Spotlight– Tesla vs. Edison: Powering Up! By Artana

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Anticipation… And time travel??

I’ve known about this particular project for awhile. I get Artana‘s newsletters, as well as any updates made to their past Kickstarter project, Tesla vs. Edison, so I’ve known about this for maybetimeshift two months already. This also means I’ve been waiting very patiently, and I am not patient. If I had it my way, and the ability, I would jump forward in time to when my copy arrives at my house, just so I can bring it back to the present (or is it the past??) and play it now. I’m sure that is not how time travel would work, but whatever.

When I first read that they were making this expansion, I felt like the base game was getting to meet its long-lost twin (or something to that effect). In my TBT Review of Tesla vs. Edison, I talked briefly about the expansion that backers would have voted on during the Tesla vs. Edison campaign. Some of the ideas they had presented were a female 6th player option and more female luminaries. The expansion is here now, and it is going to give us all that and way more.

What It Offers

The Powering Up! expansion includes:

  • 6th player Madame C.J. Walker and all of her company components
  • HQ mats and cards for all of the original inventors
  • 21 Historical Event cards
  • 2 AIs for all 6 inventors
  • Propaganda and female luminaries (Via Stretch Goals)
  • 10 more stock certificates
  • 3 player aids
  • 1 Rulebook

Artana has also teamed up with The Broken Token and there will be box organisers available at pledge level and as an add-on.

Powering Up!

So, besides the addition of the 6th player, the Powering Up! expansion is going to add so much more depth to the gameplay of Tesla vs. Edison.

The first major addition is going to be the inventor HQ mats. The mats serve as your company headquarters and each one has four available buildings: Laboratory, works, office and studio. Once your buildings are constructed, they will provide power ups that will have ongoing benefits throughout the game. They also add in more ways to gain victory points for the end of the game. The HQ mat is also a really creative thematic addition. If you look at the example HQ, you can see that the top of the mat gives you a place to sort of organise your luminaries and your inventor.

With this expansion the win condition is changed from most money (stocks, paper money, etc.) to victory points. I think that this is really great, especially since there are even more avenues for players to pursue throughout the game. The point system makes more sense with the everything this expansion offers. Historical event cards are another new addition. These cards can be good or bad for a player’s strategy and a new one will be drawn for every turn. For example, the 1888 Blizzard card states that for a turn, players may not build their HQ. I’m looking forward to the challenges these will present to players, and the enhancement they bring to the game’s theme.

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Tesla and Edison’s AI cards, showing the normal and expert sides. Photo Credit: Tesla vs. Edison: Powering Up! Kickstarter campaign page

Another feature the expansion offers is the ability to play solo. I can think of a couple of people in my gaming circle that would absolutely love this. The expansion provides two AI settings for each inventor: normal and expert. The normal side is represented by Charles Babbage and the expert side represented by Ada Lovelace. Each inventor will have their own pre-programmed deck that will mimic what a player might do on their turn based on the skill level the AI is set to. You can play against these AIs alone or even add them into your normal game. Perhaps, you and a friend might try to face off against four AI inventors at expert level. The diversity of experience that these AI will add to game play is exciting and I can’t wait to lose to them (I already know it will happen).

Rhado does an excellent overview of the expansion, that you can check that out here. One thing that he notes, and that I absolutely agree with it, is that the expansion will make this game more enjoyable to players that aren’t as cutthroat, or players that are not good at monopolizing the stock markets. And as he says, this really does seem like a complete overhaul of the base game. Yes, you will be getting more propaganda cards and more luminaries (the female luminaries we’ve all been waiting for), but you are getting a basically new game that builds on all the positives of the old one and improves all of the negatives.

The Pledge Levels

The campaign offers 6 pledge levels ranging from $1 – $89.

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Photo Credit: Tesla vs. Edison: Powering Up! Kickstarter campaign page

The $1 level is mainly just there so that if you want to show your support, but can’t afford a higher pledge, you can. The next level at $24 will get you the Broken Token organiser only. The organiser is for both the base game and the expansion. This is a good option for couples or friends who want to split the cost. One person gets the expansion and the other gets the organiser. At the $25 level you will get just the expansion and all of its stretch goals. If you want both the organiser and the expansion (plus stretch goals) you can pledge $49.

