"A nobleman needs land."
Information updated as of 3/11/22
Avg. Retail Price - $44.99
Brand/Publisher – Rio Grande Games
Genre/Game Type - Resource Management, Planning, Deckbuilding Game
Number of Players - 2-4 players, can go up to 6 with expansions
Co/Op - No
Expansion(s) – Intrigue, Seaside, Alchemy, Prosperity, Cornucopia, Hinterlands, Dark Ages, Guilds, Adventures, Empires, Nocturne, Renaissance, Menagerie, Allies
WHAT WE LIKED BEST:
This game is easily one of our favorites in the Dragon’s Den store, and a popular entry on our game nights. Easy to pick up to play, easy to teach and even easier to learn.
I personally enjoy the Marketplace, the Mine, the Throne Room, and the Bureaucrat cards. I love being able to upgrade my money (or revenue) and use that in turn to bolster my buying options, which is paramount to the game so you can acquire the lands you need to win.
Even more so in the vanilla game and the expansions you are looking at a WIDE range of routes you can take in order to be victorious. By using the “randomizer” cards you can make every game unique, and a player can be kept on his toes to adjust to a new strategy.
I can go on and on, but this flexibility and range of options makes this one of our favorites, easily.
HOW TO PLAY:
The GOAL of this game is to end the game with the greatest number of “victory points” and the way you accrue these points is via the acquisition of lands. You obtain lands either via action cards or money you accrue throughout the game. Keep in mind that MONEY is not the end statement of victory in the game or at least not in the vanilla base game covered here.
There are only THREE “phases” to the game. The first is your “action phase”, the second is “buy phase”, and the third is “cleanup phase”.
You start the game with only 10 cards, which are 3 “estates” (that have victory points) and 7 “copper” cards that are money. You start with NO action cards at the beginning.
Every hand you have will start with 5 cards in your hand, and the rest in either your “deck” or your “discard” pile. You end your turns with NOTHING left in your hand and everything goes into your discard pile. You reshuffle your discard pile when run below 5 cards in your deck.
Your action phase is where you will use all of your actions that you can, which might include “attack” cards that perhaps impact other players or perhaps give you an advantage in some way. These advantages might either give you extra actions, extra buys, or let you draw more cards from your deck. Some other special action cards might have more rules in the “flavor text” that give you extra options, such as shuffling through your discard pile to find a card you might need. Some action cards such as the “Marketplace” also give you extra money for your buy phase.
Once you have completed your action phase you then go into your buy phase, using any money that your action cards might have given you in addition to any money that you might have in your hand. There are coppers (1), silvers (2), and gold (3) that gives you better chances at buying more cards that you might need or the most beloved “land” cards. The best way to look at money in the game is that you aren’t really spending it, but it is more like a “revenue stream” that you have accrued as a noble.
The cleanup phase is straightforward, as stated above, when you have played your hand then you take EVERYTHING in your hand and send it to the discard pile. You then draw another FRESH 5 cards from your deck for the next time you have your turn.
The game ends when either the “provinces” pile is empty or three of the “action” (kingdom) card piles are empty. All the players stop and then count their land cards to see how many points they have.
The only expansion that my colleagues and I in the store have played is the “Renaissance” expansion. I like this version as it adds a bit more complexity to the mechanics of the game. You have “special projects” that if you build them might give you certain advantages or extra victory points. You also get these cool little coins in the expansion that give you extra “actions” and you spend those at your leisure, so it keeps the game quite spicy as players have a harder time keeping track of who is ahead.