti-Catholic.

    Science and Art are knockdown tracks, reflecting that they are about simply trying to seem, comparative to all other nations, the most prestigious in each area. You move up, if you end on the same spot as someone else, they move down. Top person on each track at the end of the game gets more points, second place gets one.

    The game can last between 10 and 15 turns, random every game. You won't find out when the last turn will be until the "early censuses" have concluded which can happen as early as turn 6 or as late as turn 9.

    That's Road to Enlightenment.

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    Support our attempt to bring the great people of history to life. Receive access to all project updates, plus an advanced copy of the Road to Enlightenment Strategy Guide (PDF) which will be given to all backing levels.

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    Receive 3 copies of Road to Enlightement, with free shipping in the United States and Canada. Over-pledge by $20 for each set of metal doubloons you would like to add. Additional games can also be added for $65 each.

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    Join the planning team for determining which luminary cards will be included in future card expansions to the game. You will have access to private conversations with the designer and other decisions makers, the opportunity to provide feedback into both who is included and what their final cards look like, and will participate in the inner workings of game design and development. You will additionally receive 1 copy of Road to Enlightenment (autographed if you choose) and metal doubloons, shipped anywhere in the world.

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    Everything at the $250 level, plus a second copy of the game and doubloons, plus be treated to lunch or dinner by Road to Enlightenment designer Dirk Knemeyer at Origins 2012 (Columbus, OH, US). Get the inside scoop on upcoming games, the extensive design history of Road to Enlightenment, or anything else you fancy.

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    Everything at the $250 level, plus a second copy of the game and doubloons, plus be treated to lunch or dinner by Road to Enlightenment designer Dirk Knemeyer at GenCon 2012 (Indianapolis, IN, US). Get the inside scoop on upcoming games, the extensive design history of Road to Enlightenment, or anything else you fancy. Your games can be shipped earlier or given to you at GenCon, your choice.

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    Everything at the $250 level, plus a second copy of the game and doubloons, plus be treated to lunch or dinner by Road to Enlightenment designer Dirk Knemeyer at World Boardgaming Championships 2012 (Lancaster, PA, US). Get the inside scoop on upcoming games, the extensive design history of Road to Enlightenment, or anything else you fancy. Your games can be shipped earlier or given to you at the World Boardgaming Championships, your choice.

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    Everything at the $250 level, plus a second copy of the game and doubloons, plus be treated to lunch or dinner by Road to Enlightenment designer Dirk Knemeyer at BoardGameGeek Con 2012 (Dallas, TX, US). Get the inside scoop on upcoming games, the extensive design history of Road to Enlightenment, or anything else you fancy. Your games can be shipped earlier or given to you at BoardGameGeek Con, your choice.

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