Designed by someone right here in Canadaland, An Age Contrived contains some of the most surprising components i’ve ever encountered: 3D magnetic sculptures that stick to metal frames poking up through the board, and spring-loaded metal player boards that make your Azul-like energy tokens fall through trap doors and then launch into a little cardboard corral! The gameplay reminded me very much of Mindclash’s constellation connect-the-dots game Astra with more steps (which is great for players who find Astra too mechanically light).
To any of you who don’t believe in God… check out that snazzy blue tower. Hi! It’s Ryan from Nights Around a Table. Here’s how to play An Age Contrived.
You and your friends play gods building monuments to encourage mortals to believe in them. You’ll deploy your energy to pieces of magnetic monuments in order to construct them and strengthen the belief of the people, which in turn strengthens you. Your earthly avatar travels the mortal plane exerting additional influence, while you work to upgrade every aspect of your powerful transmutation device. When all of the monuments have been constructed, the energy tokens you’ve bound to the board score you points, and the god who’s garnered the most belief wins the game!
Core to the game is your transmutation device, which you’ll use to cycle these tiles through like a conveyor belt, and to deploy your energy tokens to the main board by pulling back and releasing these spring-loaded trapdoors. These metal devices are available in the super-deluxo version of An Age Contrived, but you can also play the game with recessed cardboard versions. I’ll be teaching you how to play using the metal transmutation devices, because i’m fancy.
Let me show you An Age Contrived from a 50,000 foot view before we get into the details.
Each monument has 4 or 5 sections that connect to a metal frame that sticks up through the board. To complete the sections, players deploy their energy tokens to these spaces, matching the symbols. When all the spots on a piece fill up and it’s ready to be built, every player who contributed energy to building the section gets a perk, and the player who completes the section loses an energy token to this roped-off “bound energy” area next to the monument. At the end of the game, you’ll score points according to how many pieces of your energy are sitting in these roped-off areas.
So the energy is your currency. One side of the board has a cache of extra energy tokens in your colour that you can claim throughout the game by activating different bonuses. It’s possible to run out of energy tokens because they get locked up on the map, so this is where you can get more of them, usually by contributing to or completing monument sections.
The other side of the board has a bunch of achievements you can claim with your energy tokens for additional endgame points.
Down at the bottom of the board is the Tile River, which i’m going to call the “shop.” At the shop, you can buy upgraded tiles for your transmutation device. These things along the bottom of your device are actions you can take, and they’re upgradeable too. And you can eventually stick little tokens at the top of your device to make your turns even more powerful.
Finally, you have a player board representing your particular god. There’s an action you can take to move energy tokens up these two tracks, and when they reach the top, you can deploy them to the bound areas of the monuments, or to these special pillars of civilization spaces, in order to bring people out of the dark ages and earn more points at the end of the game. But you can only place those tokens in regions where your character is physically present, so there’s an action that lets you move your character around the board. BUT… some of the bridges are out and your character can’t cross those spaces. You and the other players can gain perks to pop these bridge tokens off your boards to cover those gaps, and when you or the other players walk on or across those bridges, you get even more perks and bonuses. And by removing those Bridge Tokens from your board, you uncover asymmetric peekaboo powers that will give you certain advantages that are unique to your faction.
So to sum the whole game up in a nutshell, you’re all contributing to building these monuments, and the game ends when they’re all fully constructed. You want to have a bunch of your energy tokens on the board at the end of the game to score points, both in these bound energy spaces and in these pillar spaces, and having your tokens on these achievements can multiply your endgame score, depending on which types of energy you have on the board. But you don’t necessarily want to commit too much energy to the board early on, because then you won’t have enough energy tokens to take your actions.
Got it? Okay! Now let’s dive in and see how it all works.
You have 7 tiles for your transmutation device. Five of them are in the device, and two of them are hanging out over here, ready to deploy. Off the top of the game, you’ll have loaded your device up by taking energies from your exhausted pool and putting them in the spaces on the first few tiles. You also get to pop one energy token into the shop.
On your turn, you can do one of two things: you can either start spending energy out of your device to take actions, or you can advance the cards through your device like a conveyor belt. An Advance turn is easier to understand than an Actions turn, so we’ll start there.
