|The Long Arm of the Law
A look at Arcana cards, militiamen, and combat in Cadwallon: City of Thieves
|Cadwallon: City of Thieves | Published 22 July 2010|
On the streets of Cadwallon, among the lowlifes and ne’er-do-wells that scratch together a living through thievery, Law and Order are foreign concepts. The dimwitted militiamen who patrol the shadows in the name of the Duke are often as drunk as they are crooked, but they remain dangerous in their own primitive way. The savvy thief, however, has learned how to not only avoid the militiamen, but manipulate them. A whisper... a thrown rock... the simplest of tools can be used to shake Kornak and Valrut from one thief’s trail and onto that of a rival. In short, the militiamen are little more than mere attack dogs. A successful thief has only to tug at the leash.
Cadwallon: City of Thieves, a fast-paced and ruthless board game set in a rich fantasy world, will be on tabletops soon. Last week, we took a look at the basics of Action Points, and we saw how thieves navigate the labyrinthine streets of Cadwallon and bash open the treasure chests of sleeping aristocrats. Today, we’ll take a look at Arcana Cards, wild powers that can aid or hinder the gangs competing for loot, and we’ll meet the militiamen patrolling Cadwallon.
A turn in Cadwallon: City of Thieves consists of three simple steps. First, you draw a new Arcana Card from the shared, randomized deck and add it to your hand. Next, you select one of the two militiaman figures on the board and activate him. Finally, you activate your own characters (by spending your pool of seven Action Points, as we covered last week). Let’s look at the elements of the first two steps in order.
Arcana Cards inject an element of chaos into the activities of of your thieves. You begin the game with a hand of five, and they can either be used in combat or according to certain triggering conditions. You can, for example, hinder an opponent’s movement, travel to otherwise inaccessible spaces, and cause your enemy to lose precious ducats. By drawing a new Arcana Card every turn, you’ll receive a steady supply of nasty tricks... and one shady character can even draw another Arcana Card each time he wins a fight.
Next, you move a militiaman. These hardened veterans of the streets patrol Cadwallon by night, hoping to catch a thief and shake him down for a few ducats. In gameplay terms, militiamen are sort of community-controlled characters who can be used to help block off areas and pin down opponents (as you may recall from last week’s preview, figures may not pass through each other). To start this step, simply indicate one of the two militiamen (they can never be removed from play, so they’ll either be on their starting space or wherever the previous player left them).
Now, roll a single six-sided die. The number you roll is the movement value of the militiaman for that activation, and you can travel that number of spaces hunting down rival thieves. If you roll a 6, however, your chosen militiaman was distracted or asleep and cannot move on this turn.
Odds are you’ll move him, though, and should you land him in a space with an opponent’s thief, a brawl will ensue (with the militiaman controlled by the player who moved him). This is where a character’s Combat value (the topmost statistic on his Character card) comes into play. Combat is quite simple; each player rolls a number of dice equal to his Combat value, then chooses the single highest die rolled. This is the character’s combat score, and the highest combat score wins the fight (ties favor the attacker).
Of course, some Arcana cards can effect the outcome of combat by increasing a character’s Combat value or combat score... but each player can only use one Arcana card per fight, and they cannot be played to help militiamen, only thieves.
As they say, to the victor goes the spoils! If a militiaman wins a fight, he claims two ducats from his victim. If, on the other hand, a thief successfully attacked another thief, he may claim one treasure from the victim. Either way, the loser will flee in terror from his assailant. To do this, the winner must move the loser’s figure three spaces of his choosing... and can even (only when fleeing!) move his victim through spaces containing other figures. This is a perfect way to corral your enemies right where you want them, like toward the other thieves in your gang so that the beatings can continue!
Join us next week when we take a look at scenarios, as well as the special missions awaiting your gang...
Cadwallon: City of Thieves is a fast-paced board game of cunning thievery and ruthless skullduggery in a fantasy city steeped in magic and intrigue. Two to four players each control their own gang of four thieves, competing to amass the greatest haul of loot from the many carefully locked chests scattered about the city.
Are there any plans to publish this game in French? That'd be a great family present for my home, since my kids don't understand English yet but love adventure games such as Talisman...
Played this at GenCon-very fun!
This game looks like a lot of fun, can;t wait to pick up a copy.
Looking forward to trying it
Oh yeah, I think the art work really suits the game. Wonderful!
I think this game sounds like a blast! It's sort of a light-hearted, less complicated version of Tannhauser.
City of Thieves might even be a game I could get the rest of my "non-gamer" family to play!
I am going to GenCon next month, and I will definitely be checking out all the new goodies from FFG.
Kirenx may have a point, but every card has very specific conditions upon which to play it, and if a player is not allowed to have more than five cards in their hand at any time (I hope), it can't be all that hard for players to know what to do with the five cards they have. Plus, that kind of restriction guarantees several cards played every turn (wide variety per game) and a high level of turnaround for the deck (great if FFG plans to add expansions). I'm hoping that's a fair assumption from "steady supply of nasty tricks"...no Arcana hoarding!
And here I was, thinking that FFG had broke off all relationship with Rackham. I know this game wasn't develop by Rackham themselves, but the IP is theirs nonetheless.
Arcana cards sound like a huge drag on game time if every turn you have to wait on every action for EVERY player to look through their cards and decide if they are going to play something or not. It's hard to say until the rulebook comes out but so far this game looks kind of bland and many of the mechanics annoying rather than interesting.
This game looks to be another great game from FFG!