Monday, May 19, 2014

Mound Builders Playtest Update

Your humble narrator recently attempted to play-test Mound Builders, the new solitaire game of Mississippian-era exploration and survival. After two hours of set-up, re-reading (and re-re-reading) the rules, and slow, methodical play, I managed to make it into the early Mississippian era, the game's second epoch. My cultural empire extended deep into Shawnee and Caddo country, generating regular surpluses of hides and mica, before enemy war parties – notably the Cherokees, whose homeland I never managed to incorporate – began battering Cahokia's palisades.

Then I noticed I'd made it through the Hopewell era without remembering to trigger the revolts specified on the game's first set of history cards. I apparently misread a paragraph on page 9, column two of the rulebook (like you do). Well, so much for being methodical! And so much for trying to write a legitimate session report. I'll make another attempt to play the game correctly, but it will have to wait until June, as I'll be traveling and Mound Builders requires more play area than the average hotel table or airline tray-back provides.

(The image at right shows the game board at the start of the first [Hopewell] era, shortly before I began to screw everything up. Not sure where I placed the fifth peace-pipe marker; I suspect it's out-of-frame. The mug on the right edge of the board, used to hold chiefdom counters, was one I picked up at the 2012 meeting of the American Society for Ethnohistory.)

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