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wooden edition

List Price: $58.00
Your Price: $52.99
(9% savings!)
(Worth 5,299 Funagain Points!)

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Ages Players
10+ 2

Designer(s): Robert Peter Moore

Manufacturer(s): Family Games

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Product Description

Imagine yourself living during Medieval Times, the period of history referred to as the Middle Ages. The Roman Empire had recently collapsed and the Renaissance era had not yet begun. Medieval towns cropped up throughout Western Europe. The Cathedral, a place of sanctuary and worship, was the focal point of the city and located in the center of town. Shops and various trading stores surrounded the Cathedral, while residents and shop keepers lived within the stone walls which formed the town boundary. What went on within these walls was dictated by rich and powerful landowners.

In the game of Cathedral, you are such a landowner. The playing board represents the site of the walled city. Two sets of playing pieces symbolize both the buildings and the two opposing forces who battle to gain control by strategically positioning their building pieces back on the board.

In this award-winning game of competition and rivalry, victory goes to the player who is best at blocking and out-maneuvering their opponent.

Box: 10.75 x 10.75 x 3.5 inches

Product Information


  • 1 board
  • 28 buildings
  • 1 Cathedral
  • rules

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.4 in 8 reviews

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Very addictive!
January 11, 2004

This is a great game for adults and children alike, and it's addictive! The rules are simple, but the strategies are endless.

Cathedral appeals to strategy game players (Risk, Twixt, etc.) as well as those of us who are helpless non-strategists! And our 8-year-old enjoyed it as much as the grown-ups did.

We are very pleased with the polystone edition which we chose after reading that the wooden pieces break somewhat easily. At first glance it does seem that the two colors are difficult to distingush, but after you've played once or twice, you get used to it and it's not a problem.

We like this game so much, we are ordering two more sets to give as gifts.


Engaging Game, Beautiful Presentation!
January 04, 2002

Positives: The layout is georgeous. Easy choice for a display game. The rules are basic, with few possibilities of misunderstanding. The variety of strategy and gameplay mimics that of the nigh-incomparable Chess.

Negatives: High price. Not for those younger, penny-watching college students. (Hint: Christmas present, worked for me!)

Verdict: What do you mean, you don't own it yet? Do you mean you keep borrowing a set from a friend? I would splurge and get the wooden or polystone set, both are extremely nice sets. The plastic set should be discarded or hidden until dire, Cathedral-withdrawal related emergencies.

Fun, quick, great two player game for anyone.
January 27, 2000

Five minutes to learn, ten to play, and a blast to play over and over again.

Just when you think you think you're getting the hang of the strategy, your previously vanquished opponent crushes you. Mistakes are devastating, but at least it's over quickly!

Good fast fun
December 22, 2001

The components of this game are wonderful. I bought the wooden version, and it came with a number of the buildings broken, but it was a simple matter to glue them back together.

The game is fast to play, but the player who goes first should win each time. It is important to play games in pairs and switch sides. The game takes 15 minutes or so and it really quite an interesting puzzle. If you play the game where your pieces are hidden from your opponent, the game will have more tension. Without this, you can figure out the end game about five moves early.

This is a great game for non-gamers, and kids should find it fun, too.

by Ryan
Addictive, yet Simple
May 23, 2001

The layout is simple: 100 square spaces on a square board. Each player is given an assortment of pieces (light or dark in color) that range from the modest 1-space tavern to 5-space monsters like the curving tower or the always awkward infirmary. The goal is equally simple: put as many of your pieces on the board and block off space to prevent your opponent from doing the same. Gameplay proceeds with players alternating turns by placing their pieces on the board (the player using the light colored pieces goes first and actually places the cathedral).

The strategy of the game is challenging, but not overly compex. You and your opponent are both after the same thing so it's a just a case of dropping the right pieces on the board in the right spot. One thing I found intriguing about the strategy of game is that the Cathedral itself is usually of little cosequence. While it may be the namesake of the game, the first piece on the board, and the largest piece on the board, aside from that, it's not terribly important. You can remove it if you surround it with your own pieces, but that takes a concerted effort and will probably yield marginal results (besides, it seems somewhat sacrilegious). Perhaps someone has found a way to make the cathedral the key to victory, but I have yet to do it. Overall, I have found that the game is best played in a series (and at approximately 10 minutes each, why not?) and the winner is determinted by the total number of points not placed on the board.

The game has many factors working in its favor. It's fast. It's simple. It's beautiful (speaking of the wood version here). It's always easy to find an opponent--just open the box and dare someone not to play. And it's a true strategy game in that there's really no chance involved. If there's any drawback to the game it's that the strategic options are somewhat limited. Personally, I like games that give the gamer a few more choices in what to move or what to do each turn. Chess is a perfect example of this combination of simplicity and complexity, but then, it's not really fair to compare any other game to chess, is it? And if there were more rules or variety in Catherdral, it would lose the simplicity that makes the game so downright charming in the first place. I guess there's no real solution, but then, it's not really a 'problem'. Take the game for what it is: ten minutes worth of two-player abstract strategy in an eye-cathing format that can be downright addictive. You'll be amazed at how many times you and your friends will play it.

Keeps you on your toes.
March 26, 2001

I actually won my wooden version of this game at a 1980s demo where you had to beat the demonstrator. It's a great game in which tricking your opponent into placing the wrong piece can win you the game. Many games are won by 1 or 2 points, inviting rematches. No sure fire strategy will win the game every time.

by Paul
Go Meets Tetris
December 20, 1999

If you enjoy either Go or Tetris, or both, buy the game.

One strategic interesting quirk - the buildings are NOT identical for each side, but rather mirror image. This does not matter for 95% of your buildings...

Deep strategy, very easy to learn. Excellent.

The opposite of chess?
June 29, 1999

While a comparatively old game on the market, Cathedral is well worth a look. Essentially a two-player game of tile placement, it manages to succeed on a variety of levels.

First, it can be viewed as an introduction to the Oriental classic, Go. The onject of the game is similar - to take possession of as much of the board as possible. Each oddly-shaped building helps wall off a part of the city, denying it to the opponent.

Second, the game is refreshingly simple, yet has deep strategy. There is little to no ambiguity to the rules and can be learned in about five or ten minutes. It is an extremely good introduction to strategy gaming.

Third, its theme is not one of destruction, but of building. Psychologically, I find this much more satisfying than chess or Stratego, which are essentially war games.

Fourth, and finally, the game is quite easy on the eyes. Mattel had released a version of molded plastic a number of years ago, but this hardwood version remains far superior to its cousin. This is the sort of game one can leave on the coffee table to impress guests. The interplay of light and dark wood pieces always makes for an intriguing and beautiful medieval cityscape.

Other Resources for Cathedral:

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