Author: Leo Colovini

Publisher: KOSMOS 2003

Awards: none



Gamebox author Ralf Togler writes:

Die Brücken von Shangrila (= The Bridges of Shangrila) is Leo Colovinis second game which is published by Kosmos, but in Italy the author is already quite famous. The game comes in one of Kosmos' big boxes. Next to the game board there are 23 wooden (!) bridges, 12 glass stones, 168 master cards and two cards with short rules. The design of the game board could be slightly better but the material is quite nice and well balanced.

The rules of the game are quite easy. Each player takes control of one tribe which tries to settle in the splendid area of Shangrila, a land once inhabited by a folk of very wise men but nowadays abounded apart from an invisible guy, who likes to destroy the bridges between the villages of Shangrila. Masters of the different tribes mainly do the settlement. There are 7 different master guilds (the healer, the dragon keeper, the fire holder, the preacher, the rain maker, the Yeti whisper and the astrologer). At the beginning the players get 6 masters of each guild for their tribe (represented by the colour of the masters). The game starts with placing 7 master cards of each player in the villages of Shangrila. The villages can take up 7 masters, but there is the limitation of only one master per guild, so if player A places a healer in the first village, nobody else can put a healer in the same village.

After the first settlement is done the game mechanism starts. The game is done in rounds and the player in turn can do one of the following actions:

  • Place one of his master cards in any village where the player has at least one other master
  • Recruit pupils. This is done by placing two masters on two masters that are already in one or two villages of Shangrila. This new masters are the pupils.
  • Start a walking-tour of the pupils.

This last action is the most important of the game and therefore should be explained in more detail. The pupils always walk from one village to one in the neighbourhood. At the beginning these villages are connected with the wooden bridges, but after a walking-tour of the pupils, the old guy I mentioned earlier destroys the bridge and no further walking-tours between these villages are possible.

When a walking-tour is chosen all pupils (of all players) of the first village go to the second village. There they try to settle on the master places. If there is no master on the specific field where a pupil has to go (remember that there is always only one place per guild in a village) the pupil can settle there freely. But if this place is occupied, it has to be distinguished whether the first or the second village is the stronger one. This is the village with the higher sum of masters and pupils before the walking-tour. If the first village (from which the walking-tour started) is the stronger one, all pupils can settle in the new one and masters (and pupils) from the same guild have to be removed. If on the other hand the second village is the stronger one, the pupils have no chance to push away the old masters of their guild and have to be removed themselves.

When the last bridge to a town is destroyed the village now is safe and nobody can change something in this village. As a sign of the peace a philosopher's stone is placed on this village.

When the last bridge on the game board is put away the game finally ends. The winner is the player with the most masters in the village.

After playing my first games I must confess that I was a little bit disappointed. My first thought was that Die Brücken von Shangrila would be a nice family game, but if you are playing it in this way (without thinking too much) the game is a little dull. On the other hand if you are trying to plan your moves in advance, it becomes very difficult, especially at the beginning when the villages have a lot of connections to other villages. Another weak point is that it is very difficult to see which player is in lead during the game. Due to the very easy rules the game can always been played in between, but I don't think that there is enough fun to play it a lot of times.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany