Medieval Academy

Personal Ranking: #25 (2016 ranking)

Time to Play (in my experience): 45-60 minutes

Age Level: I think a 7 or 8 year old could handle this just fine.

Difficulty Level: 2 (5-10 minutes to teach, 90 minutes or less to play)

Type of Game: Card drafting/area control: Card drafting means that everyone starts out with the same number of cards, and then each player simultaneously chooses one card to play and passes the remaining cards to the player on the left or the right (depending on the particular rules of the game/phase). Then the same thing is repeated with the cards just received until the end of the round. What’s really fun about this style of game is that you have to consider both what is good for you and what you might want to deny your neighbors. Area control means that you get benefits if you are further along in a track in a certain area (or in other games that you have more people/tokens in a certain area than other players).

The areas that a squire must master to become a great knight!

Game Setting: Medieval times. Surprised?

Brief overview of how to play: Each player is dealt 5 cards. These cards are for 6 different boards/tracks (princess, knights, academics, king, dragon, charity). Each card has a value from 2 to 5. Cards are drafted (see above) until each player has a new hand of 5 cards. This now forms a player’s hand for the round. Then, in turn order, each player plays one of the cards and moves his/her token on the matching track. This repeats until 4 cards are played by each player. At the end of each round each board/track is resolved and the appropriate rewards/penalties are awarded. At the end of 6 rounds, the game ends.

How many players does it play?: 3-5.

Ideal number?: Probably 4 or 5, as there is more competition for the tracks.

Why do I love/recommend this game?:

1) Managing short term versus long term goals: Sure you can focus just on the dragon and the charity boards, but you won’t win that way. You’ve got to spend some time on the short term goals as well.

                            

Blue is doing really well on the dragon track, unfortunately she is way behind on charity!

   

2) Reset at the halfway point: I like how many of the markers reset halfway through the game. So if you are way far behind in a certain track for the first half of the game, you get another chance for the second half.

3) Simple card drafting: You are only drafting locations and numbers, not a bunch of other complicated factors.

4) Very simple to play, tricky to win: All you have to do is take a card and then pass the rest. Then you just have to play a card. But to really play well, you have to maximize every movement. 

5) Delightful artwork: I love the differences in the squire from Level 2 to Level 5. It’s a really cute addition.

Look at the way the squire goes from being an ungrateful giver at the 2 level, to being an over-the-top generous giver! There's a spiritual lesson in there, I think!

6) Double sided boards: If you get bored of the basic set up, each board is double sided to give you a new challenge. You can play some or all of the boards on the advanced side. 

Is there anything offensive in this game? Anything at all?: I don’t think so. I guess if you don’t like the idea of knights wooing princesses, but I’m stretching here. This game even penalizes you if you don’t give to charity!

Final word: Medieval Academy is a delightful game that allows for some challenging decisions and strategic card play. You want to do everything, but you simply don’t have enough cards to do so. 

Amazon.com price at the time of this posting: $25.02 

 

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