Carolus Magnus

Filed under: a group of folks,neat! @ 22:32

Haskell and Joanna introduced me this summer to a fantastic board game called Carolus Magnus. I’ve looked for it off and on since then, and finally found it at Game Zone on Colorado. By the way, that’s a pretty cool store. The proprietor really knows his stuff, and it’s pretty well stocked. Plus, there’s a ten percent discount for Caltech students. Props to Dixie of the reference.

Anyway, Carolus Magnus is the best three person game I’ve ever played (and it’s supposed to be awesome for four as well). I’ve never seen a game with similar game play. For starters, there is one and only one moving game piece: Charlemagne. And all players have split control over where Charlemagne moves.

The board is split up into fifteen pieces or “territories” through which Charlemagne moves. The object is to build castles on these territories and to combine territories by building castles on adjacent territories. Castles can only be built on a territory, however, when Charlemagne moves to that territory. To complicate things further, there are five “clans” (colors) of “paladin” (little cubes) that determine who has control of a territory and, therefore, who may build a castle there; a player must control a plurality of the paladin on the territory in order to build a castle.

The second most interesting thing about the game is that no one “owns” any color. A player doesn’t play as blue or red or green, but instead every player plays with all the colors. During each round, each player puts paladin of whatever color(s) either on the territories, in their “court”, or both. Whoever has the most paladin of a certain color in their court, controls that color… for the moment. Players replenish their reserves of paladin by rolling dice, so colors can shift back and forth from player to player. Thus, control of territories can shift back and forth from player to player, and castles can be taken and retaken.

The most interesting thing about the game is that each round has two phases. In the first, the players determine the order of play for that round. Each player has five numbered discs (one through five). During this opening phase of the round, each player places one disc on the table. The player with the lowest number goes first, and it continues down the line from there. But there’s a tradeoff: the lower the number player selects, the fewer steps around the board the player may move Charlemagne. Additionally, once a player has used a particular disc during one round, he or she cannot use that disc again until all five of his or her discs have been played. So if you play a low number, your turn is early in the round but you can’t move far and you’ve got fewer options, and the number you pick one round affects the numbers you can play in subsequent rounds. Players play paladin, move Charlemagne and build castles only in the second phase of each round, in the order determined by this first phase.

So there’s strategy in moving Charlemagne, there’s strategy in paladin management, and there’s strategy in determining the order of play.

There’s also stategy in deciding when to play the game in the first place and when to do real work. Greg, Paul.za and I definitely don’t have that particular strategy down yet.



    […] “epic”?) game of Carolus Magnus and two games of The Settlers of Catan. Mike wrote about Carolus Magnus in his blog a little while back, and I don’t have anything to add […]

    Carolus De Ro 06.23.2006 @ 15:18

    I like his name,

    my name is Carolus too, I’m frome Belgium!
    I’m a HBV-clan member!!

    Carolus is de Mang ajaaaaaa :D

    Carolus De Ro 06.23.2006 @ 15:18

    zwaaaar blijven gaaan aja skaan
    rotten taas

    Carolus de mang

    Negerlul 06.23.2006 @ 15:19

    Carolus Mangus With Biggus Dickus

    Carolina 06.23.2006 @ 15:20

    That is my name .. he is my boyfriend ..
    2gether we are mangusses …Maaj negerlul ..!!! Lob joe so mutch !!

    Pitta Skanes 06.25.2006 @ 12:02

    Yes, Carolus is great to play (with).
    The part I like most, is when the person vomits in the toilet.

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