Now, if you don’t already have the base game, but this expansion has caught your interest, the next two levels also get you a reprint of the base game. For $65 you get the base game reprint and the expansion with all of its stretch goals. At the final level, you can get the base game plus expansion w/ stretch goals and the Broken Token organiser. This level is $89.

If you have the base game, the $49 pledge level is the way to go. If you don’t have the base, but want to own it, splurge and go for that $89 level. You can’t beat that deal.

Add-Ons

As of right now the only available add-on is the Broken Token organiser. You can add $24, per organiser, onto any pledge level.

Stretch Goals

At the time of writing this, the campaign has already blasted through all 6 stretch goals! In fact the campaign was funded day one, 4 hours after going live!

The 6 stretch goals that you will be getting with your copy of the expansion are:

  • The 1st female luminary- Backers will get to vote on which female luminary will be the first added
  • The 2nd female luminary – Backers will get to cast their vote for this lady as well
  • Linen card finish- Cards will match the linen finish of the cards in the base game
  • The 1st presidential propaganda card- Backers will get to cast their vote to decide which president will appear on an additional propaganda card
  • The 3rd female luminary- Another vote by backers will choose the next female luminary included
  • The 2nd presidential propaganda card- Backers will vote on a 2nd president to make an appearance on a propaganda card

UPDATE #1!

Since the campaign has done so well, Artana has added on 3 more stretch goals. They have just unlocked the first one of the three! Here’s what the new stretch goals look like:

  • Two fantasy luminaries, Ada Lovelace and Michael Faraday from the base game will be added in
  • A 3rd presidential propaganda card will be voted on by backers and added in
  • A limited edition Broken Token organiser insert! Backers will get to vote on the custom artwork.

With that last stretch goal, there’s all the more reason to back a level that gives you the Broken Token insert. I have no doubts that this goal will be reached. 

UPDATE #2!

The final stretch goal from the last update has been reached and a new pair of stretch goals have been added to the campaign, one of which has already been unlocked.

At $75,000, a 4th female luminary has already been unlocked.  The next goal at $80,000, unlocks one more presidential propaganda card. Both will be voted on by the backers. 

UPDATE #3!

Holy moly! Backers are just blasting through the stretch goals for this campaign. Artana has now added 4 more stretch goals, and here they are:

$85,000: 5th female luminary card

$90,000: 5th presidential propaganda card

$95,000: Custom thematic AC/DC track markers

$100,000: Custom thematic turn marker


Artana

I’ve played quite a few games from Artana, and I can honestly say I’m always really impressed by the games they produce. Tesla vs. Edison was my first experience with the company and that really set the precedence. Their game The New Science, is also this richly thematic experience, and I love how dedicated they are to that kind of immersion. Not to mention, the quality of material that their games use is always top notch.

When I worked with them to get a copy of TvE for the Dice Tower Con library, they were super generous and an absolute pleasure to work with. I had such a great experience demoing TvE at the con and would absolutely do it again. I’ve also gotten a chance to playtest their upcoming game Chronicles 1: Origins. It’s definitely going to bring something different to the legacy game genre. Although, I’m not a fan of that style of game, my playtesting experience was really enjoyable and Artana did a great job setting up resources and files for their testers. I also backed their last campaign, Corrupted Kingdoms.

I’ve always had pretty good experiences with Artana’s games and they are definitely the kind of company that is great to partner with. If you’d like to know more about their upcoming projects and other things in the works you can follow them on Twitter or on Facebook.

Final Thoughts

This is one project that I am ready for, like, now. As much as I love the base game, I think this expansion will give my passive play style a fighting chance against my husband (an aggressive, cutthroat player) and our friends who play just like him. I’m excited to see the HQ mats and the new conditions that the historical event cards will add. I’m excited for it all!

If you haven’t yet played the base game, check it out. If you have played it and better yet, if you own it, you should definitely consider grabbing this expansion. I really feel like it will improve the game play experience for everyone involved.

As of writing this, the project is funded and has all of its stretch goals completed. There are 26 days left in the campaign. Plenty of time to grab your copy, or a friend’s copy, of TvE and give it a shot before you hunker down and decide to back the Kickstarter.


Was this helpful to you? What other information would you like to have seen? Have suggestions for future Spotlights? Please leave a comment below, or head over to my contact page to send me an email, tweet or Facebook message. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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