About this project
Argent: the Consortium is a 2-5 player game of secret conspiracies, power, and intrigue at a Magical University. Become a candidate for Chancellorship and muster your apprentices to gather resources and followers. Research to master more and more powerful spells that you can use to sabotage your rival candidates and their plans! Learn the true motives of the secret Consortium, and become elected the new Chancellor of the University!
- Players: 2-5
- Time: 2 hours (approximately 30 minutes per player)
- Weight: Moderate
- Style: Euro/American Hybrid
- Core Mechanics: Secret Scoring Conditions, Worker Placement, Engine Building, Specialized Workers, Asymmetric Sides, Action Economy
The expansion for Argent, 'Mancers of the University, adds a sixth player and a whole new department to the university: the Department of Technomancy.
Plus, everyone who backs for a copy of the base game or higher will also get a bonus gift -- Argent: Summer Break, a lighthearted mini-expansion to the game:
Summer Break adds some comical (but still useful) magic items, a new voter, new supporters, and a special summer break scenario to the base game!
Critical Acclaim for Argent
"After one game of Argent, my friends and I were captivated by it, talked all day about it, how we could play better, and strategies. It's a euro that has excellent theme, pulls you in, and makes you feel like you are a part of the world and directly impacting it. Easily one of the best first-game-experiences I've ever had playing a euro game!"
"If you like both worker placement games and variable player power games, you are simply going to love this game. It scratches both of those itches vigorously in a way I haven't experienced before and it was absolutely a highlight of my BGG.con experience. In fact, I backed the game on Kickstarter within an hour of my play."
"A pretty deep game, but a really interesting one... it was really good... it was really really good."
"Argent is, indeed, quite good."
Argent is the premiere university of magic, science, and technology in the World of Indines. As a high-ranking staff member in the university, you’ve been pursuing your research, leading your department, and searching for ways to expand your influence. When the university chancellor announces his resignation from the university’s highest office, a consortium of voters assembles to decide who will be the next Chancellor of Argent—the most influential mage in the entire world. This is your chance to seize the power and prestige you’ve been longing for.
The membership of the Consortium is a secret, and when the game begins, you have no idea what criteria they will use in their election of the new chancellor. Over the course of 5 rounds of play, you must leverage your students, your spells, and your resources to discover who the members of the Consortium are and what they are looking for in the election, all the while simultaneously building up your power and trying to fulfill these wishes better than your rivals. Everything comes down to the final vote at the end, when the Consortium is revealed to all and the votes are cast to determine a winner!
Which department will you join?
Check out a video of Trey and Brad explaining the game mechanics...
At the beginning of the game, you have a basic starter spell, some money and magic, a few plucky apprentices ready to do your bidding, and a university full of potential to be explored. Send your apprentices out to explore the ever-changing rooms of the school, either to delve the vaults, spy on the council chambers, research new spells in the library, or collect more money and supporters for your campaign by adventuring. But make sure you keep tabs on your rivals–they will send out their own apprentices to duel yours into submission or hurl powerful spells from their offices in an attempt to shatter all your carefully laid plans. At the end of the day, all the apprentices bring home reports of their progress, telling you new secrets about the consortium, carrying new treasures, or rallying new allies for you to leverage in the struggle for power.
At the grand finale, the Consortium voters are revealed one by one, and each has a different criteria for how they will cast their vote. One prefers that you have the greatest influence, another wants to know that you mastered the most defensive spells, and yet another casts his vote based purely on how deep you have delved into the university vaults in search of treasure. Only the votes matter, so how much you invested in spying on the consortium and on your rivals will determine how many votes you score. At the end, the player with the most votes is elected the new chancellor!
Apprentices who serve you come in many different flavors. Some are faster than others, some are immune to interference by rival spells, and some can even displace or duel with enemy mages. These apprentices serve as agents doing your bidding out in the university, while you plot and plan from your office, leveraging spells and connections to gain an upper hand.
