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Kardinal & König
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Kardinal & König

original German edition of Web of Power / China

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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 50-60 minutes 3-5

Designer(s): Michael Schacht

Manufacturer(s): Goldsieber

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Product Description

Europe, the center of power in the 12th century, is the stage for political intrigue. Clerical orders vie to control that power by influencing the cardinals and kings who hold the power. By building cloisters in the courts of kings, the orders try to increase their influence. Each order plots in the ecclesiastic and secular areas to weave a web of power to control the cardinals and kings of Europe.

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Family Strategy Game Nominee, 2006
International Gamers Awards
Best Strategy Game Nominee, 2001
Games Magazine Awards
Best Family Strategy Game, 2001
Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 2000
Deutscher Spiele Preis
7th place, 2000

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Michael Schacht

  • Manufacturer(s): Goldsieber

  • Artist(s): Franz Vohwinkel

  • Year: 2000

  • Players: 3 - 5

  • Time: 50 - 60 minutes

  • Ages: 12 and up

  • Est. time to learn: 20-30 minutes

  • Weight: 922 grams

  • Language Requirements: An English translation of the rules is provided. Game components are language-independent.


  • 1 gameboard
  • 5 scoring markers
  • 1 location marker
  • 40 advisors
  • 100 cloisters
  • 55 country cards
  • 1 rule booklet

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.8 in 20 reviews

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by Ben
Most underestimated game in the world
August 18, 2003

Although very different from Chess and Checkers this game has the same sort of abstract, deep gameplaying characteristics. Since there are not many games like that which play with 3 or more players this is an interesting game. There are many finesses in this game that only come out after a couple of games which make that the game becomes more fun the more you play it, it also means that there is no such thing as 'beginners luck' in this game. The more experienced you get with the game the better you will score.

There is also an extension to this game called 'The Vatican', it is not for sale because it exists of only one extra board, you can download it for free and print it out on plain paper.

The Elegance of Control
October 29, 2002

In less than an hour, players will struggle for control for Middle Ages Europe. A set of simple rules propel players into a stunning variety of situations. Definitely not detailed but certainly dynamic. The bottom line of Web of Power is balance. While perhaps not the boisterious of games, Web packs alot of tension into a small space. A compelling basic board with simple and understandable pieces, the game creates a light speed absract version of Risk. It is a political game in its very essence. This is an ideal game for passing the casual gamer into the world of 'German' games. Easy to explain, difficult to master, Web of Power is a game I will never tire of. The fastest of quick dense modern strategy games.

by Adam
Get caught in the web
May 07, 2002

I had to come to the defence of one of our group's favourite games. The previous few reviews stated that the game was abstract, lacking in strategy and has a short shelf life. Not true.

A game is not abstract because of a flimsy theme. WoP is yet another straightforward strategy game with a dubious theme. As is El Grande, Medieval Merchant, et al. If anthing, all German game themes are abstract - but not the game itself.

Considering a game is usually over in 40 minutes, there are numerous strategies you can pursue to win. I have seen players win without placing a councillor and I have seen players leap from last to first purely on scoring all their councillors. If you are not systematic you do not win.

As for shelf life, our group has played this for over a year and it is rare that WoP does not get a run each meeting. It is so quick, enjoyable and fun (dry? get out of here) that it makes the perfect filler.

Considerations should also be given to the clever scoring system, relatively low cost of the game and the ability of new players to get into the game easily and quickly.

A very good game that caught our attentions immediately and has kept it.

Short, strategic, and excellent for 3 players
January 14, 2001

This game is excellent because it does several things well: the rules are quick to explain, the game is quick to play, and there is a good amount of strategy and a good amount of luck. But, best of all, it works well for 3 players, a number that most games don't scale to.

Lots of Strategy - Fast-paced - Great Game!
July 25, 2000

Games like WEB OF POWER are rare. Challenging, full of tough decisions, but yet playable with 5 people in well under one hour.

Card management, board analysis and strategic planning are all important in this one. Amazingly, though, there is no clutter--the game system is clean (squeaky clean!).

Everyone in our Eurogaming circle who has played this game loves this one. A 5-star game.

quite fun and challenging
August 31, 2003

One reviewer, in two seperate reviews no less, has made claims of limited replay value. Web has become a staple in our gaming group over the past year. In all since its publication I've likely played Web about 30 times. I've also played Web online more than a few times. If I were to base my review on my playings against a computer, it would likely be lower. However, when played against actual people, the game is quite fun and challenging.

