Rise to Nobility enjoyed a very successful Kickstarter and Final Frontier Games are back with the first expansion - known as Rise to Nobility: Beyond. The base game offered dice placement with tableau building and an great reputation mechanic that made you consider whether to use a few high numbered dice for powerful actions or a lot of low numbered dice for weaker actions. What does Beyond add?
Rise to Nobility Recap
The base game challenged you to become the new leader of the stone council. To do this you will place dice out on to the board as long as the total doesn't come higher than your reputation total. You will use dice to gather resources, house settlers in your tableau, train your apprentices to become guild masters granting you extra income, ship goods or interact with other council members and more. The game is a decent length, but this improves as you become more familiar with it's nuances.
Due to the options there is rarely a choice that could be considered bad but some that would be... sub optimal. The challenge is to balance your reputation, apprentices and use of dice to achieve victory.
Rise to Nobility: Beyond
The Kickstarter first offers those who missed out a chance to pick up the deluxe version of the game, the metal coins and a big box to fit both the base game and Rise to Nobility: Beyond. In terms of gameplay there are plenty of additions. A new resource called Rock Rose can be gained during the income phase, which is dictated by the pips on your unused dice. Rock Rose can be traded for coins, nobility, reputations, goods and to activate new Relic Cards.
Relic Cards are one of three new cards that reside in the new Guardians Glade - a board extension that sits near the stone council. Relic Cards will offer some tableau building, allowing you to activate multiple cards with one dice. Elder Cards can be activated by placing one of your apprentices on them and then give you ongoing benefits for the rest of the game. Dwelling cards on the other hand offer end game points if you place a house on them.
Rounding out the additions is the timeless temple which reminds me a little of the temples from T'zolkin. As you make offerings you can move up the Temple track giving you benefits and end game points.
Rise to Nobility was already a game of choices and the expansion now gives you even more. If I had one criticism of the base game it was that the stone council felt weak compared to the other routes for victory. I'm hoping that these new options enhance the old methods as well as give all new ways to score.
I love games where you can carve your own path to victory rather than just all following the leader and attempting to catch up. Rise to Nobility shone as a dice placement game that felt exciting and to see that grow is cool.
Of course, being Final Frontier Games the components are fantastic and the Mico's artwork is awesome. In a nice gesture previous backers will get a mini add on for free. If you are interested in medium to heavy weight games and/or dice placement, or have the base game then check out the expansion on Kickstarter.