Variable-time rounds create tension between players and keep the game moving. Any player can pass to gain a bonus (and can pass multiple times to claim multiple bonuses). When all of these bonuses are claimed, the game round ends. This means that you have to watch your rivals carefully, as it may be in your interest to run down the bell tower clock and deprive them of turns; or to make your own critical plays sooner—before they do the same to you. Regardless of the number of apprentices in your office or how many spells you have left to cast, your rivals set the pace, making every action a nail-biting decision.
Spells provide a vast array of magical effects that can turn the tide of a game in your favor. Not only can you research to learn new spells, but you can advance research projects to increase the potency of your existing spells and unlock new effects. Each spell comes with three levels of power, and it’s up to you to decide which ones are worth the investment of research to unlock their full potential.
Argent: the Consortium is a traditional European styled-game with a dash of American-styled flair. Euro-games (traditionally those that come from Germany) rely heavily on action-economy, resource management, and a strict structure of turns. Hansa Teutonica, Caylus, and Princes of Florence are all great examples of the German gaming style. American games focus more on special effects and their interactions. Games like Magic: the Gathering, Wiz-War, and Shadow Hunters embody this more thematic style of play. Argent: the Consortium, unites these two styles, giving you control over a group of apprentices who do your bidding and limited reserves of gold and mana, as well as giving you a collection of spells, treasures, and specialized minions who will shake up the game in your favor. If you enjoy some or all of the games mentioned above, then Argent has something for you.
The combination of action/resource management and special effects creates the perfect balance of control and chaos that makes for a memorable, strategic, and exciting gaming experience. We like to think of Argent as “the Great American Eurogame.”
Argent: the Consortium is also designed with a Euro-style aesthetic, in the same vein as games like Terra Mystica. The game minimizes text in favor of iconography, and is designed to be played with a simple crib sheet. We would like to add multi-lingual crib sheets to the game box, and this is one of our planned core items.
Take a look at some of the game's iconography from this room tile...
Argent is designed by Trey Chambers, an English teacher from Sugar Land, Texas. While Trey has designed many, many games, Argent will be his first published production. Trey has been refining and rebuilding the game over 5 different versions in the past two years, and has thoroughly tested the balance, game pacing, and expansion content.
Nokomento, our character artist, has been working for the past 5 months to complete the artwork for the voters and supporters for Argent: the Consortium. While several familiar faces appear from the World of Indines and BattleCON appear in Argent, the majority of the game’s art has been created from scratch.
Jennifer, our environment artist, has spent the past 5 months building all the gorgeous background art that brings the university environment and atmosphere to life.
Argent expands the World of Indines in an exciting new direction by focusing on the everyday life and goals of a few individuals, rather than epic adventures or quests. That said, even the skulduggery of rigging an election is full of dire confrontations, intrigue, and backstabbing.
At Level 99 Games, we make a strong commitment to replayability in our games. While a game like Argent will certainly be different each time—just due to the spells, the treasures, and the variety of mages you can build your office from—we like to add something even more to make sure that every game requires new strategies and new plans to win.
Every room in Argent University is double-sided, for twice the gameplay. While the rooms are thematically similar, players will interact with the A and B sides of the rooms in totally different ways. Additionally, these rooms may appear in different arrangements, meaning that the order you receive and spend your resources will change between games, and the planning you will need to make use of them will change accordingly.
Every worker mage in the game has two sets of powers, so after you play out the base game, you can flip over the worker powers and get a whole new set of workers to manipulate, which opens the door to an entire new set of strategies. You can even mix and match to create the style of play that fits your table the best!
One question that always comes up during Kickstarter—why back now? Why not wait until the game hits retail, or goes on sale? There are a couple reasons why it’s worth getting involved in Argent early:
- Game Growth - Our last big project, Power Play, ended up producing an extra free downloadable game for all backers. Before that, BattleCON: Devastation gave out rewards for $50 that now retail at $90. Our games tend to grow quite a bit during KS projects, and even with deep online discounts, you may still get more by backing than by waiting.
- Involvement - Our previous games have featured votes to include new characters, early opportunities to play and read the games, and even chances to playtest and help drive the direction of the game. Getting involved in a game and seeing it come to life is just as much fun as playing the end product. Indeed, a game is even more exciting when you get to watch it come to life and know that you’ve made it better.
- Extra Games - We mentioned this one already, but it’s worth saying again—we like to print more than one game when we do a Kickstarter! Via stretch goals, new projects come to life which might not otherwise see the light of day. You can be a part of making these games come to life too!
Upcoming Stretch Goals
$35,000 - Bonus Room, Archmage's Study - Add the Archmage's study to Argent--an extra room that grants more powerful apprentices during subsequent rounds. Also adds a spiffy new Archmage pawn to the game!
$40,000 - Alternate Candidates - We'll ask Nokomento to draw another candidate for each department, and Trey will create new starting spells for these secondary candidates. Each candidate will be an alternate gender from the original candidate, so you can play the department/gender combination of your choice. Also we'll unlock a second 'Create a Candidate' Backer slot!
$45,000 - Bonus Room, Astronomy Tower - Add the Astronomy Tower to Argent--an extra room whose effects change cost according to the movements and whims of those who activate it. You'll need to divine your opponent's designs to take maximum advantage of this room's powers.
$50,000 - Expanded Campus - Your support expands Argent's campus with a 6th department, the Department of Technomancy. The 'Mancers of the University add-on expansion will be available to backers via the SOPHOMORE, DOCTORATE, STUDENT CLUB, and CREATE-A-[SOMETHING] pledge tiers.
$60,000 - Scenario Modes - The world doesn't stand still, and neither does Argent! Scenarios bring the game to life in an active way by including events that change the game between rounds. However, scenarios aren't just a big deck of random events. These are sets of cards that create a very specific game progression change over time, such as adding new voters, expanding the size of the university, or granting new powers to players and their mages.
$70,000 - Extra Voter - We have the Archmage's Office, but what about the woman herself? A new Voter will be added to the expansion, increasing the pool of possible victory conditions. The Archmage votes for whomever can recover her lost staff. "Recover" here is understood to mean "steal unscrupulously from the other candidates". Of course, since he Archmage herself is a hidden voter who may not appear, you'll need to be wary of how aggressively you seek the staff...
$80,000 - Art and Lorebook - The world of Argent comes to life with this artbook and lorebook, which contains illustrations, interviews with the artists, information on the setting, and quotes from the World of Indines. This gorgeous hardcover book will be available as a free download to all backers of the project, in the JUNIOR, TRUSTEE, and CREATE-A-[SOMETHING] pledge Levels.
$90,000 - Miniatures in the Box - Forget colored wooden pawns--with this stretch goal, all copies of the game will be upgraded with plastic pieces, each department with their own sculpt and color! This upgrade is free for all backers receiving a physical copy of the game.
$100,000 - Pixel Tactics: Argent University - A special Pixel Tactics minipack that features the candidates from Argent! This pack will be free for everyone who is getting a physical copy of Argent! The minipack will be available in our online store... eventually. Until the end of 2014 though, you'll be the only one with access to these exciting new Pixel Heroes!
For those unaware, Pixel Tactics is our critically acclaimed SRPG card game, which you can learn more about here: www.pixel-tactics.com
The cards in this minipack will be usable in constructed play and other forthcoming game modes!
$110,000 - Shiny Foil Box Wrap! - Here's another one for our KS backers. We'll print a special box wrap that's exclusively for KS Backers. This wrap will go around the main Argent: the Consortium game box, and will make it look spectacular on your shelf!
$125,000 - Plastic Coins - No more punch-out coins. Argent will come with nice plastic coins that feel great in your hands and keep track of your money easily!
Thanks for backing Argent! We've unlocked everything we could think of to put into this game! Our last goal is just a personal challenge--to make Argent the most popular Level 99 Games Kickstarter yet!
Level 99 Games is a professional game design studio staffed by talented artists, designers, and authors, and led by career designer D. Brad Talton Jr.
Level 99 Games has been producing high-quality digital and tabletop games for 4 years now. We are well known for BattleCON, the Minigame Library, Mystic Empyrean, and Pixel Tactics, just to name a few. See if you recognize any of our work from past projects...
by D. Brad Talton Jr.