When you take an Advance turn, you pick one of the two cards that isn’t in your device, and feed it through the left side. This pushes the rightmost card out, and moves all of your energy tokens into new columns. Generally speaking, the actions at the bottom of the device get more powerful the farther right you go. Then, you get to fill up all of the empty spaces of the card you just inserted with energy tokens from your exhausted pool. You get to pick which types of energy go where, and we’ll find out why that matters later. You don’t have to fill up any or all of the spaces if you don’t want to, and indeed, later in the game, you might even run out of energy to add to your device because your tokens are all tied up on the board.
If that’s the case and you really want to fill up that transmuter tile, you can always remove energy from certain places… like, if you have any energy sitting on uncompleted sections of monuments, you can grab those… or if you have some energy traveling up these two tracks, or if you have any sitting in the shop, you can pull those back and commit them to the tile you just slid in. You just can’t remove any energy from the bound areas of the monuments, from the pillars of civilization, or from the achievements area – those tokens are stuck in those spots for the rest of the game. And you can’t go grabbing energy willy-nilly from this extra energy pool at the side of the board – you have to unlock those pieces by obtaining certain bonuses.
After you load up the leftmost tile however you see fit, check your channel marker up here on your player board. It has two sides – charged and exhausted. It starts the game exhausted, but you can take a certain action later on to charge it up. If it’s charged up while you’re taking an Advance turn, you can flip it to its exhausted side to push a second tile through the left edge and load it up with energy tokens too. Now, you have to do that with your other available tile – you can’t grab this one that you just popped out and feed it through again.
Once you push one or, possibly, two tiles through your device, you gather the popped-off tiles to the left side, and your Advance turn is finished.
The far more involved type of turn you can take is an Actions turn, where you spend energy out of your device to do things.
The things you can do are all down here. The energy tokens you can spend to take those actions are at the bottoms of your tiles. And if you take an action called Deployment, the energy tokens you deploy to different areas of the board come from the tops of your tiles.
On an Actions turn, you can take as many actions across as many transmuter tiles as you want or can afford to, and in any order you like.
So for example on this first tile, you’d spend the energy on the bottom of the tile and put it into your exhausted area to take this action, which lets you either Deploy some energy to the board, or Recharge your channel marker. If you choose this option, just flip your channel marker to its charged side, and you’ll be able to use it later in the game when you take an Advance turn so you can conveyor belt two tiles instead of only one.
If instead you decide to Deploy, this means that one time, you can deploy all the energy at the top of either this tile or this tile to a location somewhere on the main board. Now, at the beginning of the game, you haven’t advanced your tiles far enough to have any energy at the top of either of those tiles, so let’s fast-track to later in the game when you do. Let’s say you exhaust the energy down here to perform the Deploy action, and you choose to Deploy from this tile, since it has energy at the top, and this one doesn’t. That’s a good choice. If you had a cardboard transmutation device, you’d pluck that energy off with your fingers and put it somewhere on the main board, but if you have the spring-loaded metal device like a cool person, you could pull back and launch it into this cardboard corral…. and then pluck it with your fingers and put it somewhere on the main board.
Where do you get to put it?
Well, if you can match the symbol on the energy token to the symbol on one of the incomplete monument sections, you can place it there to contribute to that section’s completion. If you want to be able to buy upgraded tiles for your device, you can send the energy to your piggy bank at the shop. If you qualify for one of these achievements, you can place that energy in either this column or that one. You just can’t deploy your energy to the bound areas of the monuments, or to the pillars of civilization, because those are special, exclusive areas.
Spending an energy from the bottom of this third tile lets you take a Deploy action too, but here, you get to Deploy the energy from the top of either of these two tiles.
Later in the game, maybe you’ve upgraded some of your device tiles from the shop and you’ve got this situation going on. You pop an energy off the bottom of this tile and exhaust it to take this Deploy action, and you choose this tile, which has two deployable energy tokens on it. Take the action once to pick that tile, and Deploy both of the energy tokens from the top of it.
Or here’s another situation: later in the game, you’ve upgraded this action. Pop off one energy and send it to your exhausted pile to use the action. Then you get to choose any two tiles from this group, instead of just one, and deploy all of the energy from the top of the two tiles you choose.
We’ll get into the details of building monuments shortly.
Popping off an energy from the bottom of this tile to take this action lets you either Claim one or two upgraded transmuter tiles from the shop, or move your energy tokens around the board. Let’s look at shopping first.
If you take this Claim action, you can buy up to two tiles from the Tile River, AKA the shop, by spending the energy in your colour that’s pooled there. The prices for the tiles are up here – 1 energy, 2 energy, 2 energy, and 3 energy. Spend your energy from here and put it in your exhausted pile, and then take the 1 or 2 tiles you want. After you buy one or two tiles, you slide the remaining tiles to the right and fill in the gaps. Then, every player who has at least one energy in the shop can add 1 more energy from their exhausted pile to their shop piggy bank. Interest!
Upgraded Transmuter tiles have more slots in them to place your energy, and they often have these symbols on them that let you do extra stuff during an Advance turn, which we’ll talk about later.
You can only ever have 7 transmutation tiles in the game – no more, no less – so you have to choose one or two of your existing tiles to kick out of the game to replace them with the shiny new ones you just bought. You could even choose to replace a tile in the dead center of your device, but if you replace a tile inside your device, you have to exhaust any energy you had on that tile.
Instead of Claiming new tiles, you can spend an energy to activate this action and Reposition some of the energy tiles you have in various spots around the board. Up to two times, you can move one of your energy tokens from the shop or an incomplete monument section, to the shop or to an incomplete monument section (perhaps even completing it in the process), or from either of those locations to one of the two columns on an achievement, if you qualify for it. You can move energy to or from the shop or incomplete monument sections interchangeably, or you can move them from either of those locations to an achievement – you just can’t move an energy token from an achievement. Once you put an energy token on an achievement, it’s locked there for the rest of the game. We’ll look more closely at the achievements a little later.
In the 4th column of your device, you’ve got this action, which lets you move either your character, or a piece of energy up one of these two tracks on your player board. The Disney princess castle icon refers to the bound energy corrals next to each monument, and the Rocky III icon refers to the pillars of civilization areas in each region, both of which are areas where you can place energy to score points at the end of the game.
So if you exhaust an energy token at the bottom of this tile to take this action and you chose either of these two options, you can move a piece of energy up the Monument track or the Pillar track… or, if there is no energy tile on the track you choose, you can fire off this action to take an exhausted energy from your pool and put it on the lowest peg of that track. All out of energy tokens? Well, you can take a token from any slot in your device, or from the shop, or from an uncompleted monument, or even from the other track. If there’s already an energy token somewhere along the track, you can’t add another – it’s one energy token per track.
If you get a chance to move, either by firing off the action from your board or from gaining a movement opportunity somehow else, like as a bonus or a perk or something that we’ll discover later, and you’ve got one or two energy tokens that have reached the top of the track, then you can optionally bind those energy tokens to the board. This doesn’t require a movement point – it’s like a free thing that you can do at some point during your movement – even if you’re not actually moving anything along that particular track. So if you took a movement action and decided to move your energy token up the Monument track, and you had this one over here on the Pillar track locked and loaded and ready to go, you could bind that token to the board during that movement step. Or you could leave it there until later – it’s up to you. The point is that when a token reaches the top of one of these tracks, you don’t have to bind it to the board immediately – you can wait until later in the game and bind it during one of your future movement opportunities.
The reason you might want to wait is that the areas where you’re allowed to bind those tokens to the board are governed by where your character miniature is standing. So if your character was in this region, and you got a movement opportunity, and you had this energy token sitting at the top of your Pillar track ready to bind to one of the pillars of civilization, the only pillar you could bind it to is the one in this region where your character is hanging out. Likewise, if you had a token at the top of the Monument track, you could bind it to one of the energy corrals outside a monument, but only at the monument in the region that has your character in it!
If you have fewer than 5 players, there will be one or more regions that don’t have a monument in them. In lower player count games, you’re allowed to bind energy to regions that don’t have monuments.
