Fame and Fortune , the expansion for Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game , will be on store shelves late next week, and its rules (pdf, 3.1 MB) are already available on our support page . Among its many enhancements, Fame and Fortune introduces Great Person cards, which represent some of the world’s most influential people. Today, we’re pleased to present a designer diary by Kevin Wilson in which he further explains this exciting addition.

As the Fame and Fortune expansion for Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game approaches, I thought I'd share a designer diary. Those of you with sharp eyes may remember that way back in one of my articles for the base game ( Pinkies Out! ), I dropped a major hint about my eventual plans for great people:

“As for the great people, I wanted them to be simple without ruling out the possibility of doing something more complicated with them later on, so I designed them to operate like a really good building that could be moved around sometimes.”

I knew I wanted to eventually have specific great people such as William Shakespeare and Albert Einstein running around the game, but as I looked over the amount of components in the box, I knew I’d have to wait until later. So, I put those thoughts in the back of my head and invented a simple great person system that would be easy to hook into later when I got around to it. Well, I’ve gotten around to it now, and I think it’s a strong addition to the game that adds a lot of variety and strategy.

The sky’s the limit

At the start of the game, you turn the great person markers face up and (if you wish), sort them by type. You then shuffle the new great person deck and place it next to the great person markers. Then, during the game, whenever a player gains a great person, they draw a card from the great person deck, which will look something like the one on the right.

The picture in the upper left and the name at the bottom of the card show you that Orville is a great builder/inventor, so you reach into the pile of great person markers and pull out the appropriate marker.

This marker is used just like great people originally worked in the base game, except Orville also gives you the 1-use ability to build an aircraft unit for free, even if you haven’t unlocked aircraft units yet. Want to send Kitty Hawk out hunting barbarians early in the game? Now you can. Best of all, Orville’s card stays facedown until you use it. So, the other players know that you have a great builder, but not which of the 7 great builders it is.

But what if all of the great builder markers are already in play? Well, you simply discard Orville and draw again until you get a great person corresponding to an available marker. If a great person is killed on the board, then you must check to make sure that you don’t have too many great person cards of that type, and discard down (your choice which) if you do.

Since there are 7 each of the 6 types of great people, the great person deck adds more surprises and twists to the game. Canny players will save their 1-shot great people for just the right moment, making a bid for victory or foiling another player’s plans at the last second.

On the shoulders of giants

Actually, designing the great person deck was a lot of fun. Not only did it allow me to bring a lot of fun and unique effects into Civilization , it also allowed me to pay a small homage to some of my personal heroes. In addition, it was an interesting challenge trying to find a quote that I felt communicated something important about that great person. Sometimes, I wasn’t able to get quote and mechanics to mesh together as well as I would like, but there are a few cards in the deck that I’m extremely proud of in this regard.

Overall, the great person deck strengthens the appeal of the culture track a bit, adds new twists and turns to the game, and increases replayability. It’s a mechanic that I think players will greatly enjoy.

Thanks, Kevin! Download the rules for more, and look for Fame and Fortune on store shelves next week.

Designed by Kevin Wilson, Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game is inspired by the legendary computer game series created by Sid Meier. 2-4 players take on the roles of famous leaders in charge of historical civilizations, each with his or her own abilities. Players explore a module game board, build cities and buildings, fight battles, research powerful technology, and attract great people by advancing their culture. Choose your path to glory!

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