Merchants of the Dark Road from Elf Creek Games
The days grow shorter and the dark season is upon us. Cities still rely on caravans to bring them goods, so a brave few go out past the safety of the city walls and are handsomely rewarded for their troubles.
Merchants of the Dark Road is a new game from Brian Suhre (Coldwater Crown, Freshwater Fly, Paradox), and features the art of Andrew Bosley (Everdell, Tapestry, Caylus 1303). Players fill their wagons and travel the dark winter roads, seeking fame and fortune.
You can get a copy of Merchants of the Dark Road for $49, or a copy of the Deluxe Edition with upgraded components for $74.
There's even a luxurious "All In" level with bi-color plated metal coins, coin pouches, and card sleeves for $125. Check out the campaign before it ends on June 26, 2020.
About Merchants of the Dark Road
Merchants of the Dark Road is a dice placement game with a rondel style action system. Players move around the city of Highreach, selling goods to heroes, and form caravans to go out on the dark roads. Don't neglect either of these ways to prosper, as it's the lower of the two scores that you'll keep at the end of the game.
Each player has a wagon-shaped player board where they place dice and fit their goods.
The Deluxe Edition has dual-layer boards to keep your components neatly in place.
On your turn, you'll select a die in your reserve and move it up into your wagon, then perform its associated bonus action. The die that it replaces will go into the action pool.
You'll move around the city (according to the value of one of the dice in your action pool, with the help of a horseshoe if you have one). The dice in your action pool also allow you to take a district's action.
Action dice come in either Night or Illuminated form. Illuminated dice allow you to take an additional building action.
Once you've prepared your wagon, you will depart from Yurg's Excursions to visit the Ruins or travel to a distant city. Companions like the Snow Bee and Ice Mouse are waiting to come along.
At the Ruins of Yin you'll find upgraded goods. Equip the heroes at The Ringway Inn with weapons, armor, and other goods, and invite them to join your caravan. At the Ruins, having help will increase your choices.
Other players may also take part in the journey. When there is an event, each player will draft dice for their rewards. You will travel to return heroes to their homes and fulfill commissions obtained at the Queen's Palace. The caravan leader receives a bonus for their bravery and ambition.
More on Kickstarter
Merchants of the Dark Road is filled with custom dice: the Oracle of Lumi die, the Ruins of Yin die, five translucent Travel dice, five Merchant dice, and thirty-six action dice with "star" pips.
Each player also has a Wagoneeple in their color. The Deluxe Edition has upgraded wooden wagon meeples with screen printing.
The Deluxe Edition also comes with sixteen resin lanterns, twelve die-cast metal horseshoes, and twenty-four resin blazing quartz.
The Dark Market Coin Pouch and Ruins Map tokens in the Deluxe Edition have just been upgraded to resin through unlocked stretch goals!
Looking for even more? You can add-on bi-color plated Lumi Coins, coin pouches, and card sleeves (included in the All-In Pledge).
There are lots more unlocked stretch goals, plus great videos and a link to the rulebook, so be sure to check out the campaign before it ends on June 26, 2020.