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Jiangnan: Life of Gentry

The designer DuGuWei and the publisher Moaideas hail from Asia, and the setting for this game is a province in 16th Century China, but Jiangnan: Life of Gentry is very much a 'eurogame'. It brings together a comprehensive array of eurogame mechanics in its recreation of the lives of Ming Dynasty artists and scholars as players compete to amass the most points over six rounds. The core rules are really designed for three or four players but there are tweaks for the two-player game and a Bot is included to facilitate solo play.

In addition to coins, the other currency of the game is 'inspiration': ideas for painting, drama and literature. You'll be collecting ideas tokens to complete works that can earn you money and points. Along with set collection and engine building elements, Jiangnan uses worker placement mechanics to trigger various actions. There's an element of bag building, adding tokens to your individual bag to improve the efficacy of your action selection; and there's an important area control element too: the boats sailing across the bottom of the board each have two possible options for what will be scored in particular rounds, and it's the player with area control that chooses which one will be scored...

There's a lot going on in Jiangnan, a plethora of mechanics and a busy board, but despite this the game isn't hard to grasp. Indeed, Moaideas have anticipated that some players will want to increase the challenge because the modular board is double-sided and can be assembled in different combinations along with additional advanced rules. This means that the game can one played across six incrementally advanced 'chapters', adding to Jiangnan's replay value.

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