Author: Wolfgang Panning

Publisher: Queen Games 2004

Awards: none



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

The historical background for the game is expressed in the title. We are back in the Medieval in the year 1302. Various guilds have helped the count of Flandern to fight the armies of King Philip IV from France and finally they shared success. For their help the guilds were granted more autonomy and rights in the cities. But as time went by, the guilds became at variance and quarrelled for the predominance in each of the cities.

In the game each player represents one guild. In the middle of the table a gameboard is placed with six different cities. The players then try to become dominant in the cities by placing markers of their guild in each of these cities during the game. But this becomes more and more different, because each city only has limited space and apart of the players also another independent (grey) guild and the church want to be present. The spaces (quarters) in the cities are similar to a simple puzzle, so not all but only special markers, which fit in the free spaces, may be placed in the according quarters of each city.

The game is played in rounds. Every round begins with the start player drawing a golden card. This enables him to do the given action on the card at the end of the round - but more about it later...

In the next phase all players secretly choose one of their action cards, this is either one of the city cards, a building site card or a card to get back all cards that were played in former turns. Next to the action card, the players may play up to three influence cards, which enable them to do their turn before the other players. The cards of all players are revealed simultaneously. The player with the most influence then starts the turn. If there are more players with the same amount of influence the sequence again goes clockwise from the start player.

A city card enables the player to place either one of his own, one of the neutral guild or one of the church markers on a free quarter in the city named on the card. With the building site card a player may build a construction place for the same guild in any city. Although this construction does not count, when it comes to a valuation, it is good to block some of the limited area. Besides the construction can be completed with another city card some turns later.

When all players finished their turns, the start player may reveal his golden card. This either allows him to do an extra action in some city or it is an influence card for the following turns. But it can also enable the start player to play a guild master on one of his guild markers on the table. This will count as a bonus in the evaluation phase of a city when it comes to a draw. And finally it can be a special card to play a cathedral on one of the church markers, which gives extra points for this city.

After all this is done, cities that are completed come to an evaluation. The points are given follows: one for every guild marker, two for any church marker and three for church markers with a cathedral. The player with the most influence in this city gets the full value, the second half of the value, the third 4 points and the fourth 2 points.

The game ends, if - after the evaluation phase - there is only one space left free or after the last golden action card is drawn.

There are some more detailed rules and twists to the game, but basically you should have a good overview of how the game mechanics work. Although the game mechanism is not really new, I must confess that it works quite well and the game is superior to most similar games. In my opinion the balance between the tactical elements and the luck by drawing the right golden card should be less to the latter, but probably this is due to the fact that the target group for the game should be broad and include families as well as tactical players. Nevertheless it is still a tactic and a strategy game as well. I will promise, that in your first try you will be the looser to any experienced player, because you will do the fault to concentrate on too many cities. But have a try yourself. I think that next to the Alhambra game plus expansions, Flandern 1302 is one of the best games from QUEEN GAMES.

By the way, the game can even also be played by two players and this is almost as fascinating as it is with more players.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany