Gameday First Play – Medieval Academy
I like drafting and hand management…
..this has both!
“Squires, welcome to Medieval Academy, the place where you’ll be trained to become a knight. You’ll have to master the arts of Jousts and Tournaments, complete dangerous Quests, and polish your Education. You’ll also have to serve the king, and show that you have a sense of Charity and Gallantry. Only one of you will be knighted by King Arthur, so it’s time to show what you’re capable of.” —Father Advevan Nicolus Emilius, chairman of the Medieval Academy.
Those of you that went to Essen this year will know about Hall 4… This was an extra hall added on from 2013 and it wasn’t as big, or impressive as the other halls. You tend to gloss over most of the stuff here, which was a mistake.
In this game you’ll draft 5 cards and play 4 of them in turn order to influence certain tracks to score point and use abilities. The cards themselves are numbered 2-5 and match the colour and symbol of the track you are influencing.
When I first heard of this game I thought “Looks nice, good idea but not really very tactical”. But when you play it you see the depth…
For starters, when drafting cards the higher number isn’t always the best. A 4 on one track might be worth less to you than 2 on another, it changes card to card, turn to turn, game to game.
Then when you play them you have options. When you play a card you move up that number of spaces on that track… But if someone moves on top of you they are considered ‘in front’ so delaying certain cards to not give away what you have is a good idea.
Moving later on a track also means you’ll have more chance of being on top at the end of a round.
So what are these tracks?
The 7 tracks each do something different, score at different times and reset (Shuffle back to space 0, keeping the current order) at different times too. Each track represents an ability the Squire needs to train in.
Gallantry – The Pink board, each round after cards are played but before boards are scored, second place can move 2 spaces on any other board then first place can move up 3. This resets in the third round.
Jousts/Tournaments – The Blue board, scores each round with 3 points going to first place and 2 points going to second. This resets in the third round.
Education – The Brown Board, scores each round with last place getting -3 points and second last gets -2. This resets in the third round.
Kings Service – The Dark Blue board, scores in the third and sixth round with 6 and 12 points scored if you make it to certain points around the board. This resets in the third round.
Charity – The Grey board, scores in the sixth round with last place getting -10 points and second last gets -5.
Quests – The Red board, scores in the sixth round with first place getting 17 points, second 10 and third 4.
Some others will give +/- points for 3rd place in a game with 4 or more players but we played this with 3, twice 🙂
After 6 rounds you add up points, most wins.
Points come in the form of tokens, and there is a lot of them! This was the first time the game was played so they were mixed together. On the second play I sorted them into piles so they were easier to find.
Each board has its own scoring tokens and you need to take the right ones.
Why? Well on the other side of the boards is an ‘advanced’ version. They modify the way scoring works for each board and it adds an interesting twist and a bit of variety.
Some involved swapping tokens with another player of a certain value so you need to take the right token for the right purpose.
I enjoyed this one. The first game I did really bad and came last by a long way. In the second game I won, mostly thanks to the alternate version of the King.
Gallantry is pretty powerful and in the second game I never saw a Pink card as my opponents picked up how useful it is moving extra on certain tracks after everyone has played cards.
It’s a fun game with simple game play but a fair bit a depth, one I may pick up in the future.