Pax Porfiriana board game
Pax Porfiriana board game

Pax Porfiriana

Pax Porfiriana – Latin for "The Porfirian Peace" – refers to the 33-year reign of dictator Porfirio Díaz, who ruled Mexico with an iron hand until toppled by the 1910 Revolution.

As a rich businessman (Hacendado) in the turbulent pre-revolutionary borderlands of the U.S. and Mexico, players compete to build business empires of ranches, mines, rails, troops, and banks while subverting opponents with bandidos, Indians, and lawsuits. Each turn goes as follows:

1. Action Phase: Perform three actions, such as play new cards, get new cards from the market, speculate on cards in the market, buy land, or redeploy troops.
2. Discard Headlines: Remove any Headlines (i.e. cards with the Bull-Bear icon) that have reached the leftmost position in the Market.
3. Restore Market: Restore the Market to twelve cards.
4. Income Phase: Collect one gold per Income, Extortion, and Connection Cube in play. If Depression, pay one gold for each card in play (includes Partners and Enterprises in your Row, and all of your Troops).

Four "scoring" cards (Toppling) are in the game and their effect depends on the current form of government. The government can change if troops are played and as a result of other cards. The form of government also influences different production values of the game, such as how much mines produce. Players win by toppling Díaz, either by coup, succession, revolution, or annexation of Mexico by the U.S. If Díaz remains firmly seated at the end of the game, then the player with the most gold wins.

Pax Porfiriana includes 220 cards, but only fifty cards (along with ten for each player) are used in a game, so no two games will be the same!

The Collector's Edition comes in a much bigger box, with additional pieces, mapboard, rules, and player aids.



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User Ratings & Reviews

  • --Dec2012-- Lovely period colour combined with some Eklundian political rants. And then a lovely, subtle, volatile game layered on top. Yeah: there's quite a lot of randomness here. One's not always going to have a viable path forward. So even the most compelling win isn't entirely one's fault. But the journey toward the win (or loss) is entirely worth it: the game tells a great story, and allows one to participate sufficiently in the resolution to make the game compelling.
  • Sleeved
  • I'm not sure that the weird scoring system compensates adequately for the semi-random hoseage encouraged by the numerous "take that" cards. Add to that the capriciousness of the deck, whereby you might see cards that help the game-state along or you might not, and you have a package that doesn't quite seem to justify its rules grit or its playing time.
  • Initial rating is a 7. Still trying to get a SOLID grasp on the rules, but there are a few questions that don't appear to have answers. This is definitely a 9 if they get cleared up, but without knowing for certain, it dampens my enjoyment of this title. With that said, this is thematic as all hell. It's a definite buy, for certain... I just don't know where it fits on the scale, that's all. UPDATE (Dec 2015): Following roughly 20 more plays of this (Vassal, face-to-face with 2-4, solo), this is really solid, and quite deep. It has a press-your-luck mechanism that works really well from a political perspective inside the game. I'll never turn down a game of this. The trick, however, is that others tend to do so. Thanks to rickyroyal, there's a strong (and tough) variant that plays very well solo, in those situations.
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Thanks for the template:

At the beginning of the year I shared my top ten list. I plan to do so again at the beginning of 2021. Of the games that I have played, I do see great great potential in shaking up my top ten pretty handily.

Top 5: I see great potential for the addition of:

#Pax Pamir (Second Edition)

#Pax Porfiriana

and #Navajo Wars.

In case you didn't notice, that is three games out of five. So, if they do break into my top five..... thank that will be a lot of turnover.

In my top ten, I think that there is a great chance for:

#1862: Railway Mania in the Eastern Counties

and a good chance, although a lesser chance for:

#Root

 

For games that I have bought, but haven't played... that I think could fit into my top 10.

#Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain

#High Frontier 4 All

#Gaia Project

 

 

I think I would have to pick #Race for the Galaxy. I don't own any of the expansions for it, but I have played several. And, with the expansion arcs that they have, then, I have a lot of options for different sorts of play. It is quite flexible, and, I could even play it solo.

