Fallen City of Karez Review

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Fallen City of Karez is a game by Elad Goldsteen, published by Golden Egg Games. It is for 1-5 players. In this game, players will control one of the city’s guilds as they work together to build up the city as well as fulfill their own unique goals. If the city fails to be raised to the proper level, everyone loses. However the player that achieves their goals as well as help get the city back on it’s feet will be declared the winner.

To begin, all of the different decks of cards should be shuffled separately. Each deck should be placed face down beside the board afterwards. Each player is either dealt or chooses a Guild house card. They will then take the corresponding tokens, gold and correct number of heroes and encounter cards from the correct decks as directed by their guild card. Each player will place one of their tokens on the turn order section of the board in turn order as directed by their guild card. The 3 adventure decks of cards should be placed on the correct spots on the board and the top card from the town deck placed on the bottom of the village deck. All resources should be separated and set aside where all players can reach them. One of the crown monitoring markers should be placed on the 1st turn spot on the turn counter and the others on the village mark and the 0 spot in the threat monitor. The proper amount of starting workers of citizens and adventurers should be placed on the city center section of the board as directed by the amount of players per the rules. The first visitor card is drawn and place on the correct place on the board. The first village adventure is also drawn and placed on the first adventure spot on the board. Play can now begin.

The game consists of 8 turns. If the city hasn’t been brought up to a city size by that time everyone loses. Each turn consists of 5 phases; the actions phase, activating phase, adventures phase, state of Karez phase, turn end and replenishing phase. Each phase is conducted by all players before moving to the next phase. The first phase is the actions phase. On a player’s turn, they may perform one of several different actions. They can acquire a building. To do this they simply pay the cost and put one of their guild tokens on it. They can place workers from the city center onto a building to sent them to work so that they can gain different things later depending on the building during the activating phase. They can buy equipment from one of the building that sell them by paying the amount in gold and taking the item card. They can send heroes to explore an adventure or to try to destroy a rival guilds dungeon. This will be dealt with during the adventure phase. They can open or close private dungeons. To do this, they must choose an empty spot and place a guild token on it or to close they can simply remove their token. This also removes any threat tokens on the space.

The next phase is the activating phase. In turn order each player is able to activate one of the building that they placed workers on during the last phase. Afterwards, workers are returned to the city center unless they were killed or transformed into something else. Players can also buy items or instants if they choose.

The next phase is the adventure phase. In this phase, adventures and dungeons are resolved. To do this, the player that is exploring will set up their adventuring party of heroes along with any equipment that they choose to attach. From there, the first encounter is drawn. If a monster is drawn, the player may flee or fight. If they flee, the party loses items or valor cubes if there are no items. If they choose to fight, initiative is determined and then dice are rolled. Attack dice are blue and red. Defense dice are green. The amount of dice rolled is determined by the the monster and hero cards. Instants and special items are used to alter rolls. Determining hits is done by matching dice rolls. If a character or monster rolls a 5 and the hero or monster that it is attacking has a 5 on the card, then that character takes a hit. Defensive dice will block rolls that would have otherwise been a hit. Fighting continues until either the monster is killed or the heroes are all dead. If a trap is encountered, the heroes can’t flee from it. The party only rolls defensive dice and hits are inflicted just the same as if it had been a fight. You then continue to the next monster or trap. Victorious adventuring parties will give the player gold and other riches by rolling the treasure dice as well as valor cubes. Losing parties will increase the threat rating by 1 cube on the adventure.

If a player chooses to attack a private dungeon, the combat is the same. However, the owner of the dungeon gets to assemble their monsters and traps before the adventurers traverse it’s depths. The only restriction is that 2 of the same type of cards may not be used back to back. If the dungeon is successfully dealt with, it is then shut down. All the threat cubes on it are removed and encounter cards are discarded. If the party is unsuccessful, the attacker pays 1 gold per fallen hero as well as 1 of the party’s possessions.

The next phase is the state of Karez phase. In this phase, all of the deeds done in the city are recorded. The threat monitor is checked based on the amount of valor cubes versus threat cubes on the board. Citizens and adventurers are added to the city based on the threat monitor results. The state is then determined based on the amount of citizens, whether village, town or city.

The last phase is the turn end and replenishing phase. In this phase, new adventures are opened based on the state of Karez. New building are operational if the state has changed. Wound tokens are removed from heroes that were resting. A new visitor card is drawn and the old one is removed. New turn order is declared based on the number of valor cubes owned. The turn marker is adjusted based on these results. A new turn is begun and the phases are ran through all over again, unless it’s the eight turn.

The game is over at the end of the eighth turn. If Karez isn’t a city by this time, all players lose. If it is a city, then victory points are awarded. Points are awarded for crystals, buildings owned, valor cubes, best hero, owned dungeons, and fulfilled guild conditions. The player with the most victory points after adding up is the winner.

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Included with my copy was the Golden Dragon expansion. This gives a new deck of allegiance cards to be used with the game. This added expansion allows players to work with the Golden Dragon to destroy the city. Basically if the city doesn’t reach the city level by the 8th turn, the Golden Dragon’s member will win.

 

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COMPONENTS
My goodness, there’s really a lot of stuff inside this box. Every piece is gorgeous and looks amazing. The game board is HUGE and depicts an amazing looking city. All the many varieties of cards from guild cards, hero, monster, equipment, visitor, and adventure card are truly phenomenal. I absolutely LOVE the artwork on these cards and they’re so wonderfully made. They have just the right thickness and finish on them. I’m completely blown away. There are lots of different colored dice that are so awesome. There are wooden meeples for citizens and adventures that are sturdy and well painted. Wooden cubes of several different colors for threat, valor, gold and wounds. More awesomeness and super cool. Lots of different tokens of different styles. Each with great looking artwork and made from thick cardboard. What can I say, I’m speechless. When I opened the box, my jaw dropped at the sheer amount of awesomeness inside this box. No doubt in my mind that this is some of the best quality that I’ve ever seen in a game.
10 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rule book is well crafted and designed. It’s 16 pages of full color glory. TONS of great example and setup pictures. Everything is so well written and set up. The game is easy to understand from these rules and it’s very simple to read. There’s so much artwork throughout this book. Everything is explained so well that you will have no problem understanding how to play the game. The flow of the game is walked through very well and in order. There are rules included for 2 player as well as solo games. I’m definitely gonna have to try these as they look like lots of fun. I love this rulebook and think that it’s one of the best I’ve seen.
10 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This game is absolutely AWESOME! I had so much fun playing it. Everything hold together really well. Even though it’s semi-cooperative there is still a great feel of doing what you want. The adventures and dungeon exploring is lots of fun. While the combat takes a bit of time, it’s well worth it. The joy of designing your dungeon to thwart any adventuring parties that enter is really cool. The city building/worker placement aspect of the game is as good or better than games of the same style like Lords of Waterdeep. I love Waterdeep but this game could very possibly knock it from my top spot. There is a bit of a time length problem but it’s not that big a deal. Mainly it’s from the exploring aspects of the game. Like I said earlier, that’s where the length comes from. 2+ hours of game time is a reasonable expectation of game play. I wouldn’t expect much less unless you’re playing alone or possibly with just 2 players. The theme definitely comes out in this one, as you will feel connected to the raising of this city. The choices are very numerous and there’s lots of different things to do. I love how easy this is to learn. The learning curve for it is not that steep. Lords of Waterdeep fans can easily master this one. The extra expansion cards add another neat level for when you want to add a little more spice to the game.
10 out of 10

OVERALL
Fallen City of Karez is a medium weight game of worker placement and city building. It’s a really fantastic game. I really enjoy playing it. The artwork is absolutely beautiful. Everything about this game is wonderful. I highly recommend this to anyone, but especially fans of worker placement games like Lords of Waterdeep. This one definitely hit a home run for me. All the different decisions to be made and the things that can be done make for one phenomenal game. The expansion makes things a little more cut throat and a lot more fun. There’s so much game to love here. It’s is absolutely one of my favorite games if not THE favorite.
10 out of 10

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For more information about this and other great games, please check out Golden Egg Games at their site.

http://www.goldenegggames.com/

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About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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