Just before the weekend I was positively surprised as at my doorsteps appeared The Mission – long awaited solitaire game from White Dog Games by Ben Madison. Without further delay I explored the content and would like to share what I found. But first, let me shorty provide some more info for those who does not know that title.

About game

Jesus asked his disciples: “When the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?” (Luke 18:8, NLT) That question is the premise behind The Mission. The Mission: Early Christianity from the Crucifixion to the Crusades is a “grand strategy” solitaire game covering 1,200 years of Christian history on a map of the ancient Mediterranean, Near East, Europe and Africa. While the secular world of empires and politics plays out around you, your missionaries spread the Christian faith and convert areas of the map to your new religion. Each turn covers decades, and the flow of play will teach players about the expansion and doctrinal battles of early Christianity while you build institutions to educate, heal, and inspire the societies you touch.

Apostles and brilliant theologians will help you evangelize, but you will come to rely on the Roman/Byzantine state and Christian kingdoms to establish and defend the faith. Heresies and schisms in the Church will try to thwart your plans. Pressing against you are barbarian hordes, some of which you may convert; but the armies of Islam will emerge as the game changes from one of missionary outreach to one of self-preservation, as Christian communities hunker down for survival during the long Dark Ages. At the end, you will rise up in a blaze of glory as the Christian world finally fights back using Crusaders and the Spanish Reconquista to recover lost provinces!

Beginners and experienced gamers will find this an intriguing and very different sort of game. It’s a war of ideas, but it’s still a wargame, where managing scarce resources (including holy relics!) and making shrewd strategic decisions are the keys to victory. Can you build a strong, united and prosperous Christendom?

Inside the box

A small, folio box contains really interesting material. The game theme and whole concept is very appealing to me, and the way the game mechanics support the whole idea – really interesting. So let us see what we can find once the game is open:

There are 176 tiles representing all the main game elements – Fields, Heresies, Faiths, Jihads, Popes, Bishops, Kings, Roman Armies and Control markers, Great Technologists, Relics, etc..
Most of the tiles have two sides, representing various game mechanics.
The map is a nice, two A4-size thick carton product. It serves its purpose very well. Jerusalem is at its center with 6 tracks leading to and from it.
Along with the rulebook, we have Counter Tray (to sort all tokens before game), Acts Track (kind of turn track) and Sequence of Play.

I just started to familiarize myself with rulebook. I love Ben Madison style! All those designer comments / thoughts / explanations are so thematic and brings so much needed input to the design choice. They are also often very funny 🙂 And the chit-pull mechanics for many game aspects – I simply love it. Can’t wait to put the game to the table – you may expect more articles about The Mission!

You can find more about the game on Boardgamegeek.

You can get this title direly from the publisher site.