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The Columbus Factor
An Age of Renaissance variant by its designer Jared Scarborough

The idea behind this rule is to give a player who has fallen behind a chance - even if slim - to catch up, but not to give the players who are ahead too great an incentive to try it...
Because the Christopher Columbus leader card belongs to Epoch II (1250-1500AD), the card will almost always be drawn before the point in the game corresponding to 1492.  So, to represent the actual and what-if ocean crossings of those earlier years*, the following rules are used:
  1. During the purchase Phase of any Epoch II turn, any player owning Ocean Navigation and Urban Ascendancy may attempt to receive the New World advance by financing an expedition(s) to discover the New World at a cost of $30 per attempt.
  2. Two dice are rolled.  A '13' is necessary for discovery and success.
  3. The DR is modified +1 for each of the following advances, if owned: Enlightenment, Patronage, Proselytism, Printed Word, Nationalism, Cosmopolitan; and for each of the following leaders if played by the player in question (no Patronage here): Columbus, Prince Henry, Ibn Majid, Marco Polo.
  4. The above cards may be used normally, but once they are used in a failed, premature expedition, all such cards are immediately unusable for the player in question.

*) In 1487 a Portuguese fleet intent on discovery set sail from the Azores, but found no easy way around strong prevailing winds out of the west. Though the Azores are a third of the way across the Atlantic, it turned out that the Canaries - from which Columbus sailed under the Spanish flag were at the ideal latitude, windwise. The Portuguese Pedro Cabral did reach the Brazilian coast shortly after Columbus' first voyage, but only by skirting the westerlies, sailing SE from the Azores, then SW.
Note: There is considerable evidence that the British, out of Bristol, were the first 15th Century Europeans in the New World, that Cabot's discovery of cod off the New England coast (thanks to the many Icelanders in residence in Bristol at the time) was purposefully kept secret, and that Columbus used underhanded means to discover this secret and eventually claim glory for himself (see The Columbus Myth by Ian Wilson).

The following changes would have been made to the Eurogame edition (1999) if the board and cards hadn't already been printed, but you might want to incorporate some of them in your own game:
    Adjustments to the map:
  • London connects with Chester, allowing London to have one more Domination Marker Turn on Turn #1.
  • Novgorod absorbs Smolensk. Thus, Hamburg is a bit closer to Area V if it buys both Galley 2 and Caravan on Turn #1.
  • The W. Med./E. Med/ Libya/ Barca sea border is flipped so that Genoa can buy The Heavens on Turn #2 and reach Alexandria (ahead of Venice and Barcelona).
  • An extra French wine province (Loire) between Paris and Bordeaux would help Paris. This would mean a change to the Wine cards as well as adding a commodity deed.
    Card changes:
  • Apart from the above change to the Wine cards, it would help Hamburg if one Timber was switched from Epoch II to Epoch I.

© Mik Svellov 1997-2004editor@brettboard.dk9. jan 2004