Mesopotamia Birth of Civilization Game

Mesopotamia Birth of Civilization is a free, downloadable board game by Garry Stevens designed to teach the history of the Fertile Crescent. Garry writes:

Mesopotamia follows the rise and fall of twenty nations from the Sumerians to the Persians over two thousand years of history. It purloins freely from those wonderful classic games Civilisation, History of the World, and Ancient Conquests, to which I owe a huge debt. The game is more historical than Civilisation, but less world-encompassing than History of the World (HOTW). The basic system is that of History of the World, but with one very significant difference.

Henry VIII – Intrigue In The Tudor Court Game

Garry Stevens offers a free downloadable board and card game called Henry VIII – Intrigue in The Tudor Court. Garry writes:

In this rambunctious but historically accurate game you scheme and connive to win influence with the King, so that your faction will control his chosen heir and rule all England when the King dies.

The game contains all the important characters of the time, rated for religion, ability and guile. You play Court cards to improve your own standing and confound your enemies. Can you marry a woman of your faction to the King? Perhaps your Ladies of the Bedchamber can persuade Henry of her charms. Your future seems assured if she gives Henry a son. But woe betide you should the King tire of her.

Rich rewards are yours if you can convince the King to give you high office. But how long can you stay in power? You may be placed under secret investigation at any time, only awaiting a dreaded Warrant of Arrest from the Lord President of the Council to send you to the Tower. If the Principal Secretary sends you to the rack, your entire faction could be implicated. Of course, you can avoid the plots that surround Henry by travelling to Europe, but if you are there when the King dies, all your influence is to no avail.

And where do you stand if the King demands a divorce?

Quest For The Open Tavern

Quest For The Open Tavern is a free print-and-play game:

In Generic Fantasy Adventure: the Quest for the Open Tavern, players engage in a competitive worker placement game that embraces DIRECT player interaction. This ain’t your dad’s Euro! One player takes the role of the Wayfarers of Devastation – an adventuring party that recently slew a Great Wyrm Red Dragon (or so they claim) and now wants to celebrate with booze. But they’ve come to the wrong town! Governor Xaggy of Hommlette has heard about this band of ne’er-do-wells, and he’s ready for them. Complicating the issue is that the land is under siege from a demonic invasion AND a zombie plague, not to mention the emergence of a Thieves’ Guild.

One player controls the Wayfarers of Devastation, seeking to get drunk and destroy the town, while the other player controls Governor Xaggy who wants to uphold order and keep the town safe through a night of destruction.

Infection Express

Infection Express is a streamlined version of Pandemic — a game I like very much.

Warbucks is currently up on a Kickstarter, but the print-and-play version is free. The author describes it as a deckbuilding game like Dominion, but with territory control:

The deckbuilding component is more action-focused than engine-focused, but I’m not ashamed to say that I borrowed a fair bit from Dominion, and learned a lot about card interaction, pricing, and design from reading and playing lots of Dominion when Isotropic was still running Dominion games.

The base of the game is a territory control game, but without the dice rolling that you have in Risk. If 4 armies attack 3, 1 survives. That’s a fun half of a game (surprisingly), but what makes it interesting and provides a random element are the cards. Basic troops can move and attack, and that’s it. More interesting behaviors like jumping over enemy lines, moving farther, and hitting harder as well as responses that you can play on defense are in the cards.

There’s also a strong diplomacy/negotiation component to the game — it helps to convince people that you’re not a threat so they go after the other players, and there is bribery built right into the game to provide one more method of inducing cooperation from your (temporary) allies.
Your army holds territory, territory produces money (WarBucks), and you spend money on more troops and tech for your troops in the form of cards.