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New Game Round-up: Democracy at the Table, New Masters of Commerce & A First Look at Axis & Allies 1941

W. Eric Martin
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• Designer Mark Rein•Hagen is best known the World of Darkness series of role-playing games, particularly Vampire: The Masquerade, but he's published a few "regular" games as well, the most recent one being Love Live the King from White Wolf in 2006.

Now Rein•Hagen has a new title coming out titled Democracy: Majority Rules from new publisher Make•Believe Games, with the expected release date being September 2012 with a MSRP of $40. In a press release announcing the game, Rein•Hagen said, "Make-Believe has taken an intense, immersive, modular game and added some amazing production values to create something that is something completely new. After years away from the industry working in political consulting I'm back home again and I couldn't be happier." Here's an overview of the game:

Quote:
Democracy: Majority Rules is a game of debate, diplomacy and deal making. You play an activist, a power broker or the leader of a political party – in any case, someone who organizes campaigns, games the system and wins elections. Your job is to make compromises, yet always stand by your principles, form coalitions yet still achieve your agenda. To succeed you must herd cats, spin facts into a web of deception, and speak power to truth.

Enter a world of mudslinging, dirty tricks and the crooks and liars who manipulate the masses, juke the system and corrupt the true believers in order to throw out the tyrants, make the world a better place, and save us all from ourselves. A canny and calculating political operative, you are battling to take over a country in crisis. The old-line political parties are weak and divided, primed for being taken over from within or pushed out of the way. Your movement has captured the imagination of a small but loyal few and now it's your job to grow it into a national force. The goal is to put your handpicked candidate into high office, lead the country, and put your mark on history.

Democracy: Majority Rules is focused on the retail work of politics at every scale: making friends, forging alliances, outmaneuvering rivals, deceiving enemies, building consensus, selling your point of view, creating a coalition, hiding resentment, feigning weakness, blindsiding foes, and turning doubters into believers. It's all in the game.

While the game plays 3-5, it can be combined with a second set to expand the game to 6-10 players.

• As previously noted in the 2012 release calendar from Asmodee, the French publisher/distributor is publishing its own version of Britton Roney's Masters of Commerce, the debut title from Grouper Games, but given that Asmodee is French and all games released in French must have gloriously inviting images – okay, perhaps that's not actually a law, but instead they are merely concerned that players feel compelled to play – the publisher is changing some details of the game, namely replacing the generic business locations that differed only by color and dressing them up as products in which the merchant players will now invest. French game news site TricTrac has posted preview images of the four businesses, and it notes that this new version – which will be titled something more French-like than Masters of Commerce – is expected out in November 2012.

Mmmmmm – squeeze me some, too, please!

• On Axis&Allies.org, David Jensen previews Axis & Allies 1941, due out July 27 June 19, 2012, from designer Larry Harris, Jr. and publisher Wizards of the Coast. Well, okay, he posts lots of pics of the components – no game play details yet, but I'm sure he'll have those up soon.

• Titles from U.S. publisher Cambridge Games Factory are somewhat tough to acquire outside the U.S. – and some are tougher than others – so designer Jeffrey Allers is selling extra copies of the newly released Pala that he's received from CGF, with those copies being available through fellow designer Bernd Eisenstein's Irongames online shop. (Eisenstein has also added a German version of the rules.) For details on the game play, head to this Pala designer diary that Allers wrote in October 2011 when the game was supposedly going to be released at Spiel. How time flies...
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