Review: Tesla vs. Edison –duel filled with energy

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Clash of the two most amazing minds of the 19th century is here and with them comes a . Will it end with triumph of rippled AC or we will all stand upright to honor DC? We already know, how this equation turns out. And yet, history can change.

As we know, history is full of two technologies fighting and only one can remain, sending greetings to Betamax or HD-DVD. We can test how it feels in board game Tesla vs. Edison: War of Currents, which was created by . You may remember his name from excellent game The New Science. And in science, we will remain this time with publishing company and distribution company .

Box has square dimensions, but is not excessive. On the cover, we find portraits of the two warring scientists and a few others, who will accompany them during the plot. Both are holding in their hand a light bulb, and we will gladly use it to see inside, after we set lid aside. This is, when we find a big game board within. Its upper part can be divided into four parts, which will be included in the game according to the number of opponents. The map is full of cities connected by lines.

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Lower half is full of scales. On one of them, companies will be pursuing their glory, other two serve to watch technologies, but there is also scale for market share; and of course also one for order of players or companies profits. All neatly spaced and color-coded. Map is not the only thing waiting for players – there are paper banknotes in five levels, hundreds of wooden blocks in different colors (twenty from each) and then cards. We are talking about cards of progress (inventors and other celebrities), as well as stock cards. Each character card has printed its influence in four areas – inventing, manufacturing, finance and propaganda. This capability is indicated in numerical terms.

At the beginning of the game, players have to decide, how large section of the board will they be using, according to their number. Then, they deploy one turn counter and other for fame indicator of both electricity technologies. According to prescribed rules, propaganda cards are divided for each phase of the game. Numbers of all cards for one game is limited.

Players choose gradually their character and company, they will hold most shares of. Everyone according to their chosen company takes appropriate inventor card, share certificate and cubes in this color. These must be immediately used and deployed on scale of earnings and on starting box of technology scale.

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But before round itself starts, there is still one auction to do (as well as at start of next two or three rounds game has). Players will unveil scientists, who will like to join them. And they will gradually fight over them with their finances. Rivals do this auctioning, until everyone has one companion to start with. As well as in the later rounds, they will not bring only their knowledge, but also randomly dealt stock card of one company with them.

Players can use services of their scientists every turn. They are in fact activated once per turn and turned over as sign, that this character has already been utilized. With their help, players may primarily expand influence on a map, so they can focus on some projects of building electricity network. Every city wants to be connected and they offer some rewards alongs with some requirements on the level of technology.

Costs are differentiated by silhouettes on top of each city mark (four, eight or twelve thousand dollars), but also increases with distance a player needs to move his heavy construction machinery from his other towns. When its not neighboring town players are building in, they have to pay for every step they take. The same applies, if one of opponents has patent pending on given level of technology needed for that town. Conversely, amount paid can be reduced with fame of scientists. Needed level of technology can be easily seen according to Roman numerals. Players need only one of them (AC or DC) at the appropriate level.

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But sometimes, players need to stop their expansion and instead develop their company. They can increase technology levels, but to do so, they needs an adequate scientists (based on level printed on the card). Or as another option, they can use propaganda action to enable him to move turn order, but at the same also receive some income for his renown scientists.

But main goal of all is to purchase shares in companies and raise their value. This requires players to spend already mentioned finances. But value varies with each purchase and it is possibly moved in both directions. Game then ends after finishing sixth round. At that point, players compare value of their shares in the companies and the one with the largest portfolio is the winner.

Tesla vs. Edison introduces us to a pair of scientists, who managed to tame electricity almost at the same time. Everyone did it his way and thanks to this game with a unique theme, we can be a part of it. However, despite this topic, game is virtually a pure economic simulation. Players buy shares in companies, that are not under their control, but are public. Instead, role of scientists are to affect balance of their type of power and raise fame for their kind of electricity.

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Players must use well their scientists cards, whose ranks in their services are gradually expanding with passage of time. There are well-known and lesser-known names, but all the characters are very important, because they brings different options to the gameplay. Each card provides one action in the round, which means, that the game time for individual turn is gradually lengthened. Thanks to this, game can stretch up to ninety minutes.

From looking at the game board, you get the feeling, that this could be enhanced Funkenschlag. Unfortunately, game is purely financial and game plan here is not of so critical importance, as in mentioned game although with a similar theme.

Everything revolves around several times already mentioned purchase of shares. This event is by far the most important and its importance will cover virtually all other possibilities, that await the player. This is unfortunately a little spoiled impression of an otherwise rich gameplay, because experienced players will focus mainly on that section and not so much on the technology itself. And those techs should be the core of such game. Yet there are other opportunities to take and players can use them, they are just not as important as they could have been.

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Fortunately, the game is fun to play, and maybe it’s because financial part of the game is interesting, including a shift in the value of shares after each purchase. Players must maintain an important influence in their favored companies. Overall, finance are absolute mover of it all, but equally it all roots in terms of human resources.

With a slight shortening of the game time, game function not only at the maximum of five, but in lower numbers. This does not apply for two, when the game is really less interesting, as players can avoid each other and not experience as much interaction as there is with more participants.

Big guns of this game are in its processing. Beautiful and thematic graphics, great game board, and of course illustrations of individual cards. Usually, we are opponents of paper bills, but they are done well and make sense. Players can keep secretly together with another supply. This game is really a pleasure to look at, that is for sure.

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Tesla vs. Edison is not a bad game, maybe just not as good as we hoped it would be. This disappointment is probably the main feeling, that prevails after the first game. Fortunately, the game can be fun and interesting, if you like financial games overall. Tesla vs. Edison can certainly despite its shortcomings please many economical players.

DesignerDirk Knemeyer
ArtistHeiko Günther, Jessica Riola
PublisherArtana, Giochix.it
Year Published
# of Players2 - 5
User Suggested # of Players Best with 5+ players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5 players
(47 voters)
Playing Time90
Mfg Suggested Ages14 and up
User Suggested Ages14 and up
(7 voters)
Language DependenceSome necessary text - easily memorized or small crib sheet
(9 voters)
CategoryBluffing, Card Game, Economic, Educational, Industry / Manufacturing
MechanicAction Points, Commodity Speculation, Hand Management, Investment, Network and Route Building, Stock Holding, Variable Player Powers
ExpansionTesla vs. Edison: Powering Up!, Tesla vs. Edison: War of Currents – Bonus Luminaries
FamilyCrowdfunding: Giochistarter, Crowdfunding: Kickstarter, Crowdfunding: Spieleschmiede, Game: Tesla vs. Edison, Historical Figures: Nikola Tesla
Primary NameTesla vs. Edison: War of Currents

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

Review: Tesla vs. Edison –duel filled with energy
Final word
Tesla vs. Edison is not a game of adventure or technology. It will not break any rankings or empty wallets by thousands. Yet there are plenty of players, who can be pleased just with its financial focus. Its just a bit surprising gameplay given the large board and theme, but it works. There are flaws, that can spoil the overall experience, which lies in the length of turns and foremost a clear strategy for victory - purchase of shares. In more players, when the game is best, it will also need quite a long amount of time. But players can enjoy it also thanks to cool processing. And finally in the total sum, Tesla vs. Edison should receive our good evaluation.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Pros
luxury design
fun financial game
possibilities in each round
character cards offer
variability of individual matches (other cards)
Cons
overemphasis on buying shares
turns longer towards the end
little interaction in two
3
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