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Run a 3 Ring Circus, Plan in The White Castle, and Get Good Seats at the Last Supper

by W. Eric Martin

• I feel like I should wait a week to post about this game, but let’s write about it now:

Ierusalem: Anno Domini is the debut title from designer Carmen García Jiménez, a game that publisher Devir plans to release in Europe at the end of March 2023 and in the United States sometime later in 2023.

Here’s an overview of this 1-4 player game

Jerusalem, spring 33 AD: A crowd gathers at the city gates to welcome Jesus of Nazareth as he prepares to celebrate the Passover seder with his apostles and followers. With a revolutionary message, he has garnered supporters everywhere but also looks of suspicion among religious authorities. The Last Supper will soon be celebrated, and the fate of one of the most influential characters in human history will be sealed.

In Ierusalem: Anno Domini, we represent one of the communities of followers of Jesus of Nazareth who, coming to Jerusalem from nearby towns and villages, want to approach the place of the Last Supper and position ourselves as close as possible to the seats of Jesus and his apostles. The closer we are, the more points we earn at game’s end. We also score for offering tokens and parabola tiles we’ve accumulated.

Individual player board

Different locations are shown on the board: the market, the desert, the mountain, the lake, and the temple. After sending our followers to one of these locations, we obtain stones, bread, and fish, as well as denarii or cards that allow us to do more than one action. Among these actions, players can choose between listening to a parable, going to the table, changing seats, or doing a favor, among other things. All this happens while the patience of the Sanhedrin runs out. When this happens, as symbolized by a tile moving in a marker, the endgame is triggered.

However, the main element of the game is the cards. Each card has a symbol corresponding to one of five key locations in the game. As we play them, we form combinations that allow us to bring the apostles to the table of the Last Supper. The optimal placement of our followers around Jesus and the apostles will also be done through the management of letters, as well as various resources at our disposal.

Behind a very immersive theme, Ierusalem: Anno Domini will not disappoint lovers of good challenges. Players have a wide range of possibilities at their fingertips and multiple ways to earn points. Preparing the best strategies to get the most out of your followers will be one of the keys to victory.

• Other titles coming from Devir in 2023 include the path-building game Savernake Forest from Rodrigo Rego and Germán P. Millán‘s Bamboo, which is set in the world of Silk and Bitoku, both of which I covered in an August 2022 Gen Con report.

• Beyond that, in Q3 2023 Devir will release 3 Ring Circus, a 1-4 player game from Remo Conzadori and Fabio Lopiano:

The circus has come to town! Under the tent, jugglers, clowns, magicians, strongmen and wild beasts capture the curiosity of a dedicated audience that applauds non-stop. After each performance, your little troupe accumulates fame and may one day pique the interest of P.T. Barnum, the greatest circus mogul of all time.

In 3 Ring Circus, players take on the role of a circus director who tours the United States at the end of the 19th century. Your objective is to hire artists and offer performances in various towns and cities with the intention of gaining fame. In towns, features are easy to set up and give you starting resources to upgrade your cast; small cities are somewhat more demanding, but they allow you to come into contact with better artists; audiences in big cities are even more demanding and want to see very specific numbers, but performing there brings you much more fame!

On their turn, players can hire an artist or host a performance. At the beginning of the game, each player’s circuses are empty, so it will be necessary to contract to form the company. The artist cards grant more or fewer benefits depending on the order in which they act, so one of the keys to the game is planning the shows that will be offered.

If they decide to act, the players must move to a free space on the map. If it is a town, they receive the most basic currency cards as a prize. If you perform in a small city, depending on the number of pedestals you have in your company you can claim more or fewer entry cards (the second most valuable) or fame points. In the big cities, you get a lot of fame points, but the public always demands a specific type of artist.

While your little circus tries to survive, the great and splendid Barnum Circus travels across the country, and when it arrives in a big city, a score is held in that region, and the circuses that have given the most performances there will gain even more fame.

• Designers Shei S. and Isra C., who partnered with Devir on 2020’s The Red Cathedral, have a new strategy game coming in Q3 2023. Here’s an overview of The White Castle, which is for 1-4 players:

The heron flies over the Himeji sky while the Daimio, from the top of the castle, watches his servants move. Gardeners tend the pond where the koi carp live, warriors stand guard on the walls, and courtiers crowd the gates, pining for an audience that brings them closer to the innermost circles of the court. When night falls, the lanterns are lit and the workers return to their clan.

In The White Castle, players control one of these clans and want to score more points than the rest. To do so, they must amass influence in the court, manage resources boldly, and place their workers in the right place at the right time. All of the action takes place in the most imposing fortress in modern Japan: Himeji Castle, where the banner of the Sakai clan flies under the orders of Daimio Sakai Tadakiyo.

The White Castle is a Eurogame in which players use resource management, worker placement, and dice placement to carry out actions. During the game, over three rounds players send members of their clan to tend the gardens, defend the castle, or progress up the social ladder of the nobility. At the end of the match, these activities award players points in a variety of ways.

The central panel shows Himeji Castle in all its splendor, divided into several zones. The largest is inside the castle, with the Room of the Thousand Carpets, where the courtiers must ascend socially until they reach the circle closest to the Daimio to enjoy his favor. There is also the pond and the gardens, patiently tended by the gardeners where everyone can relax and contemplate its beauty without restriction. Another important area is the wall and the outside of the castle, where the warriors patrol and stand guard. Finally, we find the area of the three bridges, where the three types of dice that can be used to carry out actions are accumulated, and the personal domain of each player, where they will keep track of their resources and where they will have a reserve of workers.

That was not what I thought it would be. Maybe the hamburgers will show up in the expansion?

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