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How To Play, Teach And Win Pax Renaissance


"Pax Renaissance" is a strategic board game where players assume the roles of wealthy bankers in the Renaissance era, wielding financial influence to shape the future of Europe. The game offers four distinct paths to victory: securing an Imperial Victory through control of kingdoms and vassals; achieving a Renaissance Victory by advancing republics and law; pursuing a Globalization Victory by dominating trade and discovery; or claiming a Holy Victory by leading the supreme religion. Players navigate a complex web of political, religious, and economic power, using their resources to support kings, fund explorations, and instigate revolutions, all while competing to leave the most indelible mark on history.

How to teach Pax Renaissance

Starting with the victory conditions when teaching "Pax Renaissance" provides a clear goal for players, framing all subsequent rules and strategies within the context of how to achieve a win. Understanding the four paths to victory—Imperial, Renaissance, Globalization, and Holy—gives players a strategic direction and helps them make sense of the game's complex systems in relation to these end goals. This approach turns the learning process into a series of strategic decisions rather than an overwhelming set of rules.

Focusing next on how to gain Florins, the in-game currency, naturally follows because the acquisition of wealth is critical to pursuing any of the victory conditions. Florins are needed to purchase cards, fund actions, and influence the board state. By understanding the funding mechanism early on, players can begin to plan their strategy and make informed decisions that align with their chosen path to victory. This foundation in the game's economic system allows players to appreciate the importance of resource management and strategic investment.

Every subsequent rule or nuance introduced can then be linked back to these concepts, providing a coherent learning experience. For example, the significance of trade fairs, commerce ops, and the repressing of concessions can be understood in terms of how they affect a player's ability to gain Florins and, by extension, pursue their victory condition. Similarly, actions like selling cards or engaging in political manoeuvres are contextualized by their impact on a player's economic position and strategic goals.

Teaching "Pax Renaissance" in this manner allows players to understand the interconnectedness of the game's systems, where every action has both immediate and long-term consequences for achieving victory. It simplifies the learning process by giving players a lens through which to view the game's complexity, making it easier to grasp how individual elements fit into the broader strategy. This approach not only aids in teaching the game but also enhances the playing experience by emphasizing strategic thinking and planning from the outset.

Funding in Pax Renaissance is a mini-game in itself

In "Pax Renaissance," the funding mechanism represents a critical layer of strategy, functioning almost as a mini-game within the broader context of guiding the Renaissance to its modern birth. This financial system is not just about accumulating wealth; it involves strategic investment, manipulation of markets, and influencing political landscapes to secure victory. Florins, the in-game currency, are pivotal for purchasing cards, funding actions, and influencing the various victory conditions.

Trade Fairs:

Players can earn Florins by running trade fairs through Europe, collecting tolls from their trade concessions positioned along the trade routes. This method benefits players with numerous concessions and can significantly influence the game's economic landscape.

Commerce operations

Cards with commerce operations (ops) allow players to generate Florins by activating these ops. Building a tableau with multiple commerce ops can create a sustainable revenue stream, enabling players to fund further actions and card purchases.

Selling Cards

Players can sell cards from their hand or tableau for Florins. This action can provide a quick influx of cash but must be balanced against losing potential strategic advantages offered by the sold cards.

Repressing Concessions

By repressing opponent concessions using the repress ops, players can disrupt their opponents income and gain Florins in the process. This action can be a double-edged sword, as it may also reduce the incentive by other players to run trade fairs which could benefit more than one player.

Gaining More Concessions

Acquiring new concessions, either through regime changes or playing cards with pawn agents, expands a player's income opportunities. More concessions mean more toll collection during trade fairs.

Surprise Sell-Out

Selling high-value cards, such as royal couples or old maids, can provide a significant amount of Florins, potentially allowing a player to purchase critical cards in the market or fund expensive actions.

Levies Raised During Trade Fairs

While primarily stabilizing empires, raising levies can indirectly influence the economic flow by affecting the outcomes of trade fairs and the distribution of Florins.

The game's funding mechanism demands players engage in a delicate balance of investment and expenditure, where timing and strategic foresight are key. Players must anticipate market shifts, exploit opportunities for economic gain, and carefully manage their resources to fund their ambitions. Success in "Pax Renaissance" is not just about amassing Florins; it's about strategically deploying them to shape the political, religious, and cultural landscape of Renaissance Europe.


In "Pax Renaissance," on your turn, you may perform two actions from the following options: buy a card from the market, play a card from your hand to your tableau, activate a card's operation in your Tableau, sell a card from your hand or tableau for florins, initiate a trade fair and claim victory.

Buy a card from the market

The open drafting of buying cards from the market is a central mechanism in "Pax Renaissance" that significantly influences gameplay and strategy. This process involves players purchasing cards from a shared market, with each card not only providing specific actions and abilities but also playing a critical role in the pursuit of the game's various victory conditions. The market setup and the drafting mechanism encourage strategic flexibility and foresight, making the building of one's tableau—a collection of cards placed in front of a player—a dynamic and tactical aspect of the game.

Strategic Depth through Open Drafting

Dynamic Market: The market is continuously refreshed, presenting a constantly changing array of options. Players must adapt their strategies based on the available cards and anticipate what their opponents might be aiming for. This requires players to balance their immediate needs with longer-term strategic goals, making the drafting process pivotal to the game's depth.

Visible Opportunities

Since the drafting is open, all players can see which cards are available for purchase and at what cost. This visibility allows players to infer their opponents' strategies based on the cards they buy, leading to a deeply interactive and predictive game environment. Players can plan counter-strategies, block opponents from getting cards crucial to their victory paths, or pivot their strategies based on market dynamics.

Flexible Tableau Building

The cards players draft and add to their tableau determine their potential actions, influence on the map, and contribution to victory conditions. A flexible tableau is key to adapting to the evolving game state. Players must make choices not only based on their current strategy but also on maintaining the ability to pivot as the game progresses. This means selecting cards that offer a range of actions and opportunities to respond to opponents' moves and shifting victory conditions.

Interconnected Systems

The cards in a player's tableau interact with each other, the game's economic system (florins), and the broader game board (Europe's political and religious landscape). Drafting cards that synergize with one another or disrupt opponents' tableaus becomes a nuanced decision-making process, integrating the open drafting mechanism with the game's thematic and strategic essence.

Timing and Economy

Deciding when to buy a card and when to save florins or invest them elsewhere is a critical aspect of the drafting process. The cost of cards in the market varies, with cards becoming cheaper as they move toward the left. Strategic timing in purchasing cards can give players economic advantages, allowing for more actions or the acquisition of key cards at critical moments.

By making the drafting of cards an open and strategic process, "Pax Renaissance" emphasizes flexibility, foresight, and player interaction. The ability to build a tableau that is not only coherent but also adaptable to changing circumstances is central to mastering the game. This mechanism encourages players to think strategically about the cards they select, how they interact, and how they can be leveraged across different phases of the game to achieve victory.

Play a card from your hand - one shots

In "Pax Renaissance," playing a card from your hand to your tableau can trigger various one-shot effects, which are powerful, single-use actions that can significantly impact the game's board state, economic conditions, or player strategies. These one-shots fall into categories based on their primary focus:

Military and Political Changes: These one-shots can alter the control of regions, initiate wars, or cause regime changes, directly affecting the political landscape of Europe.

Economic Shifts: Economic one-shots might trigger trade fairs, influence the flow of florins, or change the economic stability of regions, impacting players' income and strategic opportunities.

Religious Transformations: Religious one-shots can spread or suppress certain religions, start religious wars, or affect the religious composition of regions, influencing the holy victory condition.

Playing a card and activating its one-shot effect requires strategic timing and consideration of the current game state, as these actions can provide significant advantages or disrupt opponents' plans.

Activate a card's operation in your Tableau

In "Pax Renaissance," the tableau operations (Ops) are divided into four categories, each representing different strategic actions that players can take during the game. These Ops are activated by cards in the player's tableau and can have significant impacts on the game's political, religious, and economic landscape. Here are the various Ops under each category as listed in the rule book:

Religious Ops

Inquisition: Silence the target card and potentially remove opposing figures, solidifying the dominance of your faith.