When I first played the game (then just 'Consortium') at BGG.CON 2012, I was immediately captured by it. The theme of the game, the thematic powers of the workers, the excitement of mastering new spells, and the big reveal of the secret voters at the game's end all came together to produce an experience that was unlike anything I had played before. I knew that this was the kind of game that would appeal equally both to fans of intense resource and action management games and to fans of special-effect-heavy and asymmetric games.
Argent is a game that I think will appeal to existing fans of Level 99 Games and the World of Indines series, as well as to a whole new group of fans. The game is dripping with theme, but that theme is layered atop a rock-solid foundation of strong gameplay mechanics and decision-based strategy. This is a game where the ways to win are as varied as the cunning of the players, and no two games will play out exactly alike.
by Trey ChambersThank you for your interest in Argent! I have always been interested in designing games. From a very young age I would make pencil and paper games with friends. As time went on, I got more and more involved in video gaming, but I lacked the technical knowledge to design my own. Like so many, I was unaware that board gaming existed as a hobby until a few years ago. Shortly after I got involved heavily with board gaming, I began to make my own prototypes.
The design for Argent has been around for about three years now. I was inspired by many games, but most heavily influenced by other worker placement games and by Chaos in the Old World (my favorite thematic/Euro hybrid). I love worker placement games, and I love strong theme as well. Unfortunately there have not been many attempts to make a thematic worker placement game, but I've always thought the mechanic is ripe for theme. I think one of the barriers is that in almost all worker placement games, your "workers" are faceless, generic pawns. In Argent, you choose your apprentices (workers) based on your play style, and they each have their own power based upon the department of magic they study.
That was the first core feature I decided to design the game around (workers with unique powers) along with being able to cast spells in addition to placing workers. From there it grew into the current version, chock full of powerful spells, legendary items, interesting and mysterious characters, and intriguing rooms inside of a magical university. I look forward to hearing about the stories you are left with while vying for power in Argent: The Consortium!
Character Artist’s Notes
Environment Artist's Notes
by Jennifer Easley
Hi! I'm Jennifer, the environment artist for Argent.
I was very excited to work with the team at Level 99 Games again. This project has been a long and fun journey, and I've enjoyed being able to get really involved in the world of Argent. It's been an absolute pleasure to help bring the locations to life, and the variety of scenes I've been able to paint has given me a great excuse to explore lots of different themes and moods.
It's amazing to see the game come together after everyone's hard work, and the results so far look fantastic.
I hope everyone who supports the game enjoys being a part of it as much as I have!
Games are one of the few creative endeavors that are inherently incomplete. Without players, a game is just a box. You are the most important part of making Argent a reality!
We need your help to make Argent become all it can be. Please share the game with your friends, your followers, and your rivals! Here are some banners and avatars that we've created to help you get involved!
Risks and challenges
Every project brings with it new challenges, and it's often impossible to predict what will happen in the development of a product. In the past, we've encountered more trials than we care to mention. Everything from shipping delays, to missing art, to freight mixups, to fraudulent backing, and *still* managed to come out ahead and deliver on our promises. The truth is that we have absolutely no idea what new curveballs a project will throw our way through its lifespan. However, we have an experienced, dedicated team that hasn't failed yet to overcome every obstacle in their way and deliver some of the top games in the industry.
At Level 99 Games, we are primarily known for dueling and family games. Breaking into the serious Euro/Group Strategy genre is something that's completely new for us. Handling the logistics of large numbers of wooden parts (or plastic parts, if we reach certain stretch goals) will be a new challenge that we haven't explored before.
At the time of launch, Argent is almost entirely complete. We are still working on a few pieces of art for the Stretch Goal Expansion set, as well as some package design and board design. For the most part though, everything is ready to go to press as soon as the project concludes in December.
Adding new and exciting stretch goals can add up to 50 days to a project's development time. Pre-press can take about 10-20 days, and after that, production time is usually 30-45 days, and shipping is 20 more after that. Fulfillment takes a week or so. We've set our shipping deadline for June, giving us about a month and a half of wiggle room to deliver on time in case anything goes disastrously wrong.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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