Game Buzz: Tournay

One of the big hits from last year’s Spiel was Troyes, a dice-based worker placement game set in medieval France.  The same team is back with a follow-up, called:

image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Tournay was designed by Sébastien Dujardin, Xavier Georges, and Alain Orban, and was published by Pearl Games.  It’s for 2-4 players aged 12 and up, and takes around an hour to play.  Whereas Troyes is dice game, Tournay is a card game.  They both share similar art styles, and there are some other similarities, but Tournay is its own game.

Components on display - image by BGG user toob

Included in the box are 90 activity cards, 30 in each of three colors representing the three classes in the game (red, white and yellow – military, religious, and civilian, as in Troyes); 15 event cards; four plaza cards; a double-sided game board, one side for supply and the other for scoring; four scoring markers;  33 citizen meeples (11 of each color); 20 damage/gray citizen tokens; deniers in denominations of 1, 5, and 10; 6 player aids; and a start player marker.  Additionally, you get 18 extra cards that are part of an included expansion.

The activity cards are sorted so you get a 3×3 square made up of nine decks, 10 cards each.  Each deck can be differentiated by color and number on the back (I, II, or III).  Three event cards are turned face up.  Each player gets six deniers, a plaza card, and a scoring token of their color, as well as 2 citizens of each class.  Three additional citizens of each class go on the game board – your citizens go on your plaza card.

This game proceeds in turns.  On your turn, you can play a card if you want, and you must play an action with the citizens.  These steps must be taken in order.

PLAY A CARD: Take a card from your hand, pay the construction cost, and put it in your district.  Your district is a 3×3 area in front of you.  There are three types of cards in the decks: buildings (can be activated with citizens for a special effect); characters (which interact with cards in the same column or row, but do not need to be activated with a citizen); and prestige (points, only available as level III cards).  You’ll see where these cards come from in a bit.  For now, just know that you can stack a card on top of a card of the same color if you want – if you put it in a space occupied by a different color card, that card is discarded to the bottom of its stack in the supply.

PERFORM AN ACTION: You don’t have to play a card, but you have to take an action.  You simply take some citizens (depending on the action), and do something.  You can use the citizens on your plaza card, or those on another player’s plaza card (those will cost you 2 deniers each.  Your citizens are placed on your district cards, but you’ll lay your opponent’s citizens down next to their plaza card after using them.  Those citizens are just unavailable.  Here’s your choice of actions:

  1. Draw a card – Use one, two, or three citizens of the same color to draw a card of Level I, II, or III in that color.  Your citizens are laid down next to your plaza card.  You’ll either take the top two face down cards, keeping one and putting the other face up on top of the deck, or take the first face up card.  When drawing, you may get a Town Crier (there’s one in each deck).  If so, you’ve triggered the face up event cards, which affect everyone.  When events are activated, they get a denier.
  2. Activate a building in your district – Put a citizen on a card in your district of the same color to get the effect.  If you use another player’s citizen, use a gray token to mark the building.
  3. Combat an event card – If an event has a denier on it, you may combat it (meaning that it has to have been activated once).  Use two citizens of the color indicated on the card if the event makes you lose deniers.  Other events only need one citizen, but you must pay a ransom (the number of deniers on the card plus one).  The citizens lie down next to your plaza, and the event goes into your hand as a rampart, which can be used when events are triggered to ignore one event.
  4. Earn deniers – Use one or more of your own citizens of the same color to earn 2 deniers per citizen.
  5. Gather your citizens – Take all of your citizens back onto your plaza card.  Gray citizen tokens go back to the supply.

After you’ve taken your turn, the next player goes.  When it is the start player’s turn, you need to check and see if the game is ending.  There are two game end conditions.  CONDITION ONE is that a player has a nine card district with at least two visible prestige buildings visible.  CONDITION TWO is if one more Town Crier than the number of players has been drawn.  If two players have met condition one, or if conditions one and two have both been met, the game is almost over.  Everyone gets one more turn, playing a district card face down and simultaneously revealing, paying the cost, and building.  You’ll then score everything, and the winner will have the most points.

The theme of this game is nothing really special, or even interesting.  The art is kind of cool to look at, but this is a Eurogame, and therefore the theme is not terribly important.  I want to see how the cards all work together.  I haven’t looked at the player aid to see what all the symbols mean, but I have a feeling the level of hieroglyphics will be slightly less than, say, Race for the Galaxy, another tableau game.  I think it’s good that you can use other player’s citizens to do your work, and the fact that it costs you will keep you from doing that too often.  This game seems slightly solitarish, but that aspect adds some interaction that wouldn’t really have been there before.

I’d like to give this game a try.  It seems like it will play fairly quickly, and probably is better for 2 or 3 than 4 (there might be too much downtime with 4).  As far as I know, there’s no word yet about anyone in the US picking it up, but Z-Man produced Troyes, so maybe they’ll go for this one too.  We shall see – thanks for reading!

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