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Subject: Tournay: A Review rss

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Kristen McCarty
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Tournay, built by the Romans along the Scheldt River, is considered one of the most important cultural sites in Belgium and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The game of Tournay, is set after the 881 Norman invasion which left the city in ruins. The people have returned to their homes and are starting to rebuild. Players are constructing new buildings, managing the citizens, and vying to once again make Tournay a prestigious city.

Goal of the Game


Players are trying to build the best district in Tournay and gain Prestige Points gained from Prestige buildings, combating event cards, and the regular buildings and people. The winner is whoever has the most points.

Components / Set-Up

The game includes the base game and one expansion that can be used after players are more familiar with Tournay. The components are beautiful, I love the artwork. Fans of Troyes will see some resemblance to that game.

The base game comes with 90 activity cards. There are 30 of each color, 10 for each level I-III. The expansion comes with an additional 18 activity cards. There are 6 of each color for levels I & II.



The cards are made of a linen finish, which is my favorite kind for a card game. They have a nice feel but players will need to pay close attention to the icons.

The cards are sorted by color and level into 9 decks of 10 cards each. Each of the 9 decks should be shuffled and placed in descending level order below the appropriately colored slot of the game board.

The game board is double sided. One side is the score track, not used until the game is over. The other side is the supply side for the extra citizens available for purchase during the game. It is placed above the activity cards with the supply side showing. Three of each citizen color are placed in the designated spots. Thirty-three wooden citizen meeples are used to perform actions. There are 11 red for military, 11 white for religious, and 11 yellow civilians.



15 Event cards are also included. The form a deck next to the first black spot. The top three are revealed and put into the event spaces. These cards are made into a deck and placed above the board next to the

Each player is given a plaza cards in their color (white, blue, orange, and green) and one of the wooden scoring tokens. They take two citizens of each class on their plaza card. Everyone gets 6 deniers.

Deniers is the name of the currency it comes in denominations of 1 and 5 coins and a 10 in a card. There are also 20 double-sided damage and gray citizen tokens. 6 cardboard Player aides are included as well. These tokens and cards are all placed in a general supply.

The starting player is given the start player marker which they keep the entire game since it determines when the game ends.



Activity Cards

There are four types of Activity Cards in the decks: Buildings, Characters, Prestige Buildings, and Town Criers.

Buildings (House Symbol): They are constructed in the districts and can be activated with citizens of the same color.



Characters (Person Symbol): These are placed in the district and interact with cards in the same row and column (arrows show this). Citizens do not activate characters. One example of a Character card is the Bishop. When a white building in the same row / column as the Bishop is activated the player may gather their citizens lying near the Plaza card.



Prestige buildings: (Castle Symbol): These are the Level III Cards that give prestige points. Each prestige building scores for each player at the end of the game. For example the Cloth Hall earns player Prestige Points per visible yellow card of Level I or Level II in their district (both building and characters).



Town Criers: there is one of these in each of the 9 decks and they announce events. When drawn the events in the queue are active.



Game Play

Players take turns in clockwise order. There are two phases that must be played in order:

1. Play a card from your hand (optional)
2. Perform an action with citizens (mandatory)



Phase 1: Play a card from your hand


You may play one card and build it. The Construction cost is shown on the card and must be played to build it. Cards are placed orthogonally adjacent to already placed cards. The first card placed is an exception. Each district has no more than 3 rows or 3 columns.

A card of the same color may be placed on-top of another card. If a card is played on a card of a different color the old card is discarded under their deck and replaced with the new card.



It is possible to place a card on a card occupied by a token. Damage tokens or gray citizens are returned to the supply. Citizens are laid next to the Plaza card.

Two Prestige buildings with the same name cannot be built. But two Level I or Level II cards with the same name may.

Phase Two: Perform an action with citizens (mandatory)

With your citizens you may choose to perform one of the following actions:

1. Draw a Card
2. Activate one building in your district
3. Combat an Event Card
4. Earn deniers
5. Gather you citizens to your plaza.

Players must use one or more of the same colored citizens to complete an action. Players can use their own citizens or pay 2 deniers per citizen to use an opponent's. Pay the owner of the citizens. They still belong to that person but they are unavailable. You may use citizens from several of the other players.



1. Draw a Card

With one citizen a players may draw a Level I card of the same color. With two citizens of the same color, a player may draw a Level II card. And with three of the same color, a Level III card. Used citizens are laid down, beside the plaza where they came from.

Players must take the first face-up card from the deck, or take the first two face-down cards from the deck. Then choose one and put the other face-up on the deck.

Players can choose the second option when a card is face-up on top of the deck. The face-up card is put on the bottom of the deck. If there are only two cards, draw both.

Drawing a Town Crier and triggering the events: If one of the two cards drawn is a Town Crier draw another card and choose between the two.

1. Place the Town Crier under the deck at a 90 degree angle to show there will be no more town criers found in that deck the rest of the game.

2. Place a 1-denier coin from the supply on one empty circle on each Event cards in the queue. If the circles are already full do not add coins.

3. All players are affected by the Event cards. Each effect is applied once for each coin on the card.



Each player can construct a rampart to avoid the effects of one Event card (their choice). The card is placed face-down in the district and will give the player one prestige point. Players may construct to defend against event cards triggered by the same town crier.

2. Activate a building in your district


Players can activate one building by putting a citizen to work in an unoccupied building, they both need to be the same color. If using another player's citizen, lay next to its own plaza, and put a gray citizen token on the card.

3. Combat an Event Card


Players may work diplomatically against one of the events in the queue with at least one denier. To combat and event card that makes you lose deniers, use 2 citizens of the color designated on the card. To combat the other Event cards, use one citizen of the color needed and pay a ransom equal to the number on the card, plus 1 denier.

With both cases used citizens are laid next to their plaza and coins returned to the supply. The event card is taken into the players hand and can later become a Rampart. Replace the events with new events.



4. Earn deniers


You can use citizens of the same color and earn 2 deniers per citizen. They must come from your Plaza and are laid next to it when used.


5. Gather your citizen on your Plaza card


This action lets players move all their citizens onto their Plaza. Damage tokens and gray citizens are returned to the supply. This action can be taken even with citizens still on the Plaza.



A players card limit, at the end of their turn is four. If you have more than four cards, discard until you have only four. A player may build ramparts but these will not protect from an attack.

End of the Game

"Two conditions must be met for the end of the game. The end of the game is triggered at the beginning of the start players turn if Condition 1 is met by at least 2 players or Condition 1 and 2 are met simultaneously.

- Condition 1: A player has constructed a district of 9 spaces with at least 2 visible prestige buildings
- Condition 2: one Town Crier card more than the number of players has been revealed and placed under the decks."

Each player may take one final turn. Then all players can play one last card into their district. Players reveal their card at the same time, pay its cost, and gain any benefit from character cards in the same row or column. Players may place all their Rampart into their pile of Ramparts.



Final scoring: Flip over the game board and reveal the score track. Each visible prestige building earns Points for all players. The player who built the building earns the left Prestige Points, other players the right Prestige Points. Score the cards one by one, starting with the start player. A player cannot score more than 12 points per prestige building. Prestige Buildings of the same name trigger one scoring. Anyone who built the building earns Prestige Points on the left; other players the right.

Next, each player earns the Prestige Points indicated cards in their district. Covered cards also count. One Prestige Point is earned for each Rampart.



Advanced Rules

Players may wish to play a longer more strategic game. Players start with only one citizen of each type, but have 9 deniers. Three citizens more than the number of players are placed in each of the 3 supplies. A sixth action is available: Recruit a Citizen. Players spend 5 deniers and recruit a citizen. The citizen used recruited must be of the same color. The recruited citizen in placed next on the Plaza and the used citizen laid next to it.



My Thoughts


Tournay was not a game that I loved the first time I played it, but it has grown on me to become one I enjoy playing, and whose mystery I seek to unlock. The mystery I refer to is the strategy needed to succeed in gathering Prestige Points. Tournay is a game that definitely rewards experience and thoughtful strategy. Knowing the cards, the combinations of buildings, and which Prestige Buildings would work best in your district is important. This knowledge can put new players at a disadvantage when playing with those more experienced with the game. So be cautious and kind to new players. I also think this lack of experience for new players can lead to some analysis paralysis issues. These will go away as one learns the game.

Another issue that can hurt game play, at least at first, is the icons. The Icons enable this game to be language independent but they can be confusing until you get used to them. I didn't find the player aide to be that helpful and we constantly passed the rule book back and forth to read the description of the individual cards. Unfortunately the Event cards and the Expansion cards are described inside the rulebook. Making a copy of the descriptions for each player would be helpful. As you play the game multiple times, and get to know the cards, this won't be an issue.

The game is rather quick as well, rarely does a game last sixty minutes, at least not with two players. Since you are only to build a building and take one action, turns won't last very long and there will be very little downtime. It also leaves little time to plan. There is also a lot of luck involved in which cards you draw and when the Events will occur. There were three events that occurred in one game during the first few turns, leaving us behind before we even got a chance to start. It actually lead to an interesting end game, where both of us were holding back our last Prestige building to gain the most points before meeting the second end condition.



I know others have complained about the end of game scoring but I like it. You have some idea of where you stand when you look at others districts and compare them to your own. Yet, you don't know until the last person scores who the winner will be. It makes for an exciting end game where players carefully tally their score and wait with baited breath as others are scored.

I may sound like I didn't enjoy this game, but that is not the case. I think Tournay will be like a fine wine, getting better with age. I enjoyed building a district that maximizes my score, compliments each other, and protects against negative events. The events also add to the game play. Sometimes they are good, but most hurt you. Being prepared and defending yourself adds another layer. I hope that future expansion will offer greater diversity in the buildings and characters, and some new Prestige Buildings. For now, I'll play a few more times and hope to solve that mystery.



Quick Stats:

Designer:Sebastien Dujardin, Xavier Georges, Alain Orban
Artist: Alexandre Roche
Players:2-4
Publishers: Heidelberger Spieleverlag, Pearl Games, Z-Man Games
Time: 60 minutes
Ages:12 & Up
Mechanics:Card Drafting, Hand Management



Photo Credits: from www.boardgamegeek.com: W. Eric Martin, (W Eric Martin), Henk Rolleman (henk.rolleman), W. Eric Martin (W Eric Martin), sébastien dujardin (sebduj), fabrice vandenbogaerde (fabricefab), Roberto Méndez (Zoroastro), Paul & Marieke (ZaNaBoZa, Laszlo Molnar (lacxox, Ivan Dostál(eklp fistronek)

Thanks for the wonderful photos!
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Greg Burkett
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Fantastic review -- really thorough, and very thoughtful.
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Manuel Pasi
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Outstanding review!
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Kristen McCarty
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Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed reading it, I enjoy writing them.
 
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Scott Bedell
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Giving photo credits shows great respect for others...the kind of respect that I have for you for taking the time to do it (and to write the review).
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Jack Francisco
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Excellent in-depth review. Well done. Tournay is probably going to go down the path of Troyes for me in that it will be a game that I'm not quite sure about until it clicks and then I love it.
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Heard about it through Troyes
Drawn further in by the artwork
Nailed it with this review.

Another game to add to my collection
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Victor R
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Great review of a very good game.

I fully agree to the ideea of Tournay being a "fine wine needing aging" type of game. It really is a game where experience brings the hidden gem to the sunlight.

A game worth trying, especially if you're a fan of Troyes.
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Nicolai Broen Thorning
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I am revisiting a game I decided not to get a year ago and come across your fine review, which makes me somewhat interested once more.

Now, to my question - did it prove to be like fine wine in that it gets better with age?
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Thanks for this review. Pleasure to read
 
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