Review: Era Medieval Age – building a true city

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The main building of any medieval town was not a castle, tavern or mill. The most important was the wall that was supposed to protect its inhabitants. There will be archers and explorers on top o fit, looking out for danger. Only then can the attention of builders focus on all those seemingly important buildings inside.

The game of building a medieval town like this was designed by . He named it and entrusted its production to , but in Europe it is published by strategy-renowned . However, takes care of distribution across the continent.

The box is surprisingly large, although the graphics itself on the lid may seem interesting you. This may eventually be an unnecessary reason, why many players pass box on the store shelves. Inside, players will encounter a flood of various buildings, gray walls, but also plastic pips and a pile of dice. All components will be prepared nearby, as they will need most later.

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But players must first receive one board dotted with a pile of small holes. They form a building plot of the entire city. Each participant hides this area behind his screen and sets it with a set of six pegs to indicate the status of their materials (besides goods, stone, wood, they also have food in stock). The other two counters are used to follow the culture level and the number of disasters. Everybody also gets a set of dice (three yellow laborers and one nobleman) and fills their parcel with starting buildings (house, farm, wall).

In each round, players first roll a set of their dice. These results can be rerolled, but ultimately they must keep the icons. Any skull, that falls during a roll or another attempt must go aside, cannot be changed and is not good news.

However, since the cubes on each side contain more small symbols, some of the raw materials (even with skull) can be obtained from most of them. Players read the symbols and mark their profits on the scales. But each die is a castle inhabitant, that needs to be fed. So in the next stage players have to spend as many food points as they have dice in their possession. If he does not, he must move the pin one space forward on the disaster scale. Depending on the number of skulls rolled, there is some unpleasant surprise for players. For example, they will have to sacrifice resources or remove a building.

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But the foundation of the success of each castle will ultimately be just those buildings. Players spend their resources on raising these buildings. Their mutual positions are important in evaluating some of the game effects, but otherwise participants have a surprising freedom as how to place them. But in order to build at all, they need a hammer symbol in addition to a sufficient supply of wood or stones.

Some buildings give players different advantages. Generally, however, after the end of each round, the next one is immediately followed by a new roll of dice. Once the prescribed number of buildings in the supply runs out, the game is over and it is time to score. These, of course, are brought by individual buildings, but also the scale of culture and the walled area. Players will deduct points for disasters. Whoever has the highest sum is the winner and the owner of the best castle.

Era: Medieval Age is a game, where the center of the whole game is building. Without it, you wouldn’t have much to do. And this physicality is also the most attractive game for younger players, who will constantly want to build new cities and play again. Moreover, the game is not difficult, so children around eight years will learn it without much trouble. The game itself does not contain any text in a foreign language, only tables with consequences.

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It is clear from the previous paragraph, that the progress is not intended to occupy your brain planning capacities. Instead, you’ll enjoy trying your best to compare your tactical capabilities. So Era is a great game for families, who don’t have much experience, but most of all it is playable across generations, which makes it a really great companion.

No buildings in the game would work as cardboard would be enough to play. The game could actually work like a classic roll and write game, just with pen and paper. Instead, the production company chose a different approach. You get the dice, but instead of a pencil, you get building miniatures. Unique. Maybe an unnecessarily expensive but definitely appealing concept.

It is clear that you will not be able to do everything you want in one match. Buildings cost a lot of money and sometimes you just have to compromise. But the whole effort is mainly affected by disasters, which players can not completely avoid. The number of skulls indicates exactly what will happen to player in turn. This is a very random element for which it is not possible to reasonably prepare. On the other hand, this part is a source of tension and variability, because you always have to deal with other consequences. And that there are many.

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Fortunately, even though it looks like this, Era is not just about building a castle. All participants can also interfere with each other’s efforts, firstly as a result of disaster (rivals must place a burnt area where nothing can be built). Above all, they can attack each other in the last phase of a round. That is why there are swords on gray cubes.

At the end of each round, players can threaten rivals with an attack and demand ransom in the form of some resources. Only shields rolled earlier that round may be used to defend. Keep in mind that all the time, players have dice hidden behind the screen, so no one knows how well prepared an opponent is to attack.

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Unfortunately, the preparation does not offer much variability. The starting set of buildings is always the same, so sooner or later you will run out of the initial layout and ideas. Yet you will have a tactical challenge that, combined with the ability to attack your opponents, does not surprisingly suffer to getting tedious even afterwards. You will know the course, but on the way to victory you still have many obstacles.

The game is based on the successful foundation of the older Roll Through the Ages game, which is one of the games, that were at the birth of the roll and write category. From it takes some things, others simplifies and adjusts. The result is a quite different game in which fans of the original will recognize its footprint.

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The question is again – as with the recently reviewed Tapestry – whether all the finery with the plastic figures of the buildings is needed. And again, it turns out that the added 3D element is the main attraction that eventually sells the game to more traditional and inexperienced audience. Whenever we setup the game on the table, everyone asked how to play and wanted to try it.

Era: Medieval Age is an attraction for families and children who like to build something. So if you give them the opportunity to complete the city and still compete with their parents and friends, you have a clear winner. It is clear that the game can also attract older audiences, but it is also quite random in terms of generating resources and events. But simplicity saves everything and that’s why Era: Medieval Age is a great and unassuming game for family rival evenings.

DesignerMatt Leacock
ArtistChris Quilliams
Publishereggertspiele, Cranio Creations, Galápagos Jogos, Pegasus Spiele, Zvezda
Year Published
# of Players1 - 4
User Suggested # of Players Best with 4 players
Recommended with 1, 2, 3, 4 players
(28 voters)
Playing Time60
Mfg Suggested Ages8 and up
User Suggested Ages8 and up
(9 voters)
Language DependenceSome necessary text - easily memorized or small crib sheet
(4 voters)
CategoryCity Building, Civilization, Dice, Medieval
MechanicDice Rolling, Enclosure, End Game Bonuses, Grid Coverage, Push Your Luck, Re-rolling and Locking, Simultaneous Action Selection, Solo / Solitaire Game, Square Grid, Take That, Tech Trees / Tech Tracks
ExpansionEra: Medieval Age Expansion, Era: Medieval Age – Collector Set 1
FamilyComponents: Polyominoes, Players: Games with Solitaire Rules, Series: Roll Through the Ages (Matt Leacock)
Primary NameEra: Medieval Age
Alternate NamesERA: Das Mittelalter, Era: Idade Medieval, Era: Il Medioevo, ERA: L'âge médiéval

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

Review: Era Medieval Age – building a true city
Final word
Era: Medieval Age is a game about building a city. Buildings are actually great addition. But they still work and attract attention, but especially because of them the game looks really great. And production value is very important today. It is clear that the price, which is higher due to the content of the box, will speak against simple rules and family targeting. On the other hand, you get a mix between toy and game for your money. Random, but fun. Era: Medieval Age can delight if you don't lose it for excessive processing.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Pros
simple and accessible game
building is fun
3D effect
unpredictability of disasters
you just won't get tired
Cons
chance
not everyone appreciates processing at the expense of price
the same beginning every time
4
Buy on
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