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Pax Pamir: Second Edition Review

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21 Oct 2022 00:00 #336317 by oliverkinne
Pax Pamir's Two Histories
Pax Pamir: Second Edition is...

The Durrani Empire had just collapsed and large swathes of Central Asia had fallen into disarray. It was an ideal opportunity for the ferengi to impose their power over the region and fight out their rivalries somewhere far away from their daily politics. The foreigners were completely unaware of how the local Afghan leaders were manipulating them to their own benefit. They played their own "Great Game" with these superpowers and knew that the imperial might would not survive for long. There was never going to be a Pax Pamir: Second Edition by Cole Wehrle from Wehrlegig Games.

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21 Oct 2022 17:00 - 21 Oct 2022 17:19 #336318 by mc
Replied by mc on topic Pax Pamir: Second Edition Review
Great write-up!

I had read some of Wehrle's sources before/after playing the 1st edition, and always felt that Eklund's influence was not in the game design itself (well, aside from the basic Pax framework). Cole's thesis about the Afghan tribal manipulations was clear in the mechanisms to me. Eklund's touch was in the margins of the presentation- some of the wording perhaps, that suggested the British or Russians had lots of power and agency, or that irrelevant and nonsensical essay.

All the same I'm glad Cole got the chance to more clearly state his thesis. And if you know the history, then the names and places really add to the experience - it's amazing to me the way real life events will crop up regularly. Iksander Burns is forever getting his just desserts!

Aside from all of that, reading about the 2nd edition before it came out, I was skeptical mostly about the changes to the "topples" of the first edition, and their replacement with scoring rounds. But the fluidity you describe and the ever shifting sands created by that jostling marry with Cole's thesis even better, on the whole. The game is about shifting faux alliances, and these happen much more frequently in the re-design.

Personally I've never felt a huge affinity with solo engine building. In Pax Pamir, I really enjoy the way that your engine is both open to attack, but also needs to change, often drastically. This is far more interesting to me than so many optimisation exercises. And it feels so very right. Some might complain that it is too wild and loose, capricious, volatile even - things turning on a card draw, or the lack of one rupee. But how better to represent a world in which a chance meeting while on the run in a desolate Afghan valley with a lowly but tribally loyal shepherd can reverse your fortunes?
Last edit: 21 Oct 2022 17:19 by mc.
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01 Nov 2022 09:58 - 01 Nov 2022 09:59 #336531 by JoelCFC25
I'm sure (with good reason) you didn't want to veer towards recapitulating the rules themselves, but one part of the scoring tension is the possibility of "Instability", when one dominance check has lingered in the market too long without being claimed and then a second one appears, prompting an immediate scoring. Also, the final scoring doubles the points on offer, which at least holds out the possibility of a "worst to first" victory right at the end.

If you are a try-before-buying type, consider playing the game with the astonishingly good, fully rules-automated implementation at Rally the Troops .
Last edit: 01 Nov 2022 09:59 by JoelCFC25.
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