Pax Pamir (Second Edition) board game

In Pax Pamir, players assume the role of nineteenth century Afghan leaders attempting to forge a new state after the collapse of the Durrani Empire. Western histories often call this period "The Great Game" because of the role played by the Europeans who attempted to use central Asia as a theater for their own rivalries. In this game, those empires are viewed strictly from the perspective of the Afghans who sought to manipulate the interloping ferengi (foreigners) for their own purposes.

In terms of game play, Pax Pamir is a pretty straightforward tableau builder. Players spend most of their turns purchasing cards from a central market, then playing those cards in front of them in a single row called a court. Playing cards adds units to the game's map and grants access to additional actions that can be taken to disrupt other players and influence the course of the game. That last point is worth emphasizing. Though everyone is building their own row of cards, the game offers many ways for players to interfere with each other directly and indirectly.

To survive, players will organize into coalitions. Throughout the game, the dominance of the different coalitions will be evaluated by the players when a special card, called a "Dominance Check", is resolved. If a single coalition has a commanding lead during one of these checks, those players loyal to that coalition will receive victory points based on their influence in their coalition. However, if Afghanistan remains fragmented during one of these checks, players instead will receive victory points based on their personal power base.

After each Dominance Check, victory is checked and the game will be partially reset, offering players a fresh attempt to realize their ambitions. The game ends when a single player is able to achieve a lead of four or more victory points or after the fourth and final Dominance Check is resolved.



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User Reviews

  • I should note that, at time of writing, I've only played four times and all of them are solo, but...I just love it so much. I can't wait to actually play it... It's so intricate and delicate. Everything is important but you've got limited everything! You need to develop armies and roads, but you also need to develop your pieces so that you can rule over some zones so you can build those armies and roads! PLUS you're gonna need spies, because they kill opponent tableau cards, but also net you bribes in the meantime. Speaking of which, don't forget about money! Taxing seems boring but goddamn money is important in this game.I just love it, there's so much more. The factions, the betrayal, the events... What a fantastic game. Better than Inis or Kemet, in my book.
  • KS
  • Partial play. Missed a few rules. Very eager to play again.
  • There is likely a good game in this cheshire cat looking box. Unfortunately Pax Pamir provides such a poor first experience, I suspect few will push into the amount of plays required for the game to gel. As it stands, Pamir is a lumbering, mishmash of overly complex and restrictive rules.
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I agree with you mostly because you already have great multiplayer games to get to haha. But Brass does have more player interaction than Clans does and that's always a plus. I love Clans because it gives off such a chill, warm vibe whereas Brass' poker chips and everything else really adds to the feel of being an industrialist. The reason why I question the ability to get Brass onto my table is because my wife is my main gaming partner and this game falls in a slightly awkward spot in terms of amount of time (which could potentially decrease with repeat plays, but it's hard for us to get many plays in these days)

I say all this but again I agree, I don't think it's a big need for you to have it just yet. Especially not when you have #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) and #Dune to get to.

I have a feeling it'll be somewhat similar to my time with #Pax Pamir (Second Edition), except it was much much worse for that game. When I went through the rules myself, I was instantly amazed by how the mechanics support the theme. Whereas my first play of that game was a mess because I wasn't clear what's happening at all. I already get most of what's happening but it was all too mechanical so I'm looking forward to reading through the rulebook :)

Thanks for the video suggestion! (And lastly, those Iron Clays are sooooo nice)

I am all for solo modes in games. And, as a solo gamer I find them very important. However, I have not problem with some games not having a solo mode. For instance, I would not expect a game like #Cosmic Encounter, or #Dune, or #Diplomacy to have a satisfying solo mode. I guess someone might be able to design good solo modes for them. I mean, #Pax Pamir was considered too player dependent to have a solo mode when it came out. But #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) is widely regarded as a very good solo game. I don't need or want every game to have a solo option. But, I do really appreciate when designers try to see if there is a good solo play option available.

You're very welcome and we're glad to be able to do these. And that's awesome, #King of Tokyo is a great pick for the family! I was thinking #King of Tokyo: Dark Edition would've been great too but at the same time, the more lighthearted vibe of the original is definitely the way to go for the kids I think.

By the way, how much was #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) at your local store?

I did start my return on #Architects of the West Kingdom so I just have to drop it off at UPS.  It's a bit hard.  I really like #Raiders of the North Sea but kind of wish I had stumbled onto #Architects of the West Kingdom at the same time (and I don't know how I didn't).  I think I'd like it just a bit more.  But I do really enjoy #Raiders of the North Sea so it's okay.

Thanks again for doing the Giveaways.  I feel so lucky and have some really awesome dream games in my collection now #Dune and #Pax Pamir (Second Edition).  Plus my kids are really excited to get #King of Tokyo out for our family game night.

For some reason it isn't letting me vote.... But I say, "get something big and expensive." I o don't know what your tasts are, but I would think of games such as:

#Eclipse: Second Dawn for the Galaxy

#Twilight Imperium 4th Edition

#Gloomhaven

Or, perhaps, you could get one more expensive game, and a slightly cheaper game. For expensive games I am thinking of stuff like:

#Rising Sun

#Barrage

#The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth

#Brass: Birmingham deluxe edition

#Pax Pamir (Second Edition) (I think you can still preorder it, but I am not sure.)

