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New Kingdom: Sowers

New Kingdom: Sowers is a 15-20 minute filler-length card game designed by Scott Kabel that's inspired by the Biblical parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:3-9. Like New Kingdom Gaming's previous title, New Kingdom: Gardeners then, this is a game that's designed to appeal to Evangelical Christians, but that doesn't mean you have to be religious to play: the game is playable just as well without any knowledge or appreciation of the Biblical parable around which it's themed.

New Kingdom: Sowers can be played as a solitaire puzzle or as a competitive two-player game where the players represent Priscilla and Aquila - a couple who appear in the New Testament in Acts of the Apostles and in the Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians and Timothy. There's a small board showing four types of soil/locations: The Path, Rocky Soil, Thorny Soil and Good Soil. Each player has an identical deck of 20 cards made up of yellow and black seed cards numbered 1-10.

To win you need to have all your black seeds planted in the Good Soil in ascending order. Unless you have an especially fortuitous draw (or forget to shuffle your draw deck) you'll have to achieve this by playing cards to the Rocky Soil, Thorny Soil and The Path, triggering the actions at those locations allowing you to pick up cards from the board and manipulate your hand and deck.

In effect, New Kingdom: Sowers is a Tower of Hanoi-style puzzle game. The rules are commendably simple and the game looks easy at first glance but once you start playing you realise that the game presents a challenging puzzle. It's made all the more challenging by the fact that you aren't just racing against your opponent: you immediately lose if your deck runs out before you've planted all your black seed cards or if you're unable to complete an action that's triggered by your card placement. When you play solo, you play against a bot that has their 1-10 black seed cards in the correct order, playing one card to the Good Soil each turn: so you're effectively playing against a 10-turn timer. You'll only beat it by being able to place down runs of black seed cards.

New Kingdom: Sowers benefits from Melissa Murakami's appealing art and the game will be coming to Kickstarter on 23 April. Click here to register your interest.

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