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Demonstrate Your Educational Merits in Sankoré: The Pride of Mansa Musa

by W. Eric Martin

In late 2023, UK publisher Osprey Games will release Sankoré: The Pride of Mansa Musa, a game for 1-4 players from designers Mandela Fernandez-Grandon and Fabio Lopiano.

The game plays in 150-180 minutes and features the following setting:

In Sankoré: The Pride of Mansa Musa, a dynamic, interactive, mid-weight Eurogame, players manage the prestigious University of Sankoré in 14th-century Timbuktu, tasked by the emperor Mansa Musa with spreading knowledge throughout West Africa, even as the great university is raised around them.

By enrolling and graduating your pupils, teaching classes, adding to your curriculum, and filling the great library with books, you will advance knowledge in four main disciplines: theology, law, mathematics, and astronomy. Once construction of the university is complete, the value that the empire places on each discipline will dramatically affect how you score the knowledge you have passed on.

In a dedicated solo mode, you compete against the “Distinguished Scholar”, a passionate and ambitious academic controlled by an elegant automated system. They may not be as nimble as you, but they are focused and driven and will strive to produce the best possible students.

Can you navigate the corridors of academic competition and bring renown to Mansa Musa’s prized university?

It’s unclear from the description whether the design shares anything with Merv: The Heart of the Silk Road, a 2020 Lopiano design from Osprey Games, but the graphics in both titles by Ian O’Toole are striking and invite speculation, both for this title and future ones.

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