I think Web is a game you get or don't. The limited card choices really stump some people. Others see it as part of the challenge of the game. The game sometimes forces you to make lemonaid out of a hand of lemons. However, don't be misled by the 3-card hand. There is a choice when drawing back up to 3-cards. Redraws are made from one of two face up cards (which is immediately replaced after each draw), or the face down draw pile. This limits, to a significant extent, the luck of the draw.

Web is a game of area control. You can control areas in three ways each of which is scores differently. It is also a game of expansion, and protecting current areas of control, with the game mechanics (i.e. 3 card hand) sometimes forcing you to perform some strange optimizations. A medium depth multiplayer game that plays in 40 minutes. A definate winner in my book, and one that stands up well against all but the best Euros.

Caught in the Web
June 09, 2003

With simple rules and a number of strategic options, Web of Power is an excellent strategy game. As others have noted, it doesn't rank up there with Taj Mahal or Puerto Rico, but it is a great game in its own right.

And our group found that it begs repeated playings.

The components are of fine quality. I'm glad that the Rio Grande Games edition didn't translate and modernize the names on the gameboard and cards; the medieval names add to the flavor of the game.

Web of Power is a great introduction for for those entering the strategic game genre, and a good challenge for veteran gamers as well.

Highly recommended.

by Elyah
Has Stood The Test Of Time
June 08, 2003

The review below was published here a couple of years ago, under the Reviewer name of Elyah. The review below is the same as the original, but now under my actual name. At the end of this review I will give you an update.

I have played the game twice, and find that I really enjoyed it. Thus, for enjoyment I give it a five. However, for strategic depth I give it a 3. Average: 4 stars!

Although the theme is thin, it does work, and separates the game from the purely abstract. It is not going to be your main feature on a game night, but as a preliminary game, it is solid. There are definite strategic options, and far more that you want to do than you can do each turn--making for gut-wrenching decisions.

I find, however, that its greatest value is as an introductory strategy game. This game is a fine introduction (for the uninitiated) to the world of strategy gaming. It's easy to teach, has colorful components, doesn't require a lot of set-up, and can be played in 30-45 minutes.

While not having the strategic depth of Euphrat & Tigris, Settlers, or San Marco, it still offers enough strategic choices to be a great 'second-tier' game. I will definitely play it again.

Updated (2003)Review: I still give the game a 4, but in the time since the 'Elyah' review, I have played scores of German games - and thus have more German games with which to compare WoP. Amazingly, it still stands as a top level game! A recent play of WoP made me realize how good a game this really is. In fact, I would now place it at the top of my second tier of games. My first tier would be headed by Euphrat & Tigris, followed by Settlers, Puerto Rico, Amun-Re, Wallenstein, Mare Nostrum, and Piratenbucht.

In the second tier I would have Web of Power standing alongside Domaine, Citadels, New England, and Battle Cry (among a few others) - good company. Numerous games have slipped during these two years, but WoP still stands tall.

Good, but some flaws. Still, recommended.
April 28, 2001

This is a good game, which requires careful strategic decisions and thought. You can't do everything you want to do, so you need to decide what your best option would be, and you will frequently wind up regretting your decision! The scoring system of an initial single way of scoring points followed by a second scoring having three ways to score requires careful planning and allocation of your resources. This game works best with three players using the given rules. With more than three, and especially so with five, it is too easy for a player to shut other players out with regard to the advisors in an area--a house rule that we have used limits the placement of advisors to a single advisor per turn with five players.

by Steve K
Fast-paced, engaging, devilish
February 18, 2001

This is one of those nasty little games that is full of excruciating decisions based on not being able to go in all of the directions you want to on one turn... so many things to do, so few opportunities. The fact that every time you play this game, you're sure you've found that winning strategy--which you probably will end up changing by the next game--makes Web of Power a constant challenge.

Frustrating games like this are fun, only if they are short enough to allow for immediate replay, so you can 'do it right next time.' Web of Power is quick and does beg repeated plays. There really isn't enough going on here to give you that huge surge of omnipotence that, say, winning a game of Settlers or El Grande can give you, but it still satisfies and it will get many trips to our gaming group's table. By the way, my best strategy to date has been to distract my opponents with movie talk about the latest action flick, while casually placing my third cloister in a row, with the ends open on either side. Works like a charm for me, but I can't recommend this strategy for everyone. Maybe telling raunchy jokes will work better with your game group.

by Elyah
Good Introductory Strategy Game
January 26, 2001

I have played the game twice, and find that I really enjoyed it. Thus, for enjoyment I give it a five. However, for strategic depth I give it a 3. Average: 4 stars!

Although the theme is thin, it does work, and separates the game from the purely abstract. It is not going to be your main feature on a game night, but as a preliminary game, it is solid. There are definite strategic options, and far more that you want to do than you can do each turn--making for gut-wrenching decisions.

I find, however, that its greatest value is as an introductory strategy game. This game is a fine introduction (for the uninitiated) to the world of strategy gaming. It's easy to teach, has colorful components, doesn't require a lot of set-up, and can be played in 30-45 minutes.

While not having the strategic depth of Euphrat & Tigris, Settlers, or San Marco, it still offers enough strategic choices to be a great 'second-tier' game. I will definitely play it again.

Modest complexity, great fun
May 07, 2000

(Note: I game mostly with my family (wife and 12 and 7 yr old children). My review is written from that perspective.)

Web of Power combines four elements that are important to my family:

  1. relatively short play length,
  2. modest complexity,
  3. attractive components, and
  4. fun.

The theme of the game is competition between clerical orders for influence in the countries of 12th Century Europe. The components (map, cards, and wooden markers) are handsome and well integrated with the theme.

The basic play mechanism is placement of 'cloisters' (little wooden houses) on sites along a road network spreading across the various countries, and placement of 'advisers' (little wooden cylinders) in the royal courts of the various countries. The countries in which you can place your pieces is governed by the cards in your hand and, to a lesser extent, by what has previously been played in that country. The placement rules take a bit of explaining but should be understandable (and easily remembered) by older (brighter, more game-savvy) children.

What makes the game interesting is the scoring system. There are two rounds of scoring, which are triggered by exhaustion of the card deck:

  • The first, or 'interim' scoring round only scores for the number of cloisters in each country. The person with the most scores a point for each cloister in the country (belonging to any player). Successive runners-up receive a number of points equal to the cloisters owned by the person just above them in running (e.g., blue has the most cloisters with 4, red has 3, yellow has 2--blue scores 9, red scores 4, yellow scores 3). What this means is that placement of a cloister affects your own score as well as that of everyone else who has cloisters in the country. This is a fun and interesting strategic consideration.
  • The final scoring round scores majority of cloisters (as described above), but it also has two other types of scoring. The simpler is scoring for 'cloister chains.' Every player gets points for having continous, unbroken chains of cloisters on the road network. To score, a chain must be 4 or more cloisters long. This invites strategic placement of cloisters on the road net to extend your own chains and break others'. This is similar to the palace placement system in Taj Mahal, but simpler.

    The last type of scoring involves the 'advisors.' The map has a series of 15 numbered boxes indicating possible alliances between 'adjacent' countries (e.g., England is 'adjacent' by sea to Frankreich). Each of these possible pairings is scored separately. For each pairing an alliance exists if the same player has the greatest number of advisors in each of the two kingdoms. If there is an alliance, the predominant player gets points for all advisors (of all players) in each of the two allied countries. This can pay off big in larger countries where predominance in advisors is contested. Players only have 8 advisors to place, so the choice of where to attempt to win alliances is a difficult one. My daughter won our first game in large part due to her well-placed advisers.

The scoring rules are what make the game strategically interesting. They may be a tad complex for younger children (under 12), or for folks who are new to 'family strategy' games of this type, but for experienced family gamers, they're just right.

Web of Power is relatively quick, modestly complex, strategically interesting and fun.

Excellent game, requires some thought but plays quick!
April 25, 2000

I've played it twice now and it grew on me quite a bit during the second playing. Basically a tile laying game it also borrows a little from El Grande and perhaps even a bit from Medieval Merchant.

There are plenty of tough decisions to make, but the game moves quickly and finishes under an hour easily.

One of the better games I was introduced to at the Gathering.

I could not give it 4 stars...
April 20, 2002

There truly are some interesting things to think about when it comes to the interaction between cloisters and advisors in each section. One must balance the definite short term gains of placing cloisters as opposed to the sometimes risky long term benefit of placing advisors. At the same time, one must contemplate the benefits of placing 2 peices in a sometimes random place as opposed to 1 piece in a more strategic region. With that said, I think Web of Power loses much of it's charm for an experienced gamer at around 5 games. While it is a fun, somewhat quick, filler game, it does not quite deserve 4 stars and most definitely does not deserve 5. Since there are so many 5 star games out there, why buy this one?

Although this can be a nice introductory strategy game to new players, I would suggest starting with the more simple Cartagena and then moving on to Carcassonne. Carcassonne has about the same amount of rules (probably less), plays out in nearly the same amount of time, works with 2 players, and is a much better game.

Perhaps this one is overawarded
June 23, 2001

When this game first came out, everyone was raving about it. I tried it and thought that while it was a decent game, and a good price to boot, it certainly wasn't an all-time classic that everyone should run out and buy. This game is well tested and balanced, but I just couldn't see this game being that fun. But I bit my tongue to see what would happen over the course of a year. I think my suspicions were correct. There is not a lot to this game, which is essentially a rather dry abstract game. For an abstract game, it's actually quite clever, but certainly not as involving as [page scan/se=0874/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Tigris & Euphrates, nor as fun as [page scan/se=0630/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Thru The Desert (which I HIGHLY recommend).

This game was overhyped, and seems never to be mentioned anymore, nor do I see it being mentioned in game sessions very often. Very short shelf life is a bad thing in my opinion. So if you want yet another map-of-Europe board game, and a simple, multiplayer, abstract game, this game actually is pretty good for the price. But it has almost no theme, and there are certainly many other games worth buying first.

Feel free to click on my name and see what games I have reviewed to see what I have given 4 or 5 stars to. Maybe give those a shot, if you like the type of games I do. But if you do like the same games as me, you'll probably want to pass on this one.

Good short game.
September 06, 2000

Takes less than an hour to play with some easy to get to grips with strategy. Rules are simple and easy to explain and there aren't any obscure quirks so is easy to pick up and quite fun to play.

Play is clockwise placing counters by using cards and replacing used cards. You can pick up some face cards or off the top of the deck. However you can't have many cards in your hand so options are very limited. Also it seems to be quite advantageous to be one of the first two to play because there isn't a complete rotation in the first scoring phase i.e. the first two might have 7 turns while the rest only have 6 turns.

There are three different methods of scoring, each of which is semi-independent. An all round effort is likely to win rather than pursuing one particular course of action.

All in all a good light game to play and very suitable for family and younger players.

A nice family or opener game.
July 23, 2000

I enjoyed Web of Power but it seemed a little more random than strategic to me. It's a card-driven game but there is an element that allows for some more freedom of placement. Each card (except France) has two territories for placement. In addition, two identical cards can be used to place a piece anywhere on the board.

This game playes very quick and is a nice opener or closer game. It would also be a nice family game as it does teach the fundamentals of strategy in a game that plays in less than an hour.

Constrained choices, limited depth
August 20, 2003

I played a couple times in person then about 15 online before finally passing judgement. This game is quite simply dull. You're choices are determined by your three cards and further constrained by who's already moved in an area (even worse if you have to open a new area). Experienced players will certainly beat new players, but there's just not that much depth or choice in this game. It's perhaps useful as an introduction to german-style gaming, but I'd easily introduce Carcassone or Settlers before introducing Web of Power.

Hunt for the online game first and play a few times. If you like it, buy the real version. Or if you're like me, you'll shake your head and realize the game simply doesn't have my replay value.

Very short replayability
October 31, 2002

I played this once at a friends, then many times online trying to see what the big deal was.

The game has some very limited options for card play. He who opens a new region for play is generally screwed because he can only play one card, where those than follow can play twice. Remember the old connect the dots, mark the squares you fill in, pen and paper game? Just like that game, you often get into a position where you're trying to NOT be the one to open a region, and it's often the card draw that dictates it.

There are a few ways to score, but realistically the cloister chain is irrelevant. It's easy to spot, thus easy to stop, and even if you complete it the points from chains are minimal compared to other scoring opportunities.

I suggest finding the game online, playing 5-10 times, and saving yourself the cost of buying the board game.

very good first few times, bad after that
March 07, 2002

I agree with an earlier review stating that the game is over hypped. The first three times I played this, I would give it 4 stars. After playing the game 3 times, I give it 2 stars. The strategy really pales after a few plays. I will not repeat the mechanics since they have been described already.

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