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World Without End from Mayfair Games

By Fred Jandt
Published: June 14, 2010
World Without End box
World Without End contents
Product: Based on Ken Follett’s novel of struggle during the 14th century, World Without End is more a game of resource balance than resource management. Included with the game board are 100 cards, divided into summary, event, action and chapter categories; more than 100 markers; tiles; wooden pieces; and a storage bag.

Gameplay: As with most other resource management games, the goal of World Without End is amassing as many victory points as possible. This game, however, has a clock mechanism to keep players moving. Split into four “chapters,” each with six rounds (with one event per round), World Without End takes place over an advancing timeline, with each chapter encompassing several years in which players strive to build up the city of Kingsbridge for victory points.

The rounds are further broken down into five simple steps: reveal the event, orient the event, receive income, award favor and play an action card. Players repeat these steps in each round until the sixth and final round, when the chapter ends.

I call this a resource balance game because of the mandatory duties at the end of each chapter. Once they complete six rounds, players must demonstrate their piety, food-gathering and taxpaying skills, or face some stiff penalties in the form of lost victory points. Unlike a game like Settlers of Catan, where a person can focus on one game aspect (road or army building) and have a chance of winning, players in World Without End must maintain a careful balance to seize victory.

World Without End also turns gameplay on its ear after the second chapter, when the plague hits the city of Kingsbridge. Players must now balance their piety, food and taxes along with their ability to take care of the infirm.

Marketing: World Without End is a great example of the variety of board games available to the average shop owner. It used to be — and still is, unfortunately, in many places — that a shop owner would pull out the latest board games and place them in the “board game aisle” along with the others he stocked.

Many times, to get as many games as possible on those shelves, the games would be shelved with their sides sticking out, concealing the beautiful box art on many of them. If games were separated at all, they’d be grouped as “kids” games on one end or on one shelf and the “adult” games on another.

World Without End, and so many other games, deserve better than this. World Without End is the latest in a population explosion of quality family board games flooding the industry. These games can and should be separated to showcase their diversity.

This board game is one of a dozen or more based on current and past novels. Mayfair Games also offers a version based on Ken Follett’s previous novel, The Pillars of the Earth (MFG4103, $49). These games could easily be placed together in your board-game section to take advantage of the novel tie-in for your literary customers. Gamers read; it’s a fact.

And beyond that, how about taking that stale board-game section — I even saw one alphabetized! — and splitting it up in even more diverse ways. How about cooperative-play board games in one section, novel-based board games in another, movie-based board games over here and historical board games over there?

Basically, World Without End is the tip of the proverbial iceberg that will allow you to sort your games in ways to help your customers find and buy them.

Product: World Without End
Publisher: Mayfair Games
Stock No.: M4118
MSRP: $49
Availability: ACD, Alliance, Brown Box, Centurion Hobby Distributor, GTS Distribution, Mad Al, Premier Hobby Distribution, R&M, Southern Hobby Supply

Easy to start playing
Built-in replay mechanism
Based on popular novel series
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