Now at the end of the game, you’ll get maximum points for having 3 energy tokens bound to a monument, and anything over three is a waste. So maybe you don’t want to bind that
Mionument track energy token to this monument, where you’ve already got 3 tokens. And you can only have one token in the pillars of civilization in any given region – you can’t hog both spaces. So if you get a movement opportunity, and your energy is ready to go at the top of your Pillar track, but your character is in this region and you’ve already got an energy in one of those pillar slots, you’re not allowed to bind that energy there.
So what’s the solution? Well, you’ve got to move your character.
The winged foot icon is the one that lets you move your character. So pop off this energy to take this action – specifically this part of this action, because you only get to choose one movement type – and you can move your character up to 2 spaces.
You always have to move your character in the direction it’s facing. You can’t just pull a 180 and start heading backwards. If you reach a fork in the road, you can choose which direction you want to head. But if your character reaches one of these incomplete spaces where the bridge is out, that’ll turn your character around backwards automatically and send you in the opposite direction, without using up a movement point. So if you started here, and you had 2 character movement points, bouncing against this blank space would turn you around, and you’d walk 2 spaces in the other direction.
If you encounter another character along the path, you’ve got a choice: you can occupy the same space as that other character if you want to. Or, you can skip right over that space without spending a movement point. So one, two… or one, two. It’s up to you.
That means that if all the other characters were lined up like this, you could go one, two, and end up all the way over here. Or one, two to end up here, or here, or here. Or even just here, because you don’t have to use all of your movement points.
There’s an ability in the game that we haven’t seen yet that will let you and your opponents start placing these bridge tokens on the board to fill in those blank spaces. The bridge tokens not only allow your characters to travel to new regions so you can access the bound energy areas and pillars of civilization for those regions, but you also get some kind of perk if you cross or land on one. We’ll look at all those benefits a little later.
Your bridge tokens also act as a kind of proxy for your character. If you have a bridge token spanning these two regions, and you get a movement opportunity, and you move (or already have) a token at the top of one of your two tracks, you can bind a token to either the pillars or bound energy area, depending on the track, in one of the regions your bridge token is touching. So both your character and your bridge tokens extend your territorial reach. And if your character is standing on a bridge token that some other player placed, your character is considered to be in both of those connected regions, so you can bind your energy to the corrals or pillars in either of those regions if you’re in a position to do so.
The very last action available to you is this one, in the fifth slot of your device. Exhaust an energy from the bottom of a tile here to activate an action below any of these first four tiles.
The core thrust of the game is building those monuments on the main board. We talked about how to use the Deploy action to send your energy to those unconstructed sections, but now let’s see what happens when a section gets filled in.
Before we do that, we have to acknowledge these mysterious symbols on your tokens: the compass energy, rose energy, magnet energy, and Primal energy. Each player’s Primal symbol looks different, but the game’s generic symbol for primal energy is this Olympic flame.
When you take an action to Deploy energy and you choose to put one or more tokens on an incomplete section of a monument, the symbol on the energy has to match the symbol on the space. But your primal energy tokens are wild, so they’ll match any symbol.
If you place a token on the last empty space on a monument section, you turn it up on its side to remember that you’re the player who completed it, and then you take the rest of your actions and finish your turn. At the end of your turn, you look at all of the monument sections you completed – because it’s possible to complete multiple monument sections in a single turn – and you decide the order in which to resolve them.
To resolve a completed monument section, you look at all the other players who contributed to constructing that section who aren’t you. Starting with the first not-you contributor in clockwise order around the table, that contributing player gets to pick one perk: either the perk listed on the completed section, or the perk listed on the bonus tile near that monument. A contributing player only gets to pick one perk, no matter how many energy tokens they have on that monument section. As they take their perks, those contributing players remove their energy tokens and add them to their exhausted piles.
Eventually, it’ll loop back around to you, the completing player. You get to pick one of those perks, too, and then you take all your energy tokens back and exhaust them, except the final one that you turned on its side. You have to bind that token to the bound energy corral near the monument, where it’ll remain for the rest of the game. You’ll score points for it at the end of the game, but you’ve also just lost 1 piece of energy currency that you need to load into your device and take actions. So there’s a bit of a balance to strike here. Once the section is cleared off, you pick it up and magnet it to its frame, uncovering a new section for everyone to build.
