Darwinauts (Standard Explorer Pledge)

Factions: Battlegrounds (Elite General's Edition Pledge)

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In Factions: Battlegrounds, you take on the role of a general who's leading an army of troops, spellcasters, beasts, and mythological monsters into battle. You and the opposing generals determine the battleground, gather resources, and score points by eliminating enemy units. Whoever first captures 25 points of units wins.

In more detail, to set up choose one of the six factions in the game; each faction has twelve unique units and five "home terrain" cards that work well with your units. Players then take turns building the battleground by placing one terrain card at a time into the 3x3 grid, each terrain card is divided into a 2x2 grid, so the entire grid of play is 6x6. Whoever places terrain first has an advantage since they have more home terrain than other players, while players who go later during set up determine the location of resource centers on the battleground or recruit their starting units last so that they can respond to the choices of opponents. Units cost 1-5 gold, and each player can spend up to 10 gold on starting units, keeping anything unspent.

During a round, all units have the chance to move, with the highest-ranked units moving first and with ties being broken in favor of whoever has the most captains, followed by whoever has the most units. Each unit has a movement, attack, and health value, along with an indication of whether it generates gold or mana and (possibly) a spell that it can cast. After moving a unit, you can attack with it, whether melee or ranged as indicated on the card. If you defeat an enemy unit, you can points equal to its cost in gold, so while expensive units tend to be the most powerful, they also provide an opponent with their biggest target for points.

Prior to activating a unit on your turn, you can pay gold to recruit new units, and those units will slip into rank order for the turn, possibly allowing you to put a high-ranking unit into play directly and giving an opponent someone on the battleground that they didn't expect.

Once all the units have moved, players collect resources for units that gain them automatically and for units located on resource centers. Rounds continue until someone has collected 25 points of captured units, at which point they win immediately.

Factions: Battlegrounds is centered on inclusion and diversity, incorporating mythology from all over the world and representing traditionally European-based fantasy elements with underrepresented cultural elements.