Quick Look: Kutna Hora – The City of Silver
Designers: Ondrej Bystron, Petr Caslava, Pavel Jarosch
Artists: Milan Vavroň, Roman Bednář, Radek Boxan & Štěpán Drašťák
Publisher: Czech Games Edition
Year Published: 2023
You are helping to create the city of Kutna Hora, in the Central Bohemian region of the Czech Republic, and it’s Cathedral of St. Barbara, by mining the newly discovered silver mines, and using your wealth to build private and public buildings.
The rules are very well explained in a concise and clear manner, with an abundance of pictures of not only how to set up the main game and player boards, but excellent examples of each action you are able to take on your ‘turns’. The rulebook also has information on the city itself, and how it came to be and develop.
There are explanations of cards and symbols throughout the rulebook, and there are 4 player aid cards which really do help players with each game turn, and what each symbol represents.
In each round all players take 3 turns, playing 2 cards for each of their first 2 turns, and 1 of their remaining 2 cards on their 3rd and last turn of the round.
Every player has a hand of exactly the same 6 cards, which are double ended, i.e. they have a different action at each end, and you choose one action to take from each card you play, and then lay that card in front of you and it is then not useable again until the next round. Some actions appear on more than once card, and some actions only appear on a single card, so you need to choose the actions and which cards to play wisely, or you may be left not being able to perform certain actions during later turns in the round.
Most actions require you using certain resources, but these resources are never actually used themselves, and in-fact are not even represented in the game by pieces, instead you work out the cost of the resource at the time of needing it by checking its’ current market value, and multiply that by the amount of them you need and simply pay that amount to the bank. If you can’t pay the cost, you can’t do that action.
During the game, you will be playing Ore buildings / opening new mines which will increase your Ore / mining resource tracks, along with other building types, which will in turn increase one of the 3 guilds you have pre chosen during set up. Increasing these tracks and playing the take income card is the only way to generate money for yourself during the game, so you will need to do this regularly so you can purchase buildings, buy plots to build the buildings on, and then pay the cost to actually build the building itself.
Each time you build a private building you will place a house token on it to show it is one your own (these may score you points at the end of the game), and building public buildings will also give you rewards but you do not own these, as they are of course ‘public buildings and you are doing it for the greater good.
You can also contribute to the building of the Cathedral / Church of St. Barbara, and this again will gain you rewards / favour in your quest to become the game winner.
However, the game itself can also aid in the building of this and if it does, then it will increase the amount of taxes due at the end of each round which you will either have to cover with money, or lose reputation points.
The theme of building up a City which is still thriving today is definitely one that I certainly haven’t noticed before, and certainly helped to draw me in to the game initially.
The mechanics meant that it seemed almost every turn taken by a player had a distinct effect on the game, and the direction each future players turn took, for good, or bad.
For me (and the group) gameplay went smoothly, and once we had all played a couple of turns we all got how the game worked, in particular the moving market prices, which are shown on two 3 dimensional market boards (an excellent and innovative game component which I have not seen in any other game), which have moveable strips and changing cards, plus acknowledging that mining was going to be an important action to take.
There was a little bit of downtime on occasions, but this was the first game for all of us, so working out what was available to do, and if we had the money to do it was the main thing to slow down the turns we took, but this didn’t impact us too badly, and will certainly be less of an issue on future plays (which we all said we would definitely be up for).
There are 5 game rounds in a 4 player game, and 6 in a 2 or 3 player game, with additional buildings coming in after a specific round based on player count, and additional scoring coming in the round after these new building arrive.
At the end you add up your accumulated points, which are gained from buildings, mines, reputation, an end of game income calculation which gives you 1 point for each 10 coins you produce, and some other conditions based on things that may have happened during the game.
The player with the most points is the winner, and if tied the person with the most money left wins.
The artwork is very good, both in the rulebook, and on the tiless and boards, and the components are made from a substance called ‘re-wood’ which is reconstituted wood and recycled materials I believe and so is also eco-friendly and better for the environment.
For me, it looks good on the table, and the dual layered played boards are fantastic.
There has been a lot of ‘hotness’ surrounding this game, and it is another winner from CGE for me.
Excellent components, clear rules, smooth gameplay, and player actions influencing the way the City took shape were all winners for me.
If I had one gripe, it is the lack of a solo mode.
Kutna Hora is absolutely a game that I would love to play solo, against an AI opponent similar to that of Lost Ruins of Arnak perhaps, and is certainly something the designers should be looking at, perhaps as an expansion, and maybe even with a 5th player board, and some additional / different building tiles and guilds.
Is this game worth adding to your collection, without question.
If I hadn’t been sent it as a review copy, and I’d played it elsewhere I would have gone out and bought it myself.
My fellow gaming friends all said they would play this again, and I hope that isn’t too far off.
Kutna Hora may be the City of Silver, but for me it’s a GOLD star all the way.
Check it out and get yours HERE.
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