Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Guilds of Cadwallon by Gaëtan Beaujannot and Charles Chevallier

While I have always been a huge fan of expansive, complex games, sometimes you just have a little bit between family responsibilities.  Guilds of Cadwallon is one of those great games that can fill that gap with a group of friends.

The game presumes that you lead one of the numerous trade guilds in the city and are attempting to gather enough influence to become the next leader of the city.  You deploy your agents to the streets in an attempt to control the districts.

The game is played by laying out cards in a 3x3, then each player taking turns placing an agent on the boulevards between the cards. Once all the boulevards are full, the players check to see who controls which cards, then you refill the city and go again.  The game plays out this way until the players cannot fill out a 3x3 grid.  Each player scores their cards and the game wraps up in thirty minutes.

Cards can be of several types: guild cards, action cards, personalities.  Guild cards are the meat and potatoes of scoring, but do not have any abilities on their own.  Action cards can let you do things like switch one block with another, or play an extra agent.  Personalities are used to add or expand to various guild cards, letting you score even higher combinations. Finally, there are milita cards. They provide strength for taking other city blocks, just like other cards, but at the end of the game, they are not your friends. They count as negative points in the final tally. 
Scoring is very easy.  Each guild card has a gold piece value.  You take all the cards of on guild that you captured during the game, add up their gold value and multiply by the number of guild cards ( and a personality if you add them to that set.). Repeat for each guild, add in the value of your unused action cards and subtract any milita cards you took. That is the extent of scoring.

Once you have mastered the basic game, there are other great modifications to keep things interesting.  Start of game contracts, dealt face down to each player randomly, can change how the end game scoring goes.  As they are hidden, it adds to the guessing game and changes how you might block another player.  With the five to eight player expansion, you can build 4x4 or 5x5 cities.  The game time increases a little bit with more players, but even with eight a game should only take about 45 minutes or so to play.  This mini expansion also adds Guild Backer cards that help you score higher points with various guilds.

In the end, this is a great pickup game.  Easy to teach, quick to play, and very portable.  I can't recommend it enough as a great restaurant game, or filler while waiting for the rest of the group to arrive.  It plays well from 2 players to 8 players and requires no major rules adjustments or dummy players to accomplish this.

Tom Tjarks is a Fort Worth native and avid game player (PC, Console, Board Games) He has previously written for GamingTrend.com and can be found asking lots of questions about games on Boardgamegeek.  @tntjarks on twitter,  Dreamshadow on Boardgamegeek and other forums. 

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