Yesterday we tried Charlemagne in our gaming group. I got it in a sale this weekend and we all wondered whether this game is as weird as the reviews said.
Tuesday evenings we only have a small delegation of the full group so it was just Bregt, Mel and I who sat around the table.
After going through the rule book and decide who the start player would be (me in this case) we got started. After the first two rounds, it appeared that the game would become a duel between Mel and me, leaving Bregt out of the game. Due to lack of cards and priviliges (Our faith cards were all of the type were the cathedral was built) cards were drawn from other players and it appeared that this game would stop before it started.
Once Bregt and I got a privilige and Mel got some points, the game took off. We were all seriously riotting each other since this seemed to be a sure way of getting cards and denying the other of getting them. However, we kept on playing cards to continue construction of the cathedral instead of going for priviliges. Was it because we all got boed at this point? Maybe. In the seventh round, the game ended with me buying the roof of the cathedral. The end score was:
Bregt : 6 points
Mel & me : both 5 points and 3 cards each
The game left us puzzled around the table. Was there something we missed in the game? When reading the rules it seems like this game has a lot of interaction but it just didn't show in the game.
I think the problem is in the fact that you play with an average of 6 to 8 cards. Since there are 4 card types and you need some cards for the bidding, it leaves you with 5 to 6 cards to play. This means that chances are pretty slim that you have the cards you need. What to do with a 'hamer' card if you don't have a 'grain' card? And the 'Shield' cards are more valuable than other cards.
I think that by reducing the type of cards or increasing the amount you get, the game will be more balanced and the interaction will be increased. Perhaps we might try it the next time because this game seems to have more potential.