Preorder: Expected Delivery Q1 2021 Board Game Geek Rating: 5.59 Board Game Geek Avg Player Rating: 7.66 Players: 1 to 6 Published: 2021 Content Notes: Kickstarter Edition of Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile Board Game. Includes: Core Game, Session Journal, coins, deluxe component upgrades, and all applicable stretch goals. Please note: unless otherwise stated paid add ons from the Kickstarter Campaign are not included.
Every system in Oath is built from the ground up to be responsive and adaptable. A single decision could reverberate for dozens of games afterwards.
The core rules are simple: Players will spend their turns adventuring within the Chancellor's realm and the lands that surround it. They will gather support, recruit warbands, and discover dark and dangerous secrets. Over the course of the game, players will collectively populate the world with a cast of strange and wonderful characters and institutions. This world is essentially a shared tableau, which every player can interact with and seek to control.
Most players begin as Exiles, powerful figures living on the edge of polite society. An Exile wins the game by directly challenging the Chancellor's power or by attempting to fulfill a new Vision.
The Chancellor wins the game by maintaining their grip on the empire. To this end, they may wish to make offers of citizenship to one or more Exiles. If accepted, these new Citizens will help the Chancellor maintain control, but the Chancellor will need to be careful. These new Citizens present threats to their own succession. Though players will sometimes need to work together, only one player will ever win.
In Oath, one to six players guide the course of history in an ancient land. Players might take the role of agents bolstering the old order or scheme to bring the kingdom to ruin. The consequences of one game will ripple through those that follow, changing what resources and actions future players may have at their disposal and even altering the game's core victory condition.
If a player seizes control by courting anarchy and distrust, future players will have to contend with a land overrun by thieves and petty warlords. In a later game, a warlord might attempt to found a dynasty, creating a line of rulers that might last generations or be crushed by the rise of a terrible, arcane cult. In Oath, there are no fancy production tricks, app-assisted mechanisms or production gimmicks. The game can be reset at any time and doesn't require the same play group from one game to the next. A player might use the fully-featured solo mode to play several generations during the week and then use that same copy of the game for Saturday game-night with friends. There are no scripted narratives or predetermined end points. The history embedded in each copy of Oath will grow to be as unique as the players who helped build it.
Every game in Oath affects the games that follow. If one game ends with the fall of an empire, the next game will be played in its still-smoldering ruin. There is no pre-written narrative or pre-determined end point. Oath is not a legacy game. Instead, it is a game about legacy where the choices the players make will determine what happens next.
At the end of each game of Oath, players will take account of what happened in their game during the Chronicle Phase. During this phase, the game’s board will be re-centered around the territory of the game’s victor, the victory condition may be adjusted, and new cards will be introduced to the deck depending on how the game was won. When they have completed this process, they will have advanced the history of their world by a generation and set the stage for the next crisis.
At this point, players can opt to play another game or they can pack up the game into the box in a way that will preserve the game state for easy setup for the next game. Games of Oath take about 6 minutes to pack up and no more than 3 minutes to set up.
Set up the game in three minutes or less.
Those looking for an epic, multi-generational game can play several sessions of Oath in a row easily. Each game only takes 45 minutes to a couple hours depending on the players' experience and what happens in the game. But it’s also easy to play a single round, clean up the game, and then resume it days or weeks later. And, because of the game’s design, your playgroup doesn't need to remain consistent. After playing the game on a Saturday night with your regular group, you can continue to develop the world during the week with your partner or by yourself with the game’s solo mode, and then continue the story with your group when you meet again the following week.
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