Ever wonder what all those billionaires and oligarchs get up to when they gather together in Davos every year? We reckon that Tanel Kapp's New World Order is close to what this exclusive not-quite-secret Illuminati club is all about, but it's a game that you don't have to be an oligarch to play. And you won't need to be a billionaire to own a copy.
In New World Order, players take on one of eight characters, each with their own special ability. The 2-5 players will each be drafting cards from a display to make sets which they can then exchange for Achievement Tiles laid out in a pyramid display. As you might guess, you can only claim Achievement Tiles that are unobstructed - not those that are even partially covered by another tile - so the number of Achievement Tiles available increases as more are claimed, much like the card display in 7 Wonders Duel (Repos). The tiles all have a victory point value but they too can be organised into sets of matching colours: collect a matching set of three tiles and you can claim a Great Goal card which will give you another 500 point bonus.
This is essentially a hand management set collection card game but one that's played with open hands: you know what cards all the other players are collecting, which means you have the option of taking cards as much to deprive an opponent as to benefit yourself... There's a limit tho' to how many sets you can have on the go at any one time (7 with two or three players; just 5 when playing with four or five), so you may sometimes want to just dump a single card or small set that you can't immediately enlarge or cash in to contribute to an Achievement Tile purchase. You take a single action on your turn: draft a card or multiple matching cards; exchange completed sets of cards (or two half-completed sets) for an Achievement Tile; discard a set. That means turns are quick and you'll expect to take several turns per round. It can give you a significant advantage, however, if you're the first to pass (take none of the three actions) as that will mean you go first in the next round and get to draft cards from a full 13-card display. Getting early dibs on the drafting means you're much more likely to be able to benefit from being able to pick up matching cards and/or the cards you need to complete your sets.
But of course, oligarchs and moguls aren't always the best of chums. There are 'special cards' that initiate special actions, include cards that allow you to steal cards from another player's sets. Along with a catch up 'Blackmail' card that allows the player with the lowest number of victory points to rob the leader, these cards shake the game up a bit but they don't turn it into an overly aggressive 'take that' game. New World Order is much more about jockeying for position and knowing when to pass...
Shown here on Board's Eye View is a preview prototype of New World Order. We're expecting to see thicker tiles in the final version as the tiles in the prototype could be fiddly to pick up and chunkier tiles will make for a pyramid with greater table presence. We've enjoyed playing the game at all player counts but, for us, the sweet spot was as a very pacy three-player game because when you play with just three, your turn comes around again super quick. When you increase the number of players to the five-player maximum, it means you could be waiting noticeably for your turn to come around, so the game feels more drawn out. Click here to find out more about this upcoming game.