A board game that would make Niccolò Machiavelli blush, Manipulate encourages players to amass Power and wealth through owning (and seizing) Ventures; all the while fending off and attacking the competition with a wide variety of Favours, and attempting to guard the Skeletons in their closet.
Ventures are the building blocks of every player’s empire: from muckraking newspapers, to blockbuster technology startups, to lucrative oil rigs. Ventures not only contribute to players’ Power count, but also earn them turn-based income. Generating these crucial funds allows players to buy more Ventures, bribe other players, and pay off a variety of murky expenses they will be faced with.
Much of Manipulate’s excitement comes from deal-brokering between players, and launching attacks with a wide range of Favour cards. These include everything from digging up dirt with private investigators, running public smear campaigns, conducting hostile takeovers of Ventures, and worse.
However, each player also has Skeletons in their closet; at risk of being unearthed by rivals should they make the wrong enemies. If uncovered, Skeleton cards can expose a player’s cooked books, blood on their hands, or even rumours of frivolity with an unfortunate pig while at university. Many of the most powerful Favours are illegal, and using them has the penalty of receiving extra Skeleton cards – meaning that playing a particularly barbaric Favour card against an opponent is tactical trade-off that could dramatically backfire.
Additionally, each player assumes the role of a character: ambitious celebrities, corrupt police chiefs, criminal masterminds, tech entrepreneurs, media moguls, or ruthless politicians. As in real life, these characters collude, compete, and stab each other in the back on their rise to the top. Each player can increase their Power further by amassing Ventures which are specifically relevant to their character. For instance, the media mogul aims to preside over an empire of news outlets – because what the public read, the public believe.
The reins of Power regularly change hands throughout a game, with players’ fortunes rising and spectacularly falling, and the outcome often decided in a tense tug-of-war for domination in the final round.
Manipulate is for 3-6 players, and typically takes 90-120 minutes to play a game.
It may not be possible to ship very heavy items outside of the Mainland UK.
Released: 16 February 2019