If you complete the last section in a monument, then after resolving it and finishing the sculpture, grab the bonus token and keep it next to you, where it could act as a tiebreaker at the end of the game.
That’s the basic version of completing monuments. If you want things to be a lot more interesting, then you do it like this:
Instead of everyone just taking their energy tokens back to their exhausted piles, except for that one piece of energy that the completing player binds to the monument, everyone gets to do something with their tokens, depending on the symbols on those tokens. Wild tokens don’t do anything special – you already received a benefit from them due to their wildness.
But you can exhaust your rose tokens as you remove them to give you two movement points that you can spend moving either your character or your Disney princess castle track or your Rocky III track. And as we saw, during a movement opportunity like this one, you can also bind any energy you have sitting at the top of your tracks to any region that has your character or one of your bridge tokens in it.
When you reclaim your magnet energy tokens, you can instantly load them into any empty slot in one of the tiles on your transmutation device, instead of sending them to your discard pile.
And you can relocate your compasses to either the shop, to an achievement (if you qualify for it) or to a different incomplete monument section, which means that yes – while one completed monument section is being resolved, the compass tokens on them could be relocated to complete other monument sections, setting off a chain reaction! If that happens, you resolve that newly completed monument during this step no matter who completed it, but the active player still gets to decide the order in which monuments are resolved.
As you might have guessed, the game is filled with perks and bonuses that we’ve merely touched on. Let’s look at the Monument bonuses first.
When a completed monument section is resolved, and you get a prize for finishing or contributing to it, you can choose between freeing up some energy from your reserve pool, or taking what’s behind door number two on this bonus tile. So contribute to the completion of this section, and you can free up one of your magnet energy tokens from the reserve pool at the side of the board and put it in your exhausted section. Comple ting or contributing to the first section of any monument lets you free up two different tokens – in this case, compass and magnet. The Olympic flame symbol means you can free up one of your faction’s wild Primal energy tokens from the reserve. And this symbol, which you’ll find on the final or penultimate section of the monuments, lets you take any type of energy token from your reserve pool. Needless to say, if you choose to free up a certain type of energy from your pool and that type is all gone, you don’t get a token, so you should pick door number two instead.
Door number twos get randomly distributed at the beginning of the game, and there are more of these bonus tiles depending on player count, but these three are always in the game.
This one lets you upgrade one of the actions along the bottom of your transmutation device.
These are your options – you can upgrade the action in column 1, 2, 3, or 4. This one lets you Deploy from columns 3,4, or 5 up to two times instead of one, or recharge your channel marker. This one lets you Deploy from one of the last two columns and recharge your channel marker.
This upgraded Claim action lets you go shopping and Relocate tokens up to 4 times instead of the standard 2. And this one lets you switcheroo up to 3 times, or pay just 1 energy each for any one or two tiles in the shop, no matter what the list price says.
These upgraded column three actions both give you a broader range of columns from which to Deploy your energy. This one gives you a narrower window of choice, but it lets you Deploy twice.
And this one lets you move your character up to 3 spaces instead of two, or boost your Disney princess castle once, or boost your Rocky III track twice. This one flips the script – move your character up to 3 spaces, or twice on your princess track or once on your Rocky track.
When you upgrade an action, you kick out the OG tile and replace it with the new one in the matching column. Once you’ve upgraded an action in a column, you can’t upgrade it again later with the other tile.
This monument bonus lets you grab one of these conduit tokens and put it in an empty space at the top of your board. Once it’s there, it’s stuck there for the rest of the game. But that’s good, because whenever you take a mostly-useless Advance turn, where you’re just pushing your tiles and loading them up to hopefully do something more interesting later, you might line up some icons on your tiles with the ones on your conduit tokens. At the end of your Advance turn, after you’ve pushed one or two tiles into your device, you count up any icons that line up. So these ones line up, these ones line up, and these ones line up. This one doesn’t, so it doesn’t count. So you have 3 movement points for your character, and 2 movement points for your Pillar track. You can spend those movements together in any order. Note that these bonus movements only trigger during an Advance turn, not an Actions turn, and they don’t trigger if you’re in the middle of a two-tile push after exhausting your charged-up channel marker.