Again, I don't know your tastes. But these are some of the ones that I would look at, and I would probably try to get one big game.

#Architects of the West Kingdom is a good choice if you want a worker placement game with a different flavor and one that plays very quickly even at higher player counts. Another plus is that it has a nice solo mode that you can enjoy, but if soloing hasn't been all that frequent for you anyway, then I don't see this changing up that pace all that much. And you have #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) coming your way anyway and I personally think it has a more compelling solo mode.

For #Dune, everything about it seems to suggest that it's your dream board game. And especially since you're thinking Architects will maybe see 5-6 plays, I think your 1-2 plays with Dune in a year will be more than worth that.

I would go Dune. It's the perfect game for you and even if it only sees 1 play in a year, you're getting it through the giveaway anyway :)

Now, any idea how soon a Dune night could be arranged?

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.

The only game I have that fall into this category is #Pax Pamir (Second Edition). The theme, as you're aware, is based on "The Great Game" period, coined so by Western histories because of the role played by the Europeans who attempted to use central Asia as a theater for their own rivalries. For Pamir, I don't think there's an overt message of "take this side!", but it does succeed in portraying the level of manipulation and power struggle that happens behind the more upfront elements of war, and how people with zero power are at the mercy of these people working in the shadows. And that's what I think I'd prefer in my games--a somewhat balanced or nuanced telling that offers an opportunity to learn and form my own opinions, rather than being forced on a set path.

With that said, I've had a growing interest in historical games such as #Freedom: The Underground Railroad, but I'm still of the opinion that I'd rather play games that aren't so close to reality.

I have the same feelings toward both #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) (when is it gonna ship already?!) and #Root

Oh, there are many, including:

There are many more.

Also, yes, #Spirit Island is a very good, very thematic game.

I am not 100% sure if #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) will deliver in time. It is going to be a close one. If it delivers while I am there, then that is what I am most excited for. If it doesn't deliver in time than I have #Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain waiting there. I think that is what I am looking most forward to that is there right now.

Thanks to BGA I was able to snag #Pax Pamir (Second Edition).  Even though I backed #Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile on Kickstarter it was on my Wishlist before it launched so I can add that too.

Not sure what will be in my crosshairs next.

It's costly, but unless it's a generic product I'd rather get the one that's made for the game haha. My #Clans of Caledonia coins should be arriving a week or two from now so I'll make sure to share about my experience! (and I also have #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) coins coming in October-ish)

I was mightily tempted by #Perseverance: Castaway Chronicles.  And, there are a few more that have been somewhat tempting. But I am trying hard not to do any more until Cole Wehrle runs his Kickstarter for the second edition of #John Company.

So, considering your love for #Pax Pamir (Second Edition), and Cole Wehrle...... coupled with the fact that Werhligig games is likely to release all their games through Kickstarter.... Do you think you will back John Company 2E? Will that be your first KS of all time?

I assume they were all small-ish games? I still haven't gotten sleeves yet because I like the feel/look without them. But, I am pretty careful with my games, at least the ones that are worth more than $40. And especially the ones that aren't readily available like #Pax Pamir (Second Edition). Also, I'm sure I'd feel differently about this if playing in a group (especially with strangers) had been a regular thing for me.

Here are my uh oh's...

Future big uh oh... getting into Kickstarters. Hasn't happened yet!

All games I decide to buy (to play with my wife) are with the solo mode in mind, so they're always solid! My favorites so far are #Pax Pamir (Second Edition), #Root, #Architects of the West Kingdom, and #Clans of Caledonia. I honesty haven't played enough to get to a point of tiring myself out from them, but I can say that it's not likely to happen soon because:

  1. Either the AI is really tough to beat or there's a high ceiling cap in terms of skill (Clans is somewhat like this)
  2. I typically acquire games with lots of variability (either in setup or through variable player powers)
  3. There's never enough time to get in a play so I'm usually just hoping that my schedule will clear off so that I can finally get in a session

Great question! And I'd say that it's more driven by the overall atmosphere created from solo gaming. I usually play late at night so everyone's asleep, it's quiet, and it just becomes like a monologue of me going through some tough decisions and wishing for a lucky draw from the AI deck. It's especially memorable when you have a series of AI card draws where the AI takes that one action that you desperately hoped it wouldn't take so that you still have a chance of beating it.

Games that especially created those moments are:

  • #Viticulture: Essential Edition - I swear, it's like the AI is reading my mind :(
  • #Architects of the West Kingdom - Tough opponent to handle for the hard mode (Helena)
  • #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) - Another aggressively tough opponent (Wakhan). So far, among all games I've soloed, this AI was the best in simulating a real opponent
  • #Root - Tough opponent. Also, I love randomness in games and my first session had several moments where I was so thrilled when I avoided a card draw that would've guaranteed a loss. And it's also thrilling to get the right dice throws for the battle

I'd like to have a solo game that involves a good amount of thrill of luck. The closest thing I can think of right now would be something like Clank!. I guess I should look up the solo variant for that one.

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