Greeting, Commanders!

Today we’d like to show you an overview of the game structure, the dynamic changes happening during a game and the overall scoring system through the ages.

Time in Fractal


Each game is made up of a series of rounds called cycles. Each cycle is then further divided into three phases. 

During the Income phase, players collect various resources based on their empire engine. 

During the Action phase, they perform basic actions and play action cards, which also serve to move the game forward. 

During the Conflict phase, they resolve battles and sieges in contested sectors. 

Every 2 cycles, the game progresses to a new age, which represents an era of technical and social evolution. There are 3 ages in the games (for a total of 6 cycles): Genesis (Early game), Ascension (Mid game) and Fall (Late game). 

This change of era triggers a variety of effects (new technologies, new objectives, new mysteries) that represent the players’ discovery of the galaxy, and the evolving cosmos, some of which were introduced in the Chronicle #1 under the Living System. 

Today we’ll have a closer look at the way the game evolves over time.

Transitions


Between each age is a special period called the transition, during which players reveal the Mysteries of the galaxy and accomplish objectives (Imperial, Military, Productive, Scientific and Exploration) in order to score victory points. 

They also trigger the unique conditions related to the Utopian sector, the central part of the board and most heavily contested area in the game.

Finally, end-of-game conditions are triggered, which means that a game doesn’t have to run all the way to the end of Age 3, but can be won earlier with good enough strategies.

Age of Mysteries


As civilizations explore the universe, they will come across endless natural phenomena, discover unique artifacts, contact primitive civilizations, or unearth ruins of the old Federation. To represent that, at the beginning of an Age, the players must choose a Mystery to explore during this era (among two choices), and then strive to fully exploit it over the course of the age. Each mystery grants 3 effects of increasing power. In order to fully realize the potential of these cards, players need to control Mystery tokens, which can be obtained in a myriad of ways, from controlling the Utopian sector, to discovering ancient tokens and more. 

Mysteries offer very powerful effects, especially if fully “charged” and unique opportunities to obtain rare resources, allies, and various benefits, but they require a proper effort from the players, possibly risking new strategies and bold actions to fully exploit them.

Technological Wonders


Similarly, the technology of the empires progresses over time. To represent that, each Age contains a pool of 10 technologies, 5 military and 5 civil technology card. 

Military technologies provide versatility to warfare tactics, as well as improve troop transport and unit resilience, while civil technologies improve the production of resources, give flexibility to the player over the game mechanics or improve basic actions of the game (Colonize, Recruit, Advance and Research).

As the Ages progress, the pool of technologies is replaced by 10 new technologies with a greater impact on the game. Finding the natural synergy between technologies and only investing in the right cards to complement your build is the key to success in a game of Fractal.

Living Objectives


Each game session contains a unique combination of 2 objective cards. During the first Age, the first objective is revealed and each card indicates the conditions necessary to obtain victory points of 5 different types (detailed below).
Then when the game moves to Age 2 a second one is revealed and added to the current objective increasing the difficulty. The combination of both cards create a huge amount of different conditions, fluctuating over the course of the game, to insure that no two games feel alike. 

Imperial objectives are associated with one of the game’s resources, influence. This resource represents how orderly and efficient the empire has been in solving obstacles and building imperial colonies. 

Commercial objectives represent the efficiency of empires in building solar extraction stations, controlling rich productive areas and exploitation zones or key sectors of the galaxy that contain rare resources.

Scientific objectives mark an important point of progress for civilizations, and they usually ask players to complete a certain number of technologies, or control areas with relics or mysteries. 

Military objectives are one of the most variable and flexible in the game, asking players to win battles, control certain amount of sectors or control strategic points of the galaxy. 

Exploration objectives require the player to colonize, explore and control different types of sectors. There are 5 types of sectors in the game: Arid, Biodiverse, Productive, Non-habitable and the unique Utopian. They each come with their own potential and balancing their control is necessary for explorers to succeed.

Ascension and Fall


Fractal doesn’t take place in a young universe filled with riches. It starts after the collapse of the Federation, and their systematic exhaustion of every resources in the galaxy. The species reborn are setting out to prevent their own destruction. But while most of the galaxy is on the brink of annihilation, there are still some secret powers hiding in the universe.

To represent that mechanically, we introduced the Utopian sector, the beating heart of the board and most contested sector in the game. It represents the Ascension of age 2 and a way to stave off the Fall of age 3. It gives victory points to whoever player is in control, grants unique bonuses, but also protects from the fall, which is entropy reaching critical mass and decimating the galaxy and the board with it.

As a result, a game of Fractal is not simply about one civilization gaining dominion over the others, but about survival in a dying universe, which dramatically changes the way the game plays out. And while it may seem hopeless, there might be a way to change this somber fate, in the Aftermath…

Aftermath


Every victory leads to a new path. When a player wins during the core game, the composition of their victory points, acquired through the Objective cards, leads the entire galaxy down a new path related to these victory conditions.

For example, a military win will lead to the path of war, where science and imperial manoeuvring become obsolete in the face of military conquest. These new games all contain a small part of the overall story, and as empires fight and explore new ways to dominate the stars, they’ll learn more about the fate of the cosmos.

By doing so, new objectives, new technologies and new mysteries will be unveiled, which will forever change the core experience itself and reflect the journey on the campaign. But not everything will be found the first time around…

 

We’d like to thank you for your friendly interest in the game, and please feel free to ask us any questions about the revealed information in the posts.

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