Kickstarter: The Flow of History

Every once in a while, it’s cool to browse the crowdfunding announcements for board games, just to see what may be coming down the pike. Most of them don’t sound that interesting, and I had never backed anything until the recent Pursuit of Happiness expansion.

But then I saw an ad for a game called The Flow of History, designed by Jesse Li with art by Desnet Amane, SY Li and Adam P. McIver, being published by Tasty Minstrel Games. History? I’m a History guy. Card game? Hell yeah, card games are cool. Building rival civilizations? Despite the current political climate, I’m pretty cool with that too.

After a few days of thinking about it (and a switch from IndieGogo to Kickstarter), I decided to pull the trigger and back it.

The Flow of History
Beautiful cover

Here’s why.

From the Boardgame Geek description:

The Flow of History is yet another innovative civilization game from Taiwanese designer Jesse Li. Players develop their nation using a unique bidding/price-setting mechanism to purchase new cards, but what is paid to the supply might also be harvested into the pockets of other players later, which puts a twist on your strategy of bidding cards, and also simulates economic inflation in the game. Don’t forget to build a formidable military to clash with cultures led by your enemy, and create an unforgettable tale of your civilization in The Flow of History.

Each player gets one action on their turn. They can invest in a card on the market, complete the purchase of a card you’ve already invested in, activate a card in your civilization, or harvest resources from the supply.

Or you can snipe a card somebody’s already invested in.

It sounds like a fascinating concept. You don’t just spend resources to buy cards. Instead, you have to “invest” in a card with your token, put as many resources on it as you are willing to spend, and then wait for your turn to come around again. In the meantime, somebody else can snipe your card, paying you the same amount of resources to you that you put on the card. The resources you put on the card are sent to the supply.

However, if you have other cards already in your civilization with trade icons, you count the number of icons and take that many resource tokens as well.

Finally, you count the number of tokens in the supply and get half, rounded down.

So you may not be getting the card you wanted anymore, but you sure might be getting a lot of resources to compensate!

It’s a kind of take-that mechanism that doesn’t really hurt that bad (it’s more like reaching over and pinching your friend, which may hurt if you’re a hard pincher but really it’s not something to make a federal case about).

It looks like a really elegant system, and the artwork on the cards is gorgeous. It’s very exotic, demonstrating it’s Far Eastern heritage.

These are the military cards for the various ages

I love the sound of the mechanisms in this game, where you do feel like you’re building a civilization but the footprint of the game isn’t really that big. You have the the card deck and market, and then the cards in front of you. That’s it. A decent-sized table should hold it.

If this looks interesting to you at all, I would highly suggest backing The Flow of History for the “Deluxified” version, as for $7 US more, it sounds so much better.

For only $29 (free shipping to the US, thankfully I live in Vancouver right across the border), you get the following (just listing the extra stuff you get, not the stuff that comes in the retail version too):

  • Foil-stamped box
  • 72 Metal Resource Tokens
  • Custom Vacuformed Plastic Insert
  • Folding Market Board

I’m not clear on whether the civilization cards are oversized in the Deluxified version or if they’re oversized in both versions.

That’s some pretty cool stuff, though! And for only $7 more.

At the time of this writing, 1,616 people have backed the Deluxified version and 9 have backed the retail version. That’s quite the difference.

Also at the time of this writing, they’ve made all but one of their pledge goals, so there will be a little more flash in the components (really, though, most of that is unnecessary). The only one they haven’t reached yet is the $75,000 one where each player marker is a unique shape and they are resin instead of wood. Some people in the comments are complaining about that, saying they would actually prefer the wood.

Whatever your thoughts, check out the Kickstarter page for more information and if you want to join me in backing this very cool-sounding game.




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