RogerBW's Blog

Revolution! Anarchy: first look 04 November 2014

Revolution! Anarchy is the new 5-6 player expansion to Revolution!.

Disclaimer: I am a product demonstrator for Steve Jackson Games via the Men in Black programme, and I did not pay money for this game.

Revolution! Anarchy expands the base Revolution! game: it contains cubes, shields and score tokens for two new players (grey and black), six new bidding boards, and 200/300 point markers for the four base colours. It is not compatible with Revolution! The Palace; you'll have to pick just one of them to use in a five or six player game, and there's no provision for seven or more players. (One could probably bodge something together, but I'm not convinced it would work well.)

As with The Palace, there's a small board to go in the centre of the main board. It contains three areas: the Jail, the Asylum, and the Garden. Bidding boards add four characters to the base game: the Warden, the Heretic, the Governor (gold only) and the Anarchist (gold only).

The Governor lets you influence any open space as usual, but you must then add an opponent's cube to an open space.

The Anarchist, who is resolved last, may duplicate the effects of any other character at the winner's discretion.

The Warden gives a little Support, gives back one token used to bid for him, and lets the winner add an opponent's cube to the Jail (which is worth -30 Support at the end of the game to the player who has most cubes in it). If the Jail is full, one cube already in it is ejected.

The Heretic gives Force and Blackmail, but you must place one of your own cubes in the Asylum, which is also worth -30 points if you have the majority there at the end of the game. If it's full, eject a cube (an opponent's if possible).

The Garden can only be influenced by an "any space" character (i.e. the Governor). Each cube there is worth ten points to the owner; in other words it's a bit like the Printer, except that your cube is still there and vulnerable until the game's end rather than giving you support straight away.

I strongly suspect that, like The Palace, this expansion will be playable with five, best with six, and not really fun with three or four.

My immediate suspicion, not yet having played, is that the Anarchist is a bit too powerful, with the ability to enhance existing combinations like the Merchant/Aristocrat; it's probably possible to defend against it, as it is against those combinations, but I fear it will become the focus of the game.

It's a shame not to be able to combine this with The Palace. It would take new scoring boards with twenty locations on them, and a compressed central board so that Palace/Guardhouse, Garden, Asylum and Jail could all be available at once. Even if that were done, though, I fear there would be too many options and the game wouldn't be sufficiently fun.

As it is, this looks like a worthy expansion, and I look forward to getting it on the table.

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