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Pax Pamir

Pax Pamir

Game Information

Game Name
Designer
Players
1 - 5
MSRP $
60.00
Year Published
Wherlegig Games

Pax Pamir is an interactive historical game about politics and power in nineteenth century Afghanistan from the designer of John Company and Root

In the game, players will work in coalitions to build a new state after the collapse of the Durrani Empire. However, only a single player can win. As your coalition becomes powerful, former allies will turn to espionage and political subterfuge in an effort to secure their personal dominance.

In Pax Pamir, players assume the role of nineteenth century Afghan leaders attempting to forge a new state after the collapse of the Durrani Empire. Western histories often call this period "The Great Game" because of the role played by the Europeans who attempted to use central Asia as a theater for their own rivalries. In this game, those empires are viewed strictly from the perspective of the Afghans who sought to manipulate the interloping ferengi (foreigners) for their own purposes.

In terms of game play, Pax Pamir is a pretty straightforward tableau builder. Players spend most of their turns purchasing cards from a central market, then playing those cards in front of them in a single row called a court. Playing cards adds units to the game's map and grants access to additional actions that can be taken to disrupt other players and influence the course of the game. That last point is worth emphasizing. Though everyone is building their own row of cards, the game offers many ways for players to interfere with each other directly and indirectly.

To survive, players will organize into coalitions. Throughout the game, the dominance of the different coalitions will be evaluated by the players when a special card, called a "Dominance Check", is resolved. If a single coalition has a commanding lead during one of these checks, those players loyal to that coalition will receive victory points based on their influence in their coalition. However, if Afghanistan remains fragmented during one of these checks, players instead will receive victory points based on their personal power base. After each Dominance Check, victory is checked and the game will be partially reset, offering players a fresh attempt to realize their ambitions.

The game ends when a single player is able to achieve a lead of four or more victory points or after the fourth and final Dominance Check is resolved.


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M

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4.5
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great card based interaction
Rating 
 
4.5
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Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #195366 18 Jan 2015 13:06
I'll probably get a copy of this. Love Pax Porfiriana---I'll probably never play it in person, but I like having it and I've played it online periodically. And I could definitely see this in a central asian setting. Really, you could do a great Pax Porfiriana engine game in any failed state. Last 20 years Somalia or DRC would work.
CranBerries's Avatar
CranBerries replied the topic: #195369 18 Jan 2015 13:20
I had Pax and sold it, and now I'll never have it. So I bought Greenland, which is a detailed, weird game that I hope to solo. So I'll get this as a Pax substitute.

Maybe he'll make a version that entails the US thirty years from now.
stoic's Avatar
stoic replied the topic: #195371 18 Jan 2015 14:09

craniac wrote: I had Pax and sold it, and now I'll never have it. So I bought Greenland, which is a detailed, weird game that I hope to solo. So I'll get this as a Pax substitute.

Maybe he'll make a version that entails the US thirty years from now.


Craniac,

If you want another copy of Pax Porfiriana, then there might be hope. I've read that they're releasing a deluxe Spanish version of it with a mounted gaming board and wooden chits; perhaps, they're following with a deluxe English version?

Chapel's Avatar
Chapel replied the topic: #195376 18 Jan 2015 15:48
This was the last message I got from phil in december for next years BGG.CON:

And watch for the deluxe Pax Por. Hopefully Pax Pamir and Pax Renaissance next year

[/i]
DukeofChutney's Avatar
DukeofChutney replied the topic: #195381 18 Jan 2015 16:56
SOLD

The Great Game is one of my favourite topics!
CranBerries's Avatar
CranBerries replied the topic: #195403 18 Jan 2015 22:50
The Spanish deluxe version of Pax:
Not Sure's Avatar
Not Sure replied the topic: #195408 18 Jan 2015 23:11
Despite Phil publishing this, the design on Pax Pamir is Cole Werhle.

It's based on the Pax system, but Cole did the work on this one.

