Ask your friends to sit down to see who can build a civilization, and they’ll probably tell you to get lost. Ain’t no one got 6 hours to sit down and do civilization-y type things like build military units, move them around on a map, manage cities, or control research output for new technologies. But with Innovation, a card game for 2-4 players, a civilization can be built as little as 30 minutes. And by that same token, it can fall just as fast!

Innovation uses a variety of symbols to represent the various components of a civilization’s power, ranging from its industrial capacity to its projection of power to its research capabilities. As you start out, the scope of what your civilization can do is severely limited. But research technologies, represented by cards like “The Wheel”, can accelerate your growth into high gear, giving you more actions in which to choose from while also building defenses against your opponent’s transgressions by giving your board more symbols while you’re at it.

But the game can swing at a moment’s notice. One day, you can sit content in your castle. The next day comes and you might just have your opponent blowing holes in your wall because of this “Gunpowder” thing they’ve uncovered. One day, you may be sailing around trading and trading away, and the next, you’ll become attacked by pirates. And watch out for what happens when your opponents somehow discover the Atomic Theory while they’re fiddling around in their Experimentation or when they catch you in a moment of weakness and demand EVERYTHING YOU’VE GOT.

Core Mechanics: Card tableau building.

Victory Condition: Winning at Innovation means being the first person to achieve the required number of cards. Without going too much into the rules of the game, to win, you have to have a certain number of achievements in your pile. These achievements are represented by cards. To acquire these achievements, you need to have performed a certain action or simply have enough points in your score pile to allow you to grab and achievement. Because score and achievements are separate things. There are also alternative paths to victory which you’ll have to keep in mind as well when playing.

Ease of learning: Because the explanation above for the win condition requires you to keep so many things in mind and because of the sheer amount of card text and symbols involved, this game is not easy to get into, especially during the first playthrough. It’s hard keeping track of what symbols do what, what cards do what, and what your opponents can do to you with your cards. On top of that, to get good at this game requires knowing what cards are critical in each age and what cards in each age can threaten your board position.

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Basic Innovation Strategy Guide
Innovation Review
Innovation Video Guide

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