Economic Ops

Commerce: Take 1 florin from a card in the market.

Political Ops

Behead: Discard a card in opponents tableau.

Taxation: Collect taxes from regions, influencing the economic flow and potentially destabilizing opponents' regions.

Repress: Move opposing pieces to the "repressed" area, changing their function and position on the board, potentially gain florins.

Vote: Influence the governance of a region, changing it from Kingdom to republic, which is directly linked to winning conditions of imperial and Renaissance victories.

Military Ops

Corsair: Move pirates and perform naval attack.

Siege: Attempt to remove fortifications or pieces from a region, preparing for conquest or to weaken defences.

Campaign: Engage in military actions to conquer territories, shifting control of regions and potentially changing the map's political landscape.

These Ops provide players with a wide range of strategic options, allowing them to influence the game through economic, political, military, and religious means. Each Op requires careful planning and timing, as well as the appropriate card in the player's tableau to activate, making tableau management a critical aspect of "Pax Renaissance" strategy.

Trade fair

The Trade Fair in "Pax Renaissance" is a critical economic engine that simulates the historical movement of goods and wealth throughout Europe, with its impact and benefits directly influenced by players' concession tokens placed on the game board. When a Trade Fair is triggered, it proceeds along a predetermined route, interacting with regions where players have established concessions, reflecting their involvement in the Renaissance trade networks.

Key Elements of Trade Fairs:

● Concession Dependency: The success and profitability of a Trade Fair largely depend on the placement of concession tokens. As the fair travels its route, it disburses florins (the game's currency) to players who own concessions in the territories it passes through. This mechanism incentivizes strategic placement of concessions to capture the wealth generated by these moving markets.

● Multiple Beneficiaries: Trade Fairs can benefit multiple players simultaneously, as the fair's route is likely to pass through concessions owned by different players. This shared benefit can inject significant amounts of florins into the game's economy, enabling a range of actions from card purchases to military campaigns, thus fostering an interconnected and competitive economic landscape.

● Levies and Stability: Beyond economic benefits, Trade Fairs also involve the raising of levies in the territories they visit. Each territory along the trade route has the opportunity to raise levies, represented by adding military units (knights or rooks) to the board. This process can help stabilize territories by bolstering their defenses against potential threats, including military actions by other players or attempts to change control through political maneuvering. Levies ensure that territories become more resilient and less susceptible to sudden changes in control, adding a layer of strategic depth to territory management.

● Strategic Implications: The raising of levies through Trade Fairs not only secures territories but also influences players' broader strategic considerations. Stable territories can serve as reliable sources of income and strategic strongholds, affecting decisions around military campaigns, political actions, and even the pursuit of victory conditions. Players must balance the immediate economic gains from concessions with the long-term benefits of stability and control over key regions of the board.

In essence, Trade Fairs in "Pax Renaissance" offer a multifaceted mechanism that intertwines economic gain with territorial stability. Players must adeptly navigate these dynamics, leveraging concessions for income while also considering the strategic advantages of stabilized territories through the raising of levies. This blend of economic and military considerations encapsulates the complexity and interdependence of Renaissance Europe's trade networks and political landscape.


"Pax Renaissance" is a strategically rich and thematically deep board game that transports players back to the vibrant and transformative era of the Renaissance. As wealthy bankers, players navigate the intricate tapestry of economic, political, and religious shifts, leveraging their influence to mould the course of history. Through the clever acquisition of concessions, the strategic timing of trade fairs, and the decisive raising of levies, participants not only reap financial rewards but also stabilise territories, ensuring their legacy in a flourishing Europe. The game excels in offering a positive and engaging experience, inviting players to immerse themselves in the historical richness and the dynamic interplay of actions that can benefit many, fostering a sense of accomplishment and connection to a pivotal period in history. "Pax Renaissance" stands out as a testament to the power of strategic thinking and the enduring allure of the Renaissance's cultural and intellectual achievements.