So the game is called Steamwatchers for a reason, right? Yes, you’re right! Watcher is actually a title you can seize in the Conclave (everyone gets a title!), and it allows you to exert some control over the spawning of steam columns. This is especially important since columns are heavily related to geothermal resources (aka GEOs), which are your victory points, if you will.
The clans have organized around a neutral Conclave, which distributes positions. Every clan gets a position, like Watcher. In-game terms, this is a turn-order track with special abilities! And, when you pass (you can choose to pass early), you effectively choose what position to take. You can only take an available position that’s different from your current position, so you won’t be able to shotgun your favorite every time!
Now, let’s take a look at how Watchers play. When you become a Watcher, you draw 3 Steam column cards, play a card from your hand, and keep the rest in your hand. Every time you become a Watcher again, your hand size increases, which gives you even more control over the columns spawn! Every area is represented only once in the steam column deck, so even if the areas you drew don’t advantage you directly, they give you intel on what most definitely won’t have a steam column in it. You can even foster a conflict away from you by having a column spawn between two of your rivals.
This title is sure super interesting and gives you a competitive advantage… However, other titles will give you an edge over other parts of the game you won’t have access to if you focus solely on this one. Also, people will watch your every move since they know you know – ironic, isn’t it?
There are two Watcher titles, one in position #1, so they will initiate the round, and one in penultimate position (#4).
The Archon is the centerpiece of the Conclave. They will draw 3 Archon cards, play one from their hand, just like Watchers. These cards are both powerful and situational. They can prevent certain seas from being used, give everyone troops, or contaminate everyone. The Archon has an added benefit: he’s not affected by most negative cards or gets a bonus from the positive ones. Those can sway the game but comes at a cost – the Archon is at the center of the Conclave track. They don’t go first, so they can’t have the initiative. They don’t go last, so they can’t have the final say in a round.
The Legate is in cahoots with the infamous Careeners – sort of an industrial sea mafia, if you will. They will get a free pass on one ice floe area that supersedes everything. The Legate ignores all sea restrictions, even from Archon cards! They also go second, so not bad.
The Primus is a fun title. First, it will give you an option on the next round’s title. You book a title that you may or may not eventually take, but your opponents can’t take it (except if you passed and made another choice). Second, you get a free recruit, and more troops mean more oomph and maybe saving you a recruit action. Last… they go last in turn order. This means you often have the final say in rounds and often means you have an agenda and want to see how people will tear at each other before jumping in.
2-5 players adjustments!
At two players, the Primus is removed, and at 5, an additional Watcher slot gets thrown in after the Primus, ensuring tension and interesting choices throughout all player counts.
That’s it for this article about titles!