I've been following it on BGG for a long time, and I'm excited to see it go to print. The Great Game is a really interesting theme to me, and I enjoy the Pax system a lot. Autobuy for me.

If the deluxe Porfiriana makes it into English, I might upgrade.
DukeofChutney's Avatar
DukeofChutney replied the topic: #195421 19 Jan 2015 07:19
Eklund has become more of a developer than a designer lately. Pax Porfirana was originally designed by Jim Gutt and Greenland Philip Klarmann. Eklund does change some things in development but i have no idea how much. Also Matt Eklund has a fair bit of input. Boardgames have become centred around the 'name' designer so the team aspect is often ignored.
Chapel's Avatar
Chapel replied the topic: #195434 19 Jan 2015 10:41

Not Sure wrote:
If the deluxe Porfiriana makes it into English, I might upgrade.


I can almost say with some certainty it will. I told Phil last year that I had sold all the copies of Pax, and how I was kicking myself. He said worry not, that I will get another chance with a English deluxe version. Of course, things can change, but it sound like it is in the works.
stoic's Avatar
stoic replied the topic: #195448 19 Jan 2015 11:42
Yep, all of the contributors and other designers should get due credit for sure! These cats at Sierra Madre games are producing some of my favorite and most enjoyable games. Kudos!

I hope that they will produce an English deluxe version of Pax Porfiriana. For that, my wish list of features would include a point tracker for player prestige points, a double-sided game board, large tarot sized cards, some repro gold peso coins, a sombrero, a bandoleer, and a bottle of top shelf tequila.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #289880 13 Jan 2019 09:05
Way back from the dead. So I backed the revised edition kickstarter. Dan Thurot posted this review like 6 months ago but I didn't read it.

www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/2050329/ano...ia-space-biff-review

This is wild. It is substantially changed and I didn't realize it. If you've played a pax game, you'll know this is big deal:

"To put it gently, victory in the original Pax Pamir was difficult. The game could conclude within thirty minutes or three hours, for one thing. For another, the appearance of a topple card — which, when purchased, set into motion a potential bid for victory — tended to drag the game to a halt as everybody counted up, well, everything. Your spies, roads, tribes, and armies all contributed at different times, dependent on the current “climate” of Afghanistan. And I’m not talking about weather. I’m talking about the current tone of the Great Game. During an Intelligence War, a chieftain needed a bunch of spies to win, whereas during Political Fragmentation it was tribes who ruled the day. Every piece on the table mattered, and holding a card that could change the climate at the last minute was often the key to success.

That’s all been stripped out of Pax Pamir’s second edition. And along with it, both the game’s most complicated tabulations and a significant chunk of its appeal.

Dominance checks — the fancy new word for a topple — no longer have anything to do with climate. Instead, they’re almost entirely focused on imperial superiority. During a check, if an empire has deployed four more roads and/or armies than either of their foes, then that empire is dominant. Every chieftain loyal to that empire now scores points according to their influence. So if Russia has endless miles of roads and hordes of armies, the player who sucked up to them most comprehensively will earn more points than those who didn’t hire enough patriots, assassinate national enemies, or send enough rugs to the governor’s wife. And in the event that no empire emerges supreme, the chieftain fielding the most spies and tribes will earn the points. As in life, so in art."

I... have no idea how I feel about this. It was sort of the signature of the original design...? Anyway, I have an open mind about the whole thing but this is pretty radical.
Not Sure's Avatar
Not Sure replied the topic: #289890 13 Jan 2019 12:31
Yeah, I've been loosely following the changes, (already committed during the KS) and some of them are pretty big.

There's been an overall redefinition of "who am I" in the game, which was pretty nebulous in 1st Edition but in 2nd firmly places you in the "Afghan up-and-comer struggling for control".

Based on Werhle's evolution of game design chops since the 1st edition, I'm expecting it to be better. But in true Pax fashion, I'm hedging my bets and holding onto the 1st Edition as well.

