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Subject: Medieval - An Odd Duck of A Game rss

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Wendell
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Medieval is an odd game. It's a wargame, but no hexes or even military units in sight - and you don't start with the whole map in play. It uses cards both for the map, and for powers and events - but it is not a card-driven game in the classic "We the People" sense. For a wargame, it's quite abstract. And some of the mechanics are unique.

So what is it? It's set in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East in the 13th Century. Players are in an abstract role - you don't control one given country or group of countries ("powers" in this game). Instead, players gain control of countries by drawing that power's card from the deck; alternatively, you can gain control by conquering all of a country's provinces and stealing the card from an opponent.

The Map

But not all the countries are in play. The map is composed of 19 cards, only 8 of which are in play at the start of the game. Drawing from the map deck to add to the playable area is an option the players may choose during their turn. Typically you will want to do so if you hold a power in your hand whose map-card hasn't appeared - because until that map card is in play, your power either can't appear at all (if NONE of its areas are on the map yet), or won't get credit for all of its areas (provinces). Each province has a value ranging from one to five (rich spaces like eastern England or Hungary), which determines both the province's income and how strongly it defends.



The Cards

The other deck is full of powers and various events, some random (like Disaster or Change Ruler), others that you can direct against opponents (like Civil War).

Players can gain control of other areas by having one of your controlled powers attack it. This is very abstract - you trace a line from the attacking power thru areas you control (note the game does NOT distinguish among a player's controlled areas) or thru areas controlled by others who grant you access, or via sea (which can allow naval interception). Combat is simple - compare strengths of the attacking power (using its military modifier), the defending area (defense value of the area). Both sides use their leader's rating, and both sides can buy militia at a cost of one florin per die roll modifier, both decided in secret and revealed simultaneously. Both sides roll one dice (d6), add all their modifiers, and high value wins.

There are options other than attacking. You'll want to collect income occasionally - because going into battle with only a few florins against a determined opponent with a huge pile of cash is going to be a losing proposition.

Powers are quite varied, both in military and naval capability, and in religion. Religion (Catholic, Orthodox, Muslim, and Pagan) is quite important. Lots of excommunication among Catholics. Some countries get bonuses against certain other religions. Pope cards allow players to call Crusades which might earn some gold (the player CALLING the Crusade will make a few florins for sure), or might let your power return to the Pope's good graces after being excommunicated earlier for some offense.



Here Come the Mongols

Perhaps the most interesting mechanic in Medieval is the role of the Mongols. They are drawn from the deck, and attack the easternmost edge of the map (drawing player's choice if there is a choice). The Mongols attack that map card (a powerful attack). And if the Mongols succeed, that part of the map is removed from the game, never to return. So if you have valuable provinces on eastern edge maps, you are vulnerable to losing them all to the Mongols - and that's an incentive to draw map cards if some easterly maps are yet to be played.

Winning

The game ends at an undetermined time after the last Mongol card is drawn; the next time a Power card is drawn after the last Mongol comes out, game ends immediately. If no Power card is left, finish the deck.

Winning is simple. Count the value of the provinces you control on the map, and give yourself an extra VP per multi-province country that you completely control. Most points win. But remember, all those eastern provinces munched by the Mongols don't count, making countries like England and France much more valuable than rich but vulnerable eastern provinces like Seljuks of Rum...

Comment

Medieval is as I said a rather odd game. It's abstract - you aren't playing Spain or Hungary or the Almoravids - you are just plain Joe, with a hodge-podge collection of powers under your sway. Battle comes down really to economic power. The events are sometimes a pain. There are not enough control markers (my biggest gripe).

But it is an interesting game that I enjoy, a different take on a medieval wargame at the strategic (and abstracted) level.
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David G. Cox Esq.
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And it is even better to play when using the enlarged map cards available as a file here on the BGG - the map cards, as they come with the game, are just a touch too small for me.
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Joel Tamburo
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And the Living Rules are pretty much a necessity to play the game.
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Richard Berg
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One of my more interesting designs . . . not much like it elsewhere. And we did shortchange folks on info counters . . .and the whole thign should have been bigger; sorry. It is also one of the few games of mine that I will play . . .especially with a nasty group of players. The nice graphics by Craig Grando help a lot . . .

Thanx for the view of the game . . .

RHB

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Wendell
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BROG wrote:
One of my more interesting designs . . . not much like it elsewhere. And we did shortchange folks on info counters . . .and the whole thign should have been bigger; sorry. It is also one of the few games of mine that I will play . . .especially with a nasty group of players. The nice graphics by Craig Grando help a lot . . .

Thanx for the view of the game . . .

RHB



I think the graphics (map, cards) are very attractive. Personally, the size of the map doesn't bother me.

It is a fun game, thanks for designing it!
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Scott Pizio
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wifwendell wrote:

Comment

Medieval is as I said a rather odd game. It's abstract - you aren't playing Spain or Hungary or the Almoravids - you are just plain Joe, with a hodge-podge collection of powers under your sway. Battle comes down really to economic power. The events are sometimes a pain. There are not enough control markers (my biggest gripe).


How would you compare this aspect of the game to Imperial?
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Wendell
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spizio wrote:
wifwendell wrote:

Comment

Medieval is as I said a rather odd game. It's abstract - you aren't playing Spain or Hungary or the Almoravids - you are just plain Joe, with a hodge-podge collection of powers under your sway. Battle comes down really to economic power. The events are sometimes a pain. There are not enough control markers (my biggest gripe).


How would you compare this aspect of the game to Imperial?


It's not the same really - there aren't bonds and investors and that sort of thing in Medieval. Economic power in Medieval is simply based on the wealth of the provinces you control, which can translate into power in combat IF you have taken the necessary time to collect income.
 
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Scott Pizio
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Does control of provinces have the same feel as Imperial? Do you feel that there are exchanges of control as often or less so?

I bought Medieval several years ago and have never played it. I have played Imperial several times and enjoy it quite a lot.
 
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Wendell
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spizio wrote:
Does control of provinces have the same feel as Imperial? Do you feel that there are exchanges of control as often or less so?

I bought Medieval several years ago and have never played it. I have played Imperial several times and enjoy it quite a lot.


I own Imperial but I haven't yet played it so I can't compare it to that. Some provinces in Medieval change hands quite often. Hungary comes to mind - it's valuable (5) and only has one province, so when you take it you get the Power card for Hungary as well.
 
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Robert Leonhard
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Glad to see Richard's comment in there as the designer. And I'm proud to say that at a WBC some years ago, I BEAT RHB and the other players in a game of Medieval. Very fun game, especially when you have a group of cut-throat players. The most fun part is watching each player use/misuse/abuse the office of pope.
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nathan hayden
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BROG wrote:
It is also one of the few games of mine that I will play . . .

RHB



I love this quote.
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Xavier Salvador

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wifwendell wrote:

It's abstract - you aren't playing Spain ...

It is indeed difficult to play Spain in the 13th century... as it did not yet exist as a country.

It is a pity the game, by simplifying history, loses some great stories of the Western Mediterranean.
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