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Here's a brief game description from the publisher:
The world you know no longer exists. There is no government. No army. No civilization. The United States has collapsed. And now, thirty years after the war started, new powers finally try to take control of the ruined country, try to establish new order, try to control others to create a new country, a new State – the 51st State.
51st State is a card game set in the world of Neuroshima in which players control one of four powers (mutants, traders, New Yorkers and Appalachians) and try to build their own new country. Players put new locations into the game, hire leaders, and send people to work in buildings to gain resources and new skills.
Every card in 51st State can be put into play in three different ways: You can invade a location to gain many resources once, or you can sign a contract with this location to gain one resource every turn, or you can attach the location to your State so you can use its skill. One card, three possibilities – lots of decisions and choices that matter.
Designer Ignacy Trzewiczek passed along this example of how a card might be played. "You are playing the Mutants and want to put a Gas Station into the game. You can:
* Be a true mutant and invade the gas station, bringing home four fuel counters that you can use. * Be a nice mutant and visit the gas station to say, 'I will not kill you, but you must give me one fuel every round.' * Or attach the gas station to your land, saying, "Hey, you are in my state now!" allowing you to sell fuel.
Trzewiczek says that 51st State will include 110 cards, counters and players sheets.
Description written by W. Eric Martin and used with permission of BoardgameNews.com