Monday November 24, 2014

Cards play pivotal role in board game


You are a priest of a troubled Temple. A Thieves’ Guild has emerged and is challenging your Temple for influence over the land. You must decide whether to work with your brethren in the fight against the Thieves’ Guild or betray your brothers and guide the Thieves’ Guild to prominence.

The above is the ‘teaser’ to the new card game Allegiance by designer, and in this case artist as well, David Thompson.

The rule set gives a quick overview of the general game.

“In Allegiance, players use cards to adjust the influence of the Thieves’ Guild and Temple. At the end of the game, the organization with the most influence to the prominence. Players begin with an allegiance to the Temple. However, that allegiance can shift during the game as players accrue points that align them with either the Temple or the Thieves’ Guild. All players with the allegiance to the Temple win if the Temple has the most influence. One player with allegiance to the Thieves’ Guild wins if the Thieves’ Guild has the most influence.”

So from the outset I liked the idea of a game where a player can shift allegiances as the game progresses.

A game which allows a player some ability to shift things in a direction dictated by the cards is one which provides a player options. That is a plus.

The designer calls the shifting allegiances aspect of the game as his most innovative development.

“The most interesting and unique aspect of Allegiance, in my opinion, is players’ ability to organically control their allegiance unlike in some games where they are assigned hidden roles at the beginning of the game,” said Thompson. “Also, the ability for the game to include a shared victory or solitary victory, through a sort of prisoner’s dilemma situation, ties into the theme in a great way.”

But in the case of Allegiance, the win conditions are a different, and to be honest I’m not sure how I feel about them.

From the rule set; “If the Temple has the most influence, all players with allegiance to the Temple win. If the Thieves’ Guild has the most influence, the player with allegiance to the Thieves’ Guild wins. If more than one player has allegiance to the Thieves’ Guild, those players compare their Thieves’ Guild points.”

In terms of the Thieves’ Guild side of the game there is a clear winner. I like that. One winner is clean and direct.

On the Temple side a group of players can win. I get that it fits the idea of a ‘temple’ a place of cooperation and group effort, but for me at least, my play-style and personality, a group win is less satisfying.

It is not a game flaw, but should be understood it might not fit every gamer’s vision of a win.

The cards themselves are printed in deep black and stunning white. They are sharp looking cards which are very aesthetically pleasing.

However, I do fear regular play will see the black ‘chip’ from the edges. So you might want to sleeve the 96-cards as soon as you get a deck.

So what drew Thompson to create the game?“My interest in ‘designer’ / ‘hobby’ card games emerged as an evolution of other tabletop interests. I grew up as a fan of role playing games (RPGs) and had limited exposure to some tabletop games such as Heroquest, Axis and Allies, and Risk,” he said.

“However, it wasn’t until about three or four years ago that I discovered the amazing world of hobby board games and card games. At that time, I was working on a skirmish-level tabletop hybrid board and miniatures game called Skirmish Tactics Apocalypse. Check the game out in additional detail at



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