There’s a bit of a race to claiming these tokens, because at the top of each pile, there’s one double icon token, and the rest of the stack is all singles.
If you claim this bonus, you can place one of your three bridge tokens on the main map to connect two different territories. You have to build your bridge tokens from the bottom up in order – I, II, and III – and whenever you do that, a few things happen:
You extend your influence to the two regions the bridge token connects, so you can bind energy from your monument and pillar tracks to the monuments’ bound energy corrals or pillars of civilization in either of those regions`
You unlock a unique, asymmetric player power
And 3: you add a bonus to the board that you or your opponents can take advantage of by crossing or landing on that bridge token. The tokens are double sided, and when you lay them down, you choose which side goes face-up. Placing bridge tokens makes it possible for your opponents to travel to new regions, or stand on your bridge and straddle two regions so they can Deploy their monument and pillar track energy tokens to either`. So these bridge tokens are a bit of a competitive double-edged sword.
If you trigger this bonus and you’re all out of bridge tokens, nothing happens.
If you trigger this bonus and all the bridge token spaces are full, just chuck your token into the box.
If you want to, when you trigger this bonus, you can replace one of your bridge tokens on the map with the one you just unlocked – just take the old bridge token off the board and swap it for the new one. The drawback here is that you’re re-covering that peekaboo player power that you had previously unlocked, so you’ll lose that ability because it’s covered back up. If you swap out a bridge tile that has any characters on it, those players don’t automatically trigger the benefit of the new tile.
The abilities on the bridge tokens use familiar bonus iconography that we’ve already seen, with a couple of curveballs… this one lets you take the transmuter tile from the rightmost space in the shop for free… this one lets you replenish energy from your exhausted pile to one of your Transmuter tiles… and this one lets you trigger the bonus of any Monument Benefit tile on the board.
Each player has a unique level III bridge token with different scoring conditions on either side. If you manage to place that token on the board, you’ll unlock an endgame scoring condition that applies to you, and you alone. I won’t go over each one, but here’s a taste: if you’re playing Freyith and you put your level III bridge token on the board with this side face up, then at the end of the game, if you have at least 5 bound energy in the two regions that the bridge connects, you score 11 extra points. It’s that type of thing.
Likewise, i won’t go over each and every unique player power you can uncover by placing your bridge tokens, but for example, if you’re playing Aureon and you uncover this power, you get an additional movement point whenever you move your character, once per turn.“ If you’re playing Rusné and you uncover this ability, then at the end of a turn where your character has crossed into a different region, you get two bumps on one of your player board tracks.
To finish it up, the rest of the monument bonus tiles you can activate in 3, 4, and 5 player games let you move your character up to 4 times, replenish the energy on one of your tiles, or activate the bonus on any other monument bonus tile remaining on the board.
Finally, there are these Achievements on the side of the board. You have to qualify for them before you can Deploy your energy there, and you can only take one side of an Achievement or the other – not both. Beyond that, you can only deploy one type of energy to each achievement. Since you have 4 types of energy and there are 5 possible achievements, that means you can only ever achieve a maximum of 4 of these goals.
If you Deploy to this side of an achievement, that means you’ll straight-up get 5 points for it at the end of the game. This column is only available if you have three or more players in the game.
If you Deploy energy to this side, the achievement acts as a score multiplier: for every energy token of that type that you’ve bound to the main board, including that token itself, you score 2 points. Any tokens you still have sitting in the energy reserve don’t count as being “on the board.”
There are 5 achievements in the game. These bottom three appear in every game, and these top two get dealt out randomly.
You qualify for this one if you have at least 4 winged foot icons across your seven transmuter tiles. Symbols on your conduit tokens don’t count. To qualify here, you need at least 2 Rocky III icons on your tiles, and here, it’s two magical fairy castle icons on your tiles – again, on your tiles, not your conduit tokens.