(also: strong necro powers here. Just a few days short of a four-year gap in posts.)
Msample's Avatar
Msample replied the topic: #289891 13 Jan 2019 12:48
I kept my 1st edition as well. I understand Wehrle's desire to make the game more accessible - of the three Pax games I've played, this one seemed the toughest to get into , both mechanics wise as well as "WTF do I do?" . With ROOT pushing him name out there, I can see Euro fans being stonewalled by the original design. Kind of reminds me of STUDY IN EMERALD and how it evolved between editions. I played both and while I prefered the original, I can appreciate the advantages of the newer one. I can see this going down the same way.
mc's Avatar
mc replied the topic: #289908 13 Jan 2019 16:43
The only bit that confused the "who am I" aspect of the original was Eklund's bizarre and unnecessary liner notes, I thought. Wehrle was clearly uncomfortable about that aspect, but I guess there was a bit of, well, the guy is publishing my game so.... he's managed to make that aspect more focused, both in terms of how it's described, and in terms of the gameplay, with the "Empire" bits (it was always clear to me they were all or mostly Afghans, but whatever) pushed away more clearly. It looks like some of the paxiness - the manoeuvreable changing political state - has gone, and that's essentially what I like about the system; I'm not as interested in a points race. Thurot just said this morning on BGG he knows there have been changes since that review and will probably do another one closer to release.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #289910 13 Jan 2019 17:34
Yeah, the changing game state is one of my top things about the system too. I have Ren and Porfiriana though so I'm open to something new. But there is risk there when you take out one of the most interesting gimmicks.
BaronDonut's Avatar
BaronDonut replied the topic: #289959 14 Jan 2019 09:52
This entire conversation has inspired this year's 1x1 gaming resolution, wherein I vow to trick my friends into playing the 1st edition Pax Pamir that has been languishing on my shelf in sadness since it was released.
Legomancer's Avatar
Legomancer replied the topic: #289962 14 Jan 2019 10:19
My 1st edition is going in the Conn Con auction. It just doesn't get played. I'd rather play Porfiriana, and that also doesn't get played (but I'm holding on to it). I'm also okay with reducing the number of Eklund games I own. Pamir is nice in theory, but I'll never know it in practice.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #290818 28 Jan 2019 18:57
I was skeptical about some of the bits they were "upgrading" to in the kickstarter, but the most recent update makes the game look pretty unique (and good, with the wash in Cole's pictures):

www.kickstarter.com/projects/1243243962/...dition/posts/2397897
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #291045 29 Jan 2019 19:04
Incidentally, how did the last edition of this game play with 2? I think Pax Ren is quite interesting with 2 but Pax Porfiriana is a little less so.
mc's Avatar
mc replied the topic: #291065 29 Jan 2019 22:20
2 lost a lot out of the box, I think.
It was a bit better with the "Nation Building" rules from memory, which was the step towards this new edition - you play for points at the topples rather than the outright win.

I quite like Porf at 2. :D You mess up and you're generally gone though.
Ah_Pook's Avatar
Ah_Pook replied the topic: #294654 28 Mar 2019 10:43
Heavy cardboard did a live stream of Pamir 2e last night with Cole wehrle. I tuned in late and missed the rules and stuff, but I'm looking forward to watching this this afternoon. Looks great. I'd be interested to hear comparisons to first edition of anyone's familiar.

Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #294669 28 Mar 2019 13:47
Watched it too. Looks fucking great, though a 5 person table is more than I'd play pax with. Though it did bring out the interesting dynamic teams aspect which is cool meta stuff.

They were also pretty out of steam in this video and dawdled way more than they usually do (I generally like heavy cardboard a lot).
Not Sure's Avatar
Not Sure replied the topic: #294718 28 Mar 2019 23:42
Cool. One of the only games in my queue right now.

Hey Sax, do you want to use your mod powers to fix up the title on this thread? It was barely a "Phil Eklund" game to begin with, and this second edition is completely not. It's sort of a confusing anachronism now.