Disease? Poisoning? No one know for sure what killed Alexander the Great, but in 323 BC the 13-year reign of unmatched courage, amazing victories, and relentless conquests came to an end – not with a last glorious battle, but with a death rattle. Alexander the Great, surrounded by his most loyal generals, died without leaving a clear heir to the immense empire he had conquered. Not long after his death, the Macedonian generals began to war among themselves over who would be either regent or most legitimate defender of Alexander’s empire. By 305 BC, they had given up on that endeavor and began to carve out their own kingdoms.

Successors: new edition updated, upgraded with miniatures, and beautifully illustrated.

Successors, one of the best multiplayer strategy games ever published, is back in in a new edition, bringing its tense and ruthless gameplay in a world of ever-changing alliances. First published by Decision Games in 1993, then by Avalon Hill in 1997 and by GMT Games in 2008, the award-winning game designed by the legendary Richard H. Berg and Mark Simonitch arrives in its fourth edition updated, upgraded with miniatures, and beautifully illustrated, now published by PHALANX and distributed by Ares Games.

Successors provide a unique gaming experience for a strategy board game, where territory control and victories in battles can be less important than a clever intrigue, a dynastic wedding, or proper handling of the beloved King’s body. Two to five players take part in the conflict between titular “diadochi” (“Successors”) to the legacy and empire of Alexander the Great. They clash with their former brothers in arms turned enemies to gain control of provinces, to increase the number of Victory Points; or pull appropriate strings to secure Legitimacy Points, for example. by providing Alexander’s tomb with a suitable resting place. But too many Victory Points with respect to other players can make you stand out as an Usurper who can be attacked freely by everyone. Therefore, players must choose their strategies wisely.

The game is based in surprisingly simple core rules. Each round, a single Tyche card is played, and it is spent either as Operation Points – to move the player’s generals, train troops, or build political support in –provinces (to earn Victory Points); or as Events, to take advantage of the ongoing circumstances and seize members of Alexander’s family – some by force, some by marriages – to gather Legitimacy Points (a second path to victory). As all players want to gain these advantages, they must fight for them. When battle occurs, players’ fortune will depend on the size and quality of their army, and the grace of Tyche – Goddess of Fate.

A view of Tyche cards, the Movement allowance card and the five Faction cards.

Each player controls a faction of two or more generals and attempts to win the game either by achieving legitimacy with the Macedonian royalty or by conquering and maintaining control of the empire. The Imperialist faction is represented by Perdikkas, the first regent, and his lieutenant Eumenes of Cardia; the Ptolemaic faction by Ptolemaîos, the builder of hellenistic Egypt, and Lysimachos, the powerful dynast of Thrace; the Regents, by Antipatros, regent of Macedon under Philip II and Alexander The Great, Krateros and Leonnatos; the Antigonid, by Antigonos, the last successor to attempt the reunification of the empire, his son Demetrios I “Poliorketes”, and Kassandros; and the Seleucid, by Seleukos and Peithon, former members of Perdikkas’ staff.

Alexander’s Heirs – his sons Alexander IV and Herakles, his brother Philip III Arrhidaios -, his Female relatives – the mother Olympia, Kleopatra of Macedon (sister), Thessalonike (half-sister) -, and also Alexander’s embalmed body, are present in the game and provide Legitimacy to the Faction that controls them.

The fourth edition of the game brings a plethora of upgrades which make it stand out among similarly themed games and pays homage to the past editions. It includes a new, improved layout of the board, charts and cards, a rewritten and updated rulebook to fix some issues of previous editions, and an introduction to historical scenarios which streamline the gameplay and shorten game sessions. The graphic design is outstanding, with a state-of-the-art map board based on an original art by Mark Simonitch, over 60 illustrations inspired by historical sources, and 12 large 40 mm plastic leader miniatures.

Prepare your armies, sharpen the blade of your tactical sixth sense and whet your appetite for claiming your right to Alexander’s throne. There can only be one true Successor!

This preview article was originally published by Game Trade Magazine, issue 252 (February 2021).

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