It was Saturday night and my daughter was fast asleep, my wife was at a friends house and the pizza was ordered. Tonight I was taking on Tesla vs Edison: War of Currents.
Being an IT engineer this game's technological history theme really appealed to me. I have
played this one several times since I picked it up at Gencon in 2016. When I got the game (one of last copies at the con) I picked up the expansion and the money that was themed with famous women from American history. The expansion of the game also came with a new company to play, Madam CJ Walker, the first American woman to become a millionaire. I very much appreciated the feminist touches.
Tesla v Edison: War of Currents takes place during the 1880s war of currents. The game features titans of the industry like Tesla, Edison, Brush and others. There is also a strong supporting cast with people of the time like JP Morgan, HG Wells and Edwin Huston in this game. Telsa v Edison does a great job of immersing you into the war of currents and the win condition reminds you what it was all about. The player with the most valuable stock portfolio wins this game.
The game board is divided up into 3 parts a map of the US, the 'Stock Market' and the technology tracker. One of the actions you can take during your turn is to research technologies this is done by meeting the requirements utilizing your CEO or your supporting staff. When you are the first person to a technology you can purchase the patent on that particular tech. Now when a player would like to use that level of AC or DC or light bulbs (yea light bulb tech is important in this game) they have to pay you licensing fees.
What do you do with all this technology you have been researching well you can buy into projects on the map. The projects cost money but they shift you stock value up depending on how big (S,M L) the project is. But in order for you to buy into that project you need to match the level of the project (1-5) of AC or DC technology and light bulb (told you it was important) technology.
There is also one other section of the board next to the tech track and that is the popularity and turn order track. These you can manipulate with propaganda actions. This was played a
big part in the actual war of currents. The players can spend propaganda actions to make AC or DC more popular and manipulate the turn order for the next turn. The popularity of the technology you have invested in can affect your stock values, everything comes back to the stock value. Speaking of stock values there is that stock market part of the board. You guessed right you can buy and sell share of your or other players stocks. This will directly affect stock values and income each turn. The bottom of each column has a value and that the company's income for that turn. The farther to the right (more value in the market) the more income you have for projects or market manipulation.
That's the basics. The game plays fast. Its only six turns long so you don't get drawn into Risk traps where the game last longer than the players patients. As I mentioned in the beginning I played this one solo. A nice feature that this game came with was AI players. Calling it AI is a bit generous since it is just turn by turn predetermined actions that don’t adapt to in game situation. Even still it made the game challenging. It also was another place they brought theming into the game, the two levels were named after two computer programming pioneers Babbage and Lovelace. The Lovelace side of the AI card was the harder AI(good choice Dirk). In case you were wonder I won against Tesla and Edison.. barely!
This game is a keeper for my collection and a good addition to yours. It plays quick and is fairly easy to learn making it more approachable for the slightly more advanced casual gamer.
Designed by: Dirk Knemeyer
Published by: Artana
Year Published: 2015
Recommended Ages: 14+
Time to Play: 90 minutes
Game Play Gallery