The game consists of a game board, player boards for each player, wooden buildings and knights for each player, 6 wedge tiles for each player, 10 different knight order tiles, influence points, and wooden action tokens for the use of each player.
The rulebook is straight forward and very easy to follow. Learning the game isn’t hard, so you just need to get the game out on the table, setup, read the different actions, and start playing the game.
Playing the Game:
You will be taking turns doing 1 action per turn until all influence tokens in the supply is exhausted.
You will have the choice to do 5 actions listed on your wedges, or you can upgrade a wedge by flipping it over. If and when you upgrade a wedge, that counts as your turn. After you upgrade these actions, you will have the chance to split your action tokens into the 2 actions shown on the wedge tile.
When choosing an action you will choose a wedge token on your player mat. The number of action tokens account for how powerful the action is, and many times you will need to have a certain amount of action tokens to perform that action specifically.
Travel – between any number of your knights, you will move a knight from one hex space to another. When moving one space it will use up one action point. So the more action points you have, the further or more knights you can move to areas on the board so they can perform one of the other actions.
Muster – This action will allow you to flip over a muster token shown on the top of your player board. When these tiles are flipped, they will show a crusade symbol. This makes your crusade action more powerful and provides an additional permanent “action token” for the action. The cost to flip over each muster tile is listed on the bottom left. When flipping it over you will gain the number of influence that matches the level that is listed on the top left of the tile. This action will help to crusade near the end of the game when the other enemies become stronger.
Crusade – To perform this action, one of your knights will need to be on a space on the board that has an enemy token on it. Your crusade strength from the action tokens plus any crusade bonuses on your player board needs to match or be greater than the strength of the enemy. The Prussians and Slavs have their strength listed on the right side of the main board. These armies will become stronger each time any player defeats them. This is done by moving their circle marker down one circle each time they are defeated. Now you can see their new strength. When defeated, you will gain influence comparable to their strength. Saracens will always have a strength of 3. If they are defeated you will be able to place the type of building listed on that token, or if not you can take 3 influence points. The crusade action is vital to gain lots of influence points.
To perform this action you will collect the number of influence tokens that match all your action markers plus any influence bonuses on your player board.
To build you will need to be in a space on the board without an enemy token on it or without any other building placed already. Each space can only have 1 building. You will choose the type of building you want to build: castle, church, farm, or bank. You will check the cost of the lowest-level building of that type. Your action markers (plus build bonuses) must be equal to or greater than this number to build this building. You will place the building on the center of the space your knight is at. You will also need to check the bonus tiles listed on the space you are building on. Some of these will grant additional influence for erecting a specific building or some give you one less action requirement to build that specific building. Once you build this building, the empty spot where the building was located on your player board will now show a new bonus that is now unlocked for you. Each building focuses on a certain bonus, and anytime you can look under the building to plan for specific bonuses yo might be looking for. The 4th building in each row unlocks an end-game scoring opportunity of a specific type.
After taking the action, you will take all the action tokens and in a clockwise manner you will drop one action token off at each wedge, making each of those actions more powerful.
During setup, players will be dealt 2 knight order tiles, and select one to use. This tile will change a rule that is specific and only granted to the chosen player. Some of these orders will change movement of action tokens after taking an action, other might upgrade some action tiles, and others will change the number of action tokens that you use on your rondel.
Depending on the number of players, there will be a supply of influence tokens available. When these tokens are all claimed by players in the game, the round is finished and the game ends. You will be able to use the extra influence tokens for players to gain when finishing the round after the set supply is exhausted.
Final scoring –
For each enemy type a 5 influence point tile is given for the player who has the most tokens of each enemy, the 2 influence point tile is awarded to the player with the 2nd most of each enemy type. Players will earn influence for any level 4 buildings that were built and uncovered a specific bonus. The player with the most influence points is the winner.
Artwork and Components:
You can check out the art for yourself, but I really enjoy the. art. It matches the theme of the game, and the game itself. I like how the game uses different shades of colors for the players. All of the building are made of wood and add a nice touch the the game. The cardboard is thick for the player mats, tokens, and tiles used in the game. The action tokens are used in the game are the perfect shape for your fingers to pick it up and move them around the action wheel.
When playing the game, you can be presented with many options. But when it comes down to each single turn, you are not able perform but 1, 2 or 3 different options. This helps keep the analysis paralysis low, but still offers choices, and these choices can really affect your strategy. If you don’t enjoy player conflict, this game keeps the conflict minimal to none. The rondel mechanic is enjoyable as you need to plan which actions you take now, as they can affect which actions you can take later.
The game can be compared to Trajan, which is one of my favorite games. The game took the action wheel and simplified it to cause faster gameplay and easier to understand rules.
I enjoy how each player gains a power from their knight order tile that all other player’s don’t have. This can set your strategy from that alone, or you can use it to build up on a different strategy.
Player action is minimal, as you might move to a space before another player does to take a crusade or build action. I would suspect that future expansion will address this issue, similar to how Orleans has addressed their expansions.
I feel like the movement is important, but with 2 tiles that address this, it seems like I am constantly trying to avoid the travel action. I know upgrading one of those tiles can fix that problem, but I feel like the beginning of the game, 2 travel actions on the rondel is overkill.
The game includes a great Euro strategy into a fast paced game that only takes an hour or less to play. The game is well balanced with many possible strategies that can be used to win the game