Tyrants of the Underdark from Gale Force Nine
Tyrants of the Underdark (aka TotU) is a deckbuilding/area control game based in the Drow Underdark. The game is played using a differing amount of locations depending on the number of players, and so far having played 2, 3 and 4 player games, seems well balanced all round.
In TotU each player controls a noble Drow house, this is represented by a coloured play board, a disc for 'Promoted' cards (those taken out of your deck to score at end game), and a whole lot of little plastic shields (and a few spy figures) in your colour. As is standard with deck building games, you all start with the same cards in your deck, and as you play through the rounds, you personalise them with the choices you make, and the cards you add. Adding cards is simple enough, each round there are 8 cards available to purchase, 2 of which are always there until they run out, the other 6 are random.
These random cards come from a central deck that is set up before each game, in the base game there are 4 mini-decks to choose from, you shuffle any 2 of these together to form the deck for each game. The new cards are purchased using cards from your hand, some will generate INFLUENCE, this is used to buy cards, others will generate POWER, this is used to interact with troops and spies on the area control side of the game.
Starting the game (on marked spaces) are neutral soldier pieces, these are here to stop instant domination of areas with no conflict, and do not slow the game down, in fact they add another edge to it. As previously mentioned, Power is used to interact with this board and your army, through the use of Power, you can add troops to the board (adjacent to areas you already have a piece), assassinate a troop already on the board, or return an enemy spy back to their stockpile.