Knights of Charlemagne

Knights of Charlemagne, yet another game by the amazingly prolific Reiner Knizia, is what one might call a Major FUN Award-winning strategic card game. One might call it that, because:

1) it feels very much like a strategy game, played between 2-4 players, where people hope to outbid each other for high-scoring resources.

B) it is played with cards – one deck of well-made, easily shuffled playing cards, and another deck of pleasingly thick, cardboard resource cards.

And III) it received a Major FUN Thinking Games award.

There are 50 “Knights” playing cards – five suits (colors), each suit consisting of two sets of cards numbered from 1 to 5. Then there are 21 of those pleasingly thick resource tiles. Five of them are called “Manors,” five “Cities,” 10 more “Treasures,” and one “bonus” tile. The tiles are arranged in columns. Some tiles are worth more than others. To win a tile, you have to have invested more cards than your opponent’s.

There are complications, o, there are complications. There are five different colors of Knight cards, don’t you know, and the City Tiles are won by the player who has bid more knights of the same color, whereas the Manor cards the player who has invested more knights of the same rank. And yet more complications relating to the bonus card. Not complex complications, mind you, but complications of the intrigue-generating kind.

The game doesn’t take long to teach (especially if the teacher has already played it), and less than a half hour to play – a very focused, strategically dense, and yet refreshingly light-hearted half hour.

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