Author: Reiner Knizia

Publisher: Queen Games 1998

Awards: none



Once again Reiner Knizia has followed his call to create interesting cardgames, and this time he has taken up the task on creatin a cardgame concerned with the civilization of medieval Europe.

At the beginning of the game, each player receives 4 random cards showing different tribes of the northern european area (Anglo-Saxons, Gotes, Huns, Lagobards and Vikings). During a turn, a player first may try to trade cards with the other players. Afterwards, he may - if possible - play cards. If a player is able to place 5 identical Tribe-Cards on the table, he will receive a village which will count as 3 Victory-Points. At the end of the turn, a player may draw one random Tribe-card, but he may also draw one Civilization-card for each Village he owns (up to a maximum of three cards). These Civilization-Cards (showing Alchemy, Architecture, Trade, Metallurgy and Boat-Building) in turn may be collected and played in the phase for the playing of cards. If a player succeeds to play 5 identical Civilization-Cards, he will receive a City. The Victory-Points value of the cities differs as the game goes by - the first city will bring 9 Victory-Points, whereas the last city will only bring 4 Victory-Points. The game ends in the round after the last Civilization-Card has been drawn, and the player with most Victory points wins the game.

The decisive element of Res Publica certainly is the trading phase with its excessive rules and trade-restrictions. The trading possibilities for a player are strictly limited - so a player may only search for one or more cards OR offer one or more cards. He may not perform both actions in the same trading phase. Furthermore, a player may not use AND/OR more than once in his trading offer. So he may "look for 1 Hun AND 2 Metallurgy", but not for "1 Hun AND 2 Metallury OR 1 Alchemy". Last, the players are restricted to one offer per round - if this isnīt taken they have to wait until their next turn to make a new offer.

In itīs basic principles Res Publica certainly follows the line of card-collecting games. The idea of building up civilizations is nicely implemented, but perhaps players would expect more from a game named "Res Publica". Myself, I would have preferred some more elements and functions in the game to give the players a closer feeling of civilizing. Furthermore, the fun part of such a cardgame certainly is the trading phase. The problem here are the very restrictive trading rules. Okay, the game stands and falls with these rules, but on the other hand these rules prevent any discussions or bartering, and this seems at least unusual for a cardgame. To sum it up, the rules of the game - as usual with a Knizia-game - are well constructed, but I think that clever rules and an interesting theme donīt automatically guarantee the game to show a high fascination factor.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany