In Furtherance, from Flannel Games, you play the role of the leader of a kingdom and, on your turn, you’ll be collecting items, planning buildings, recruiting troops, researching (a way to mitigate the luck of what cards are available), building and mining for gold. Each of the 2–4 players has a worker action to take, with an additional worker granted towards the end of the game, as well as then activating their troops. Workers can be upgraded to a more specific type, and each player will begin with a choice of leaders which will drive their strategy. There is a good mixture of buildings, items and units to add to the game's replay value.
Games can be won either by destroying your opponents or by scoring victory points (VP) towards a goal; and the first to the 6 VP goal wins the game. You need to react to your opponents and how they play – if both players go for building VP or unit VP, it turns into a race, but if a player goes on the offensive with troops then the game can change significantly and turn into an outright battle. Combat is simple – units have an attack and hit point value so that couldn’t really be any easier, and if there isn’t a unit to fight, then you can march into your opponent’s castle and either attack their castle directly or go for one of their buildings.
With more than two players, there is a constant need to watch the scores, and it can become a ‘gang up on the current leader’ situation - which does tend to extend the game length somewhat. This means that games can come down to timing rather than good play, and with the risk of 'kingmaking' (a losing player getting to effectively pick the winner from those in the lead).
The solo mode is a good castle defence game but lacks the variability of the multiplayer – you are only fighting against units and trying to reach a VP goal, so it is a good way to learn the game, but not so much if you really want to see what the game has to offer.
Furtherance can be very confrontational, depending on the players' approach. Getting an engine going can take a long time, and the length of the game depends entirely on how aggressive players are – the more troops on the board, the slower the game is going to be, to the extent that it can make it really drag out. There are some major tempo changes - when a player hits 4VP they get an additional worker and can do twice as much as everyone so, in a two-player game, that player will be highly likely to win, but with more it can be a slow and bloody fight to the death as the others gang up on the leader.
The artwork from Elizabeth Gasse and Michael Logsdon functions well here, although it has the look of an independent publisher. The board is clear and easy to use, with plenty of space for everything. You can see at a glance what everyone’s VP is, but some of the cards are hard to read and the choice of font makes playing the game difficult when trying to read your opponent’s card across the table.
If you like a confrontational punch-up to the death (which could also be a VP building race) then Brent and Janine Keath's Furtherance could be just the game for you.
(Review by Steve Berger)