These are the random achievement possibilities: have at least 3 conduit tokens on your board, have at least 3 different types of energy bound to the board, have at least 3 upgraded actions, have at least one energy token bound to 3 different monuments, have at least 3 energy tokens bound in a single region, and you can qualify for this one if you’ve freed up at least one of each type of energy from your energy reserve – so, in other words, a whole column.
You don’t automatically get to place a token on an achievement once you qualify for it: you have to deliberately Deploy or Relocate a token to an achievement to stake your claim. And of course, there’s space for only one token in each column of each achievement!
The game ends when the last section of the last monument is completed. Everyone around the table going clockwise from that completing player gets to take one last turn until you reach the starting player, so that everyone has had the same number of turns throughout the game. With all the monuments gone, there may not be anything for you to do in that final turn, but you could maybe Deploy some energy tokens to claim some achievements, or move your character to a bridge and trigger the bonus, or do a handful of other small tasks that might earn you some endgame points.
You score points for each pair of identical energy tokens you freed up from your reserve – so in other words, for each row. It’s 3, 6, 10, or 15 points for freeing up 1, 2, 3, or 4 sets of twins.
Next, you score points for your bound energy tokens next to monuments. It’s 3 points for a single token, 7 points for two, and 12 points for 3 or more tokens.
Then you get points for your pillars. 1 energy bound to 1 pillar gets you 3 points, and then 8 14 21 29 and 38 points if you’ve bound energy to all 6 pillars.
If you got your tier-III bridge token out on the board, you evaluate its condition and score those points.
Then, you score points for your achievements: 5 points flat if you’re in this column, or 2 times the number of these types of tokens you have bound to the board, including this one.
And finally, for each energy token you have sitting in the shop collecting dust, you get a point.
Whoever has the most points wins! In the case of a tie, the player with the most bound energy on the board wins, and if there’s still a tie, these monument bonus tiles you nabbed when you completed monuments act as a tiebreaker. If there’s still a tie, ask to speak to a manager.
To set up the game, shake up these monument randomizer tokens and pull out as many as you have players. Those are the monuments you’ll have in the game. Insert the metal frames through the bottom of the board for those monuments. Every game always has the Anfirien Beacon – the big blue central tower monument. So each game has player count plus one monuments in it.
Stack all the sections for the monuments you’re using in ascending order with number 1 on top – they have little numbers in the corner.
If you have fewer than 5 players, weed out the monument benefit tokens and action upgrade tiles that have more bars than your player count in the top right corner. Deal the monument bonus tokens out randomly face down to the monuments, and stack the action upgrades and conduit tokens in neat little piles. Make sure the special double tiles are on top.
Draw two random achievement tokens and deal them face-down to the top two variable achievement spots.
The upgraded transmuter tiles for the shop are marked I, II, and III – shuffle them in those stacks, flip them face down, and then pile them in ascending order with stack I on top. Flip out the top 4 tiles to the shop.
Fight over who gets to be the bird, and then assign a faction to everyone else randomly. Everyone takes a player board, a transmutation device, a player aid, and the rest of your stuff. The artwork is different on either side of your boards, but the choice is cosmetic – just pick a side. Pop your level I, II, and III bridge tokens to your board with either side face up – it doesn’t matter. Stack your energy tokens here, and put two of each type in one of the energy reserves. Your channel marker starts busted-side-up.
Place your character on the start space of the region closest to where you’re sitting that has a monument in it.
You have to load your transmuter tiles in order using the numbers in the bottom right corner – 1 2 3 4 5, and the two zero tiles go over here. The first player is whoever watched this entire video without skipping anything.
Reveal the face-down achievements and monument bonus tiles.
Shield your device with your player aid and secretly load your first three tiles up with energy from your exhausted pool however you see fit. Then send one of your exhausted energy tiles to the shop to get things cooking. If this is your first time playing, you’ll probably have no idea what you’re doing at this point, even if you watched this whole video without skipping anything. That’s okay. It’ll come together as you play. Or maybe just watch the video a few more times.
And now, you’re ready to play An Age Contrived!
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