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Anthelion:Conclave of Power Preview


Quick Look:

Designer: Daniel Solis
Artist: N/A
Publisher: Button Shy

Year Published: 2019
No. of Players: 2
Ages: 10+
Playing Time: 15-30 min.

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of Anthelion: Conclave of Power. All components and rules are subject to change. Anthelion: Conclave of Power's Kickstarter campaign starts on January 9.

From the publisher: 
The sun is setting on one of the most devastating battles the Pocket Universe has ever seen. After years of fighting, it is becoming clear that this war will not be won on the strength of military victories alone. The leaders of the Dynasty and the Liberation turn their attention to some of the most influential figures in the galaxy to strengthen their cause. Who will be able to consolidate their power gain new allies, and turn old foes to their side? Who can form a Conclave powerful enough to gain control of the Universe?
***


Stop me if you've heard this one before, but I really admire those that can create an equally fun, challenging, and thematic game using only 18 cards. Button Shy Games keeps adding to an impressive catalogue of wallet games, and Daniel Solis' Anthelion: Conclave of Power is a strong entry to an already strong collection. Based on the "push and pull" system found in Avignon: A Clash of Popes, Anthelion: Conclave of Power pits two players in a race to be the first to acquire 10 character stars into their conclave. The game is simple to teach, quick to play, and accessible to anyone from young and novice gamers to more seasoned players.

As with many other titles in the Button Shy Games catalogue, Anthelion makes the most of its limited components and requires players to make decisions that would exceed ones expectations for a game consisting of only 18 cards. Daniel Solis again shows his diversity as a designer, providing an abstract strategy experience that can be played in 15 minutes.

If you like wallet games, or looking to add to your Button Shy Games collection, you will want to back Anthelion: Conclave of Power on Kickstarter January 9, 2019.

Review:

Game Play: Play begins with each player assuming a role -- either the Dynasty (designated by the color red) or the Liberators (blue). The five location cards (Dynasty Capitol, Colonies, Rogue Planet, Borderlands, and Liberation Base) are used to create the five rows of play. The remaining character cards (including the yellow, Rogue characters) are shuffled creating a draw pile. Five random character card are drawn and placed face up in the middle row along side the rogue planet.

Set up overview
Starting with the Liberators, players take turns completing two different petitions (the push/pull mechanism). Players must be able to complete the petition in its entirety and cannot use the same petition twice. Once a character is pushed or pulled past a player's threshold, they are recruited and removed from play. The recruited card is replaced with a character card from the draw pile so that five characters are in play.

The character cards have either Attributes (designated by pink text) or Resources (green). Attributes are continuous effects that override any game rules as long as the character is in play. Resources are also continuous effects, but only once the character is within a player's conclave.

Resources as denoted by green text and active when the character is in a player's conclave.
 The game ends immediately once a player acquires 10 character stars.

Mechanisms:  I would consider this an area-control, abstract strategy game.

Artwork and Components: The card art is not final, but is fine as-is. Like other Button Shy titles, there is an impressive amount of detail on the cards, yet they don't feel cramped or too busy.

While the cards may include petitions, attributes, resources, and stars for scoring, they do not feel cramped.
The Good: There are three things about Anthelion that stood out--it is simple to teach, quick to play, and accessibility to varying skill levels.

Simple to teach - Simply put, a player does two push/pull actions on their turn in an attempt to move characters to their side of their table. There are special character abilities that are either continuously available as long as the character is in play, or available once the character makes it a players side of the table. First player to have a total of 10 character stars on their side of the table wins.

While there is some minutia (different rows, attributes/resources, board game nomenclature) that didn't make it into the above paragraph, that is a pretty good overview of the entire game. I feel confident that I could pull a stranger off the street and go from rules to play within 5 minutes.

Quick to play - I am a fan of abstract strategy games, but the one downside with these type of games is the possibility of a game that drags on (and on and on and on) in a virtual (or actual) stalemate until someone gets bored with it and quits trying. I think that the design of Anthelion does a good job of limiting this possibility and keeping the game play flowing towards a conclusion. Players could possibly push and pull the same two cards back and forth, but the attributes and resources limit this and reduce the likelihood of a repetitive back and forth that brings the player no closer to the end. Of my plays leading up to this review, the majority of the games finished closer to 15 minutes, with only one one coming close to the 30-minute mark.

Accessible - The only prerequisite for playing the game, and being able to immediately be some what competitive at it, is being able to read the text on the cards. Familiarity with other games/mechanisms/categories certainly won't hurt, but it won't necessarily put someone at an advantage either. I had a chance to play this game with some people outside of my normal gaming group--people that I would consider novice gamers at best-and they not only caught on quickly (see: simple to teach) but were also immediately competitive. 

If the players can read English, they have the skill set to play this game.
The Other: I don't have anything bad to say about the game. I think there may be some merit in concerns that Anthelion is similar Avignon, but I would feel confident in saying that while they use the same push/pull action in game play, Anthelion differentiates itself enough to not feel like a re-themed Avignon.

Final Thoughts: Anthelion: Conclave of Power easily ranks in the top two of my favorite Button Shy wallet games (strangely enough, the other is another Solis title, Pod-X) and is worthy of an endorsement. For a game consisting of no more than 18 cards, Anthelion is a fun game and is one of the best Button Shy Games has to offer. If you are a fan of Solis or Button Shy, you should check it out on Kickstarter starting January 9. 

Example of rogue characters ranging from two to three stars per.
Players Who Like:
Avignon: A Clash of Popes, other Button Shy wallet games, and similar minimalist game designs.


Check out Anthelion: Conclave of Power on:
 
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/231223/visitor-blackwood-grove   https://resonym.com/game/visitor/  https://twitter.com/resonym  https://www.instagram.com/theresonym/  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCv_nFagYZztjNyish6Cq21g   https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/87707751/circuit-breaker-board-game

Coming to KICKSTARTER soon...


About the Author:
Nick is a regulatory compliance consultant by day, a board gamer at night, and a husband and father always. When he is not bringing a game to the table, he is running (most often to or from his kids) or watching the New York Yankees. You can follow what Nick is playing on Twitter at @ndshipley
Anthelion:Conclave of Power Preview Anthelion:Conclave of Power Preview Reviewed by Nicholas Shipley on January 03, 2019 Rating: 5

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