Nomad is the name of a board game
, the premier release of Minneapolis
-based gaming company OSTA Productions
. It debuted at Origins 2001
, and their booth was notable in that they constructed a giant tent to peddle
Set during the early Neolithic era, 2-5 players take charge of one nomadic tribe each. The game is won by either having 50 or more food points at the end of the current round, or by achieving at least 35 advancement points.
The most enjoyable thing about the game is its sheer versitility. Players can choose to be 1 of 3 different styles of tribe, Gatherers (who have the greatest starting population), Hunters (who can gain food the fastest), and Raiders (who can attempt to steal food from other tribes without fighting their guards first, and also have the most powerful warriors). Each tribe type makes for a different play strategy. There are also all kinds of adjustable factors to tweak during play to try and maximize your tribespeople.
The downside of all this customability is that game rounds are rather complex. Each round has a number of phases, including training children, praying, hunting, gathering, war-making, events, deaths, &c. Furthermore, each round represents a different season (starting with Spring), and each season has slightly different environmental effects that give bonuses and penalties to different activities. Play is sped up somewhat due to the fact that during most phases, all players can go at the same time. Still, an average game takes 2 hours, and only lasts 5 to 8 rounds.
Nevertheless, Nomad is a fun game, although it works best with at least 3 players, so that diplomacy can factor into the game a little more, and it's not simply a race to see who can bring down more mammoth.
The game comes with a circular cloth & vinyl game map that has a drawstring to turn into a pouch to carry the rest of the pieces, and 5 cloth & vinyl village mats, over 200 cardboard villager tokens, 16 wooden tokens to show locations on the game map, 50 "event" cards (from whence come advancement points), 10 six-sided dice, and 5 reference cards, to keep track of the order of phases, and assorted tables and charts. The game retails for $50 US.
The only other notable thing about the game is that OSTA's website provides extra support for the game, including optional rules, new village types, and more. The only unfortunate thing is that, though the game hasn't even hit retail stores yet, they already have rules revisions posted on their website.
OSTA Productions' website is located at: www.outsidetheasylum.com/games.htm