I've known Kirk Dennison at Piecekeeper for a few years and saw a prototype of Rurik at Origins that blew me away. Rurik brings to life the ancient culture of Kievan Rus - the precursor to both Russia and Ukraine - with game design by Russian game designer Stanislav Kordonskiy and illustrations by Ukrainian artist Yaroslav Radeckyi.
The land of Kievan Rus' is in turmoil following the death of the renowned Vladimir the Great in 1015. The people need a capable ruler to inspire and lead them and Vladimir’s children are embroiled in a fierce power struggle for the right to rule as the next Grand Prince or Princess of Kiev.
Rurik: Dawn of Kiev is a 4X medieval realm building euro-style board game featuring "auction programming," resource management, and area control set in an 11th century Eastern European kingdom. You play as one of several potential heirs to the throne, and although deploying your troops for warfare seems to be the easiest path for success, the people value a ruler who leads well in a variety of endeavors. Win over the hearts of the people and prove your worth. Establish your legacy by constructing buildings and performing great deeds or pursue your own agenda by ruling large areas of land and collecting tribute. Only then will you earn the right to rule Kievan Rus’ as the Grand Prince(ss)!
In Rurik, players plan their actions openly by determining how much influence to exert for them. You can spend more influence on an action to reap greater benefits at the cost of performing that action later than other players. Conversely, you can spend less influence on an action for lesser benefits but perform that action quickly. This planning mechanism ("auction programming") adds tension and strategic depth beyond the typical action-selection in other euro-style area control games. No two games of Rurik are alike due to a variety of prince(ss) powers, household abilities, hidden agendas, and additional scenarios.
There are two versions - the KS deluxe version which comes with playmat and coins, and the less bling version.