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Votes for Women, one of the year’s best board games, belongs in a museum

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votes for women is a beautiful strategy board game that rewards an understanding of American history with exceptional gameplay. It carries forward the rich, card-driven mechanics of modern classics like twilight struggle And Labyrinth: War on Terror, But in a much more digestible format. The vocal anticipation from the gaming community for Fort Circle Games’ second release has been fully validated. it’s clear that votes for women A blueprint for how historical strategy games should be presented to modern audiences hungry for new experiences at the table.

Card-driven strategy games are a relatively new format in the world of tabletop gaming. rose to prominence with style twilight struggle, co-designed by Anand Gupta and Jason Mathews and first released in 2005. In that game, players took on the role of either the United States or the former Soviet Union and played cards representing historical figures and events. Essentially combining things like the Cuban Missile Crisis and the post-war Arab-Israeli conflict into one big top hat, twilight struggle Gave players fine control over the most subtle levers of political power. That’s how the game remained top ranked on the niche board game message board and aggregator Board Game Geek for so many years. gloomhavenhe is).

votes for women pits the suffragettes against the opposition in the fight to give women the right to vote. The goal of suffragists is to first propose the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution to the United States Congress, and then secure its ratification by at least 36 states. The opposition must either prevent the 19th Amendment from being proposed, or persuade at least 13 states to reject it. roll back and forth in six rounds in one riskA stylized map of the US, in which each side lays down powerful cards based on historical figures and events.

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Union Victory, Ida b.  Wells-Barnett, Woodrow Wilson, the Red Scare, and other cards from Votes for Women.  Each showcases its affiliated faction, major art, and gameplay influences.  There are also some clever little franchise-sized miles.

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The adorable agitator-shaped meeples are a standout part of the base game.
Photo: Charlie Hall / Play Gamez

Each card has unique powers. In the early game, the Union victory in the American Civil War could provide the suffragettes with some much-needed organizational momentum. Meanwhile, in later rounds, cards such as Red Scare can reduce the group’s political power in several kingdoms. Throughout the game, President Woodrow Wilson or suffragist Ida B. Powerful historical figures such as Wells-Barnett provide powerful boons in the form of regional support and increased organizational power. The game randomly generates a hand of cards for each player, meaning that no two games will ever feature the same mix of people or events.

votes for women Casually uses the most famous historical figures and events for its big, swinging moments. But where it really excels is in mixing larger political movements as well as smaller, lesser-known figures. Among them are the temperance movement, which passed the 18th Amendment and the Prohibition era, but also the growing power of conservative and religious legislators during World War I and the Industrial Revolution. It also doesn’t shy away from highlighting how race and class politics played a huge role in the decades-long struggle for the ballot.

The box itself is heavy with the weight of history, irrefutable evidence of the deep wounds that mark our political process to this day.
Photo: Charlie Hall / Play Gamez

But the masterful work wouldn’t be nearly as impressive without the context provided by historical advisor and professor Rachel Mitchell Gunter, game designer Tory Brown, and developer Kevin Bertram. Gunter’s touch is evident in nearly every component, from the seven pages of choice quotes and annotations on each card Historical supplement and designer’s notes the booklet that comes with it. Fort Circle has gone so far as to include 14 archival documents inside the box. While these are not full-size reproduction gameplay components, I found them to be invaluable in understanding the more subtle interactions going on in the game.

The box also includes a set of concise, easy-to-digest instructions that only fit on 11 pages. It’s a far cry from more traditional games in the card-driven genre, which can look more like a series of US Army PowerPoint slides than a modern board game manual. In another nod to modernity, it includes rules for one-on-one competitive play as well as for solo and cooperative play against card-driven bots.

votes for women Available now for $75 from the Forte Circle online storefront. Expect to see mentions of it throughout the year and into next, as it’s one of the best new games to come out this year. It is not just a game for the home, but deserves to be included in schools, local libraries, and wherever history can be contemplated and served.

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