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You are the head of a respected but troubled family estate in mid-19th century Victorian England. After several lean decades, family fortunes are looking up! Your goal is to improve your estate so as to be in better standing with the truly influential families in Derbyshire.
Obsession is a game of 16 to 20 turns in which players build a deck of Victorian gentry (British social upper class), renovate their estate by acquiring building tiles from a centralized builders' market, and manipulate an extensive service staff of butlers, housekeepers, underbutlers, maids, valets, and footmen utilizing a novel worker placement mechanic. Successfully hosting prestigious social activities such as Fox Hunts, Music Recitals, Billiards, Political Debates, and Grand Balls increases a player's wealth, reputation, and connections among the elite.
Each turn, players choose a building tile representing a room or outdoor space in and around their 19th century British country house. The tile chosen dictates the event that can be hosted and the guests to be invited. Players must carefully plan, however, to have the proper staff available to service the event and support guests as needed. The reward for success is new investment opportunities, permitting further renovation of the estate (acquisition of more valuable/powerful building tiles), an increase in reputation in the county, an expanding circle of influential acquaintances, and a larger and highly-trained domestic staff.
Throughout the game, a competitive courtship for the hand of the most eligible young gentleman and lady in the county presents specific renovation and reputation objectives. The player who best meets these objectives while accumulating victory points will win the hand of the wealthy love interest and the game.
The Wessex Expansion adds a fifth family board to the mix that gives the advantage of a larger starting country estate. A player selecting the Family Wessex player board will have their choice between the Breakfast Room and Tennis Court—second level improvements—in his or her manor house at the beginning of the game. The expansion also adds five additional Starter Guests, five additional Casual Guests, five additional Prestige Guests, and six new Solitaire opponents.
These twenty (20) promotional tiles were developed as part of a stretch goal during the 2019 Upstairs, Downstairs Kickstarter campaign.
Users were invited to submit tile ideas, which were evaluated for thematic integrity and gameplay coherence, with the top two finishers in a user poll—the Parish Church/Parsonage (Stephen Cleary) and Babbling Brook (MJ Petrie)—being included in the Upstairs, Downstairs expansion.
The remaining eighteen (18) promotional tiles are now available as a separate item. These improvement tiles span all five tile categories: seven SERVICE, two ESTATE, two ESSENTIALS, three PRESTIGE, one SPORTING, and three SPECIALISED tiles (one hybrid, one wildcard, and one prototype tile).
Search for comets in a Garden Observatory, attempt to launch a Hot Air Balloon out on the East Lawn, enhance your service staff in countless ways, or be anything you want to be in the Art Gallery! All tiles are thematically sound, fitting the Victorian period.