#005 Chivalry (2018)
Designer: Bono Light
Artist: Tina Hsu
Player Count: 2-5
Time: 30-60 minutes
Chivalry is a resource management set collection game set in Medieval Times. Players are squires racing around the kingdom gaining experience and knightly virtues to bring glory and honor to their families. The first squire to master the necessary skills becomes a knight of the kingdom!
What's in the box?
On your turn...
On your turn, you'll perform one of three actions: draw cards (rest), move (patrol), or claim a chivalry card and score points (promote).
- Rest: When you rest, you simply draw two ability cards from the top of the deck. There are three kinds of ability cards: strength (red), wisdom (green), and charm (blue).
- Patrol: Play one of your ability cards on your player board. Play it under its corresponding die color square on your player board. Move your knight clockwise the exact number of pips on the corresponding die. Activated the unique effect of the map tile your knight landed on. These map tiles will allow you to manipulate your dice or hand in various ways. The red map tiles (2 per game) usually allow you to manipulate one of your opponents' dice.
- Promote: If your tableau meets the requirements on one of the five displayed chivalry cards, you may claim it. Tuck it under your played board at one of the eight assigned spots and then move your knight up by one on the score board. Then you may choose to take the bonus for that rank.
- Discard your hand down to 7 ability cards at the ned of your turn.
Play continues until one player scores 8 chivalry cards (fewer with higher player counts). Players finish the round, so each player has an equal number of turns. The player with the most different types of chivalry cards, wins the game.
I have to admit something. I'm a sizeist. I judge a board game by the size of its box. Sometimes, this is can be surprising. Several small box games really have really surprised me by being bigger than their box. The Unlock series, Coup, Battle Line, Hanamikoji, and most recently Hatsuden are all great examples. This doesn't really work in reverse though. Chivalry comes in a fairly big box. I was expecting something heavier and deeper than what I got. I admit, this is an odd thing to complain about, but I think it needs mentioning. My review copy was provided by the publisher; however, if I purchased the game blindly (people still do that) I'm not sure how I would feel.
Theme matters. It matters to gamers, it matters to designers, and you had better believe it matters to publishers. A well chosen theme brings players into the game and helps them intuitively make stronger decisions. Now, not every game needs a strong theme. Battle Line by Reiner Knizia is a classic example. Chivalry is one of these games, as what you do in the game doesn't quite feel like knight training. I admit during each play I kept thinking about what other themes might fit this game: monster hunters, monster creators, computer hackers, bank robbers, alien ambassadors, deep sea fishing. However, maybe you like knights more than fishing, so this works in your favor.
Some of the iconography is a bit unintuitive; however, TRANSit did great job with their rulebook. Every tile, card, and icon was easy to look up and decipher. After a few games, it got easier.
Yes, you have a mildly pasted on theme. Yes, it's a fairly uninspired theme. Yes, the iconography is a bit unintuitive. And YES, it works! The race to manage and manipulate your dice and ability cards is fun. Calculating the most efficient path to manipulate your tableau to steal that one scoring card out from under your opponent is a blast. Chivalry does what a lot of engine builders forget to do; it adds momentum. The joy of building an engine is watching it combo its way to victory, and Chivalry delivers this in spades. The 6 extra map tiles add some nice longevity to the game, and the mandatory inclusion of two red interactive map tiles adds the right amount of take that and tomfoolery. Of course, if you don't like take that in your games, then you can simply not play with those red tiles. Although the size of the box may be misleading, the production value is great. You're getting nice quality tiles, a well written rulebook, quality dice and wooden components, and really good art. I am hesitant to call this a family game though. The mechanics in this game are fairly light for your standard gamer, but they might prove a bit hard for someone new to the hobby. It scales well. It's decent at 2, shines at 3, still fun at 4, and a tad bit too slow for 5. At a 5 player count, the chivalry cards change a bit too fast to properly calculate your turn. I think a different theme might have been the better design choice, but that in no way took away from my enjoyment of this excellent puzzle.
I really like it. I don't love it; however, it's fast and light enough that I would almost never turn a game of it down. (4 out of 5 = I really like it!)
*REVIEW COPY PROVIDED BY PUBLISHER*