There is a chance that I would end up keeing #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) or #Pax Porfiriana instead.

I have only played #Root once, with more experience, that might take the spot.

Man, I am SO excited for #Pax Pamir (Second Edition). I've heard nothing but rave reviews about the solo game. Congrats on your victory! Every time you bring up #Pax Porfiriana I get a little bit closer to buying it... I can't remember if we've chatted about this already, but will you be trying Emancipation? I hear it's the best solo game from the series.

I consider my week to be pretty amazing on the solo gaming front. Hurricane Eta came through central America, and while we weren't negatively affected like thousands of other families.... It did rain basically all week for us. That opened up some opportunities to game that I otherwise would not have had.

I started out with a game of #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) on Sunday afternoon. It was a truly great game, that came down to the fourth dominance check. I won the final dominance check, but I thought I had lost the game. I was rechecking the rulebook and figured out that you score double points in the last dominance check. That gave me one more point than the Wakhan, and so I won the game.

On Tuesday I played #Navajo Wars. I played the "Los Duenos del Mundo" scenario. This scenario covers the period of Spanish domination in the American Southwest. I had a very narrow win, but then later I discovered that I had messed up a small but important rule. I don't think I would have won if I hadn't. I did, however, have a lovely time playing it.

On Wednesday I played #Navajo Wars yet again. I played the same scenario and I had a even better time. I feel like this is a game that is unfolding and revealing it's beauty like a rose. I did, however, suffer a defeat. But, sometimes losing feels so satisfying.

On Thursday I played a fairly short game of #Pax Porfiriana. Diaz grabbed the second topple and handily won. Once again I am entranced with the gameplay, though I do think that #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) is a better game from a solo point a view. But, for me, personally, I am having a hard time deciding which I like best.

On Friday I once again played #1862: Railway Mania in the Eastern Counties. I ended with 4,119 pounds. This feels considerably better than my previous game where I ended up with 3691 pounds. But, both of these scores are considerably below the 9,000 pounds you need to, "win." This really is a intriguing solo experience. There is a lot of beautiful puzzly decisions that I apparently do a poor job of making.

Most recent board game *purchase* was #Imperial Struggle. I bought that from Gamenerdz with a gift card from a BGA GAW several months ago. But, I don't have it yet, I have it on hold there, I hope to release it sometime when I can more easily pick it up.

I picked up all of my most recent arrivals at the same time, on my last trip to the states a month or so ago. They were:

  • #Pax Pamir (Second Edition). This is the second printing of this game. I kickstarted it back in March or so. I have had the chance to play this several times. And, it is truly great. I am very pleased with it. I bought it primarily for solo play.
  • #Pax Porfiriana This is the "collectors edition" of this game, and I had bought it several months ago. I mostly bought it because I was intrigued by the idea of Pax games, and I was listening to the "revolutions podcast" series on the mexican revolution. I knew there was a solo variant designed by Ricky Royal, but I wasn't expecting much from that. That being said, in my plays of it, so far I think I might like it a little bit better than Pamir.
  • #Root I picked this as a BGA GAW win back in January. I heard that the better bot pnp was really really good. I have only played it once. But, so far it is really good.
  • #1862: Railway Mania in the Eastern Counties Another GAW win. I picked it up to play solo. I have played it twice so far, and it is a really compelling puzzly sort of experience.
  • #Navajo Wars I bought this on a whim one time when Noble Knight had a NOS copy of the first printing, and it was on sale. This has been the biggest surpise of the bunch. I adore this game. It is super compelling.

Coming on Kickstarter, I went all in on the #Pax Renaissance: 2nd edition/ #Pax Viking kickstarter. As a result I have, coming my way in the future:

  1. #Pax Renaissance: 2nd edition
  2. #Pax Viking
  3. #High Frontier 4 All
    1. #High Frontier 4 All: Module 1 – Terawatt
    2. #High Frontier 4 All: Module 2 – Colonization
    3. #High Frontier 4 All: Module 3 – Conflict

I have #Pax Emancipation on preorder at GameNerdz.

And, either waiting in Kansas, or waiting on me to release them at GameNerdz:

  1. #Imperial Struggle
  2. #Gaia Project
  3. #Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain
  4. #Conquest of Paradise
  5. #Porta Nigra

That's funny that you have transhumanity. I have thought about getting it, but it is the Pax game I haven't picked up.

I have #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) and #Pax Porfiriana here.

I have #Pax Emancipation preordered at GameNerdz.

I kickstarted #Pax Renaissance: 2nd edition and #Pax Viking.

I am super looking forward to exploring this space. But, I agree, the two that I have played have blowing me away with the amount of gameplay they present.

That is a hard question. Based on it's own merits, that is a definate "yes." But, I brought five new games back with me from the states 2ish weeks ago. These are:

I have yet two play the last two, though I have 1862 set up for a solo run through at the moment, But, I am sure some of those, maybe all of them, will enter my top ten.

I do think Innovation is a solid little game, and I don't think it will ever leave my collection. I do really love it, but, for me it is strictly a two player game. I really don't like the game very much at 3 or 4 players. And, quite frankly, I think it is the absolute best value in gaming that I have seen.

One hallmark of many of the Pax games is that the players play an individual. Not one of the "powers that be" but someone who is sort of a middle man.

#Pax Pamir (Second Edition) you play as an Afghan warlord.

#Pax Renaissance you play as a banker.

#Pax Porfiriana sets you in Mexico as a hacendado.

#Pax Transhumanity sets you as a specific type of character. These include: bloggers, colonels, doctors, and, I think citizens.

In #Pax Viking you play as a viking explorer or adventurer pushing to the east. And thus changing the history of Europe.

I think the only exception is #Pax Emancipation. In that game you play as a group of people, either you play the: Evangelicals, Parliment, Philanthropists.

And, with each of these games, again excepting #Pax Emancipation, I think there is something that is shown. The Hacendado in #Pax Porfiriana is not necessarily trying to overthrow Porfirian regime, he is trying to grow his personal holdings and profitablity even if it means overhrowing the government. In #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) The point is not which power wins the game. The point is I want me and my tribe to be in the good with whoever wins. And so it goes in game after game. I think that the one of the messages that the Pax games try to teach is the role of "middle class" especially the weatlhy middle class, in shaping history. History is not all great nations and politicions navigating this world through dangers. History is small knife fights for selfish ends.

One hallmark of many of the Pax games is that the players play an individual. Not one of the "powers that be" but someone who is sort of a middle man.

#Pax Pamir (Second Edition) you play as an Afghan warlord.

#Pax Renaissance you play as a banker.

#Pax Porfiriana sets you in Mexico as a hacendado.

#Pax Transhumanity sets you as a specific type of character. These include: bloggers, colonels, doctors, and, I think citizens.

In #Pax Viking you play as a viking explorer or adventurer pushing to the east. And thus changing the history of Europe.

I think the only exception is #Pax Emancipation. In that game you play as a group of people, either you play the: Evangelicals, Parliment, Philanthropists.

And, with each of these games, again excepting #Pax Emancipation, I think there is something that is shown. The Hacendado in #Pax Porfiriana is not necessarily trying to overthrow Porfirian regime, he is trying to grow his personal holdings and profitablity even if it means overhrowing the government. In #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) The point is not which power wins the game. The point is I want me and my tribe to be in the good with whoever wins. And so it goes in game after game. I think that the one of the messages that the Pax games try to teach is the role of "middle class" especially the weatlhy middle class, in shaping history. History is not all great nations and politicions navigating this world through dangers. History is small knife fights for selfish ends.

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