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English language edition of Patrizier
List Price: $35.00
Your Price: $31.50
(Worth 3,150 Funagain Points!)
from 1 customer review
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Throughout the Middle Ages, wealthy and influential men and women across Italy wished to prove their importance. They desired a solid, visible symbol of their power and prosperity. So, they built magnificent tower-like buildings: the more influential the family, the taller the towers! But the competition never let up, and if a family should ever lose influence, newer, taller towers quickly appeared.
As a master builder of these "Patrician Towers", you stand ready to profit from the vanity of these patrician families. You will build their towers, adding floor after floor. And when the towers are complete, you will be there to take the credit!
In Patrician, players compete to build the tallest towers in cities across Italy. You must shrewdly accept the building orders of the patrician families to position yourself in the right place at the right time. Play your cards right, and your name will be famous among the rich and powerful!
- 149 Wooden Tower Pieces
- 55 Building Cards
- Double-Sided Game Board
- 20 Prestige Tokens
Average Rating: 4 in 1 review
My first reaction to Patrician (Mayfair, 2007 – Michael Schacht) was one of annoyance. The boring cover, drab woman included, screamed that this was yet another game about the Middle Ages. COME ON NOW! Is there a testing group somewhere that hears about a space/cowboy/supermarket theme for a game, and then unilaterally decides to change it to the Middle Ages? Show some diversity, folks!
Okay, rant out of the way – I have to say I wasn’t too excited about Patrician, until I played it once. Then, I suddenly realized that this was an exceptionally fun little tower building game. It was simple, enjoyable, and had a good amount of interaction. I like pretty much any game that involves physically building towers, and Patrician was a terrific mixture of lightness and strategy. The theme is certainly drab, carried on into the artwork, but game play is simple enough that I think this might be a mild hit amongst those looking for a meatier “filler”.
The board is double-sided, but one side is only used in a five-player game (there are ten cities on it rather than nine). Each player is given a certain amount of tower pieces (amount determined by the number of players), and a deck of cards is shuffled – with some marked cards shuffled and three dealt to each player. One card is drawn and placed face up next to each of the cities on the board. Each city also has two point tokens placed next to it: “5” and “2”, “7” and “4”, or “9” and “6”. One player is chosen to go first, with play proceeding clockwise around the table.
A player’s turn is very simple, as they play a card and then draw a card. Each card has two items on it: a city crest that matches one of the cities on the board (some cards have a double crest), a picture of one of three Patricians (some pictures are doubled), and /or a special symbol. When a player plays the card, they must place one floor per city crest in the matching city. Each city has two areas for towers, and a player can place their floors in either or both. If other tower pieces are already there, then the player places their floors on top of the ones there. Each area must have one floor, but there is no other limit – other than the higher point token of that city. The total number of city crests equals this number – meaning that is the maximum number of floors allowed in that city.
After placing the floors, if the player has used a card that shows a tower piece, they may move the top floor in one OTHER city to the other tower location in that city. Either way, the player places the card that they have played face up in a pile in front of them and draws the card at the city in which they built. If the city’s face-up card shows a symbol with a question mark, the player may instead choose any face up card on the table. The card taken is then replaced, and it is the next player’s turn.
If a player plays the last floor of a city, then that city is immediately scored. The player with the most floors in the tower that is taller takes the point token that is more valuable; the player with the most floors in the smaller tower takes the other point token. If players are tied for floors in a tower, the player involved in the tie whose piece is higher in the tower wins the token. That city no longer has a card placed in front of it.
The game continues until all cards are played, at which point any remaining towns are scored. Players then reveal all the cards in their pile and sort out any patrician portraits that they have. For each set of three of the same portrait, the player scores six points, which is added to all the point tokens they received during the game. The player with the most points is the winner!
Some comments on the game…
- Components: Well, I think I’ve stated how much I dislike the
pasted on theme, and the artwork is tired and tedious. The components
inside the box are pretty good – each of the wooden floors is fairly
chunky and they stack well. Patrician takes the route of including
different amounts of pieces for each color; so a two player game must
be black and white, red being used in a three player game, etc.
Normally, this annoys me, but in this case a two-player game uses
almost double the pieces – and they are larger, so it makes sense.
The cards are small, but good quality, and each city is distinguished
by a different crest symbol and color. Each card also has a Roman
numeral on it to show the number of floors each city has, but it’s a
pain to read – we simply used the scoring tokens instead. Everything
fits easily into a plastic insert that was obviously designed for a
different game in a medium-sized box.
- Rules: There are only four pages of color rules with illustrations
and examples, and the game is remarkably simple to teach. I’m usually
put off by the medieval nonsense included in rules of this type, but
the game is abstract enough and easy enough to catch quickly. I can
explain it in about five minutes, although some of the strategy may be
a bit subtle for new players.
- Strategy: The game seems simple – attempt to get “majorities” in
the large towers of different cities and groups of Patricians.
However, both are difficult to do simultaneously. One has to decide
whether or not they will try to quickly take the smaller cities, which
score fairly early in the game, or the larger cities, which often hold
out to the end. Double crest cards are great, but they have no
special abilities or portraits on them. This all sounds a bit more
complex than it is – you simply have to decide what your main goal is.
- Tactics: After that, the game flows with a nice, interesting
rhythm. A player wants to be the LAST player to place floors in a
city; but they have to play something, so there’s a bit of a touch and
go for the first several turns. Players also play cards based on what
card they want to pick up. If a city has a card that allows a player
to take any card on the board, you can expect a lot of play at that
city early on. The special maneuver that switches floors in a city
isn’t used that often, but it can change something drastically
directly before scoring, so players are always on their toes,
watching. Often two players will compete for different cities, but
it’s impossible to get them all – the winner of ties in towers will
often win the game. The game has a really quick feel, as players are
making choices rapidly, and watching every card other players pick up.
It’s a perfect information game, except for the three initial cards;
so players can plan ahead and usually know if they have the
opportunity to win a city or not.
- Players and Time: The box says fifty minutes, but most games can
be finished in just over half an hour, if players move quickly. It’s
one of the few games that seems to play equally well with all numbers
of players, although I’m quite fond of the three-player game.
- Fun Factor: The game has the enjoyable aspect of building towers
– something fun regardless of the mechanics. Fortunately, this isn’t
the only part of the game – a player must learn when to place the
sections and place in order to get the cards that are at each city.
There are only a few things that matter – getting portraits and
majorities (but they work well together) and every card counts.
I suppose that Patrician is just another medieval-themed area control game. And, without the tower pieces, I might have a hard time getting it played. But, hooking people with the wooden floors, I can entice people into a very fun, quick game that simply has an unfortunate theme. Regardless, I think Patrician will be one of the my most played games of 2007. It’s not simply because the game is simple to teach and quick to play. Instead, it’s a mixture of tower building, area control, and getting the right card at the right time. A satisfying game is Patrician.
“Real men play board games”