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Being an avid hobbyist, my gaming group anticipates that I will be the guy to introduce a new game almost one per week. Our little club has a membership of 20 and we can expect around 9 or 10 to meet regularly once per week. My challenge has been to teach the rules of a new game to veteran gamers with more than 20 years experience each. I look for posts to see if I can find teaching aids. Practice will help me improve.
I picked up Carolus Magnus 3 months ago but never had the opportunity to introduce it to our group. Opportunity presented itself when my buddy invited some mutual gateway friends for a barbeque. The ladies excused themselves for an extensive discussion of our shortcomings while Bert, Bruce and I sat down for a first go-round.
I was intrigued by the initial tile placement as we set the game up. Circular random placement that we could see would facilitate merging.Each of us had well machined pawns that are used to mark stake in a territory once captured. A large yellow token represents Charlemagne as he travels each territory. Random coloured cubes representing paladins are placed on each territory.5 discs representing both turn order and Charlemagne movement are provided. The remaining cubes are dumped in the centre of the table and play begins.
Each of us selected a disc and placed it in the centre of the table. Bert, being the lowest number went first.On Berts turn, he placed three paladins from his starting supply either into his court to gain conrol of a colour or onto a territory to help establish control. He recognized the risky strategy of placing on a territory at the outset so opted to lay out yellow and green to establish control.As his second required action he moved Charlegmagne to a territory and placed one of his control markers.Lastly, Bert rolled three dice and picked up three paladin cubes from the supply.
That describes the play turn. The remainder of the game was spent gaining and losing control of each colour and trying to merge adjacent.. The big challenge was establishing enough control of paladins on a territory to wrest control from your opponent, something I did not do early enough. The game is decided when the first person places all 8 of their tokens or when only 4 merged territories remain. Bert triumphed due to clever aggression and timely takeovers.
Overall the game is easy to grasp, easy to teach and has a bit of strategy. I did not feel that the atmosphere supported Charlemagne's conquest. This could be any genre of game from space to land grab warfare to abstract shapes and colours. Interaction is good because you are always trying to one-up your opponent and take over his territory.
This game will join our rotation once or twice because it plays quickly but I don't see it having enough legs to become a favorite. I recommend it to tile game enthusiasts.
This is my first posting. I would appreciate feedback so I can improve. Thanks.
- Last edited Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:57 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sun Jul 18, 2010 2:22 pm
Thanks for your review, Paul.
Carolus Magnus was considered one of the best Euro games when I got into them over ten years ago, but over time, its popularity has unfortunately waned.
But I still think it's a great game regardless the number of players, and full of difficult choices every turn.
Your review has prompted me to pull it out again.
Thanks for the rent-free space in your head. Would have been nice if you'd cleaned it up a bit before you rented it out, though.
I control your mind.
I consider it a short, but unique game. It's never going to be the centerpiece of an evening's gaming, but it's a really neat design. I like the avenues of thinking that it opens up.