In Pax Pamir, each player assumes the role of a nineteenth-century Afghan leader attempting to forge a new state after the collapse of the Durrani Empire. Western histories often call this period “The Great Game” because of the role played by the Europeans who attempted to use Central Asia as a theater for their own rivalries. In this game, those empires are viewed strictly from the perspective of the Afghans who sought to manipulate the interloping ferengi (foreigners) for their own purposes.
In terms of gameplay, Pax Pamir is a pretty straightforward tableau builder. Players will spend most of their turns purchasing cards from a central market and then playing those cards in front of them in a single row called a court. Playing cards adds units to the game’s map and grants access to additional actions that can be taken to disrupt other players and inﬂuence the course of the game. That last point is worth emphasizing. Though everyone is building their own row of cards, the game oﬀers many ways for players to interfere with each other, both directly and indirectly.
To survive, players will organize into coalitions. In the game, these coalitions are identified chieﬂy by their sponsors. Two of the coalitions (British and Russian) are supported by European powers. The third coalition (Afghan) is backed by nativist elements who want to end European involvement in the region.
Throughout the game, the diﬀerent coalitions will be evaluated when a special event card, called a Dominance Check, is resolved. If a single coalition has a commanding lead during one of these checks, players loyal to that coalition will receive victory points based on their inﬂuence in that coalition. However, if Afghanistan remains fragmented during one of these checks, players instead will receive victory points based on their personal power base.
To play the game, all you really need to do is read the rules (14/20 pages, it’s a surprisingly easy and short read, the first page is quoted above in full, and we won’t be needing the 1-2 player rules), and commit to seeing it through to the end.
This time though, I’m opening up the options to include PBEM. We can either play by sharing logfiles of our moves by email, or through screenshots I’ll provide to the forum. PBEM will require that participants install and learn to use Vassal, but it’ll be easier on me and I’ll get to see how new users get along with the module. PBF allows people to play on their phone. Either way, I’ll be fielding rules questions and keeping the game flowing here, while a game thread will contain all negotiations and screenshots. I’ll probably play too, depending on the number of participants.
So, who is interested, and in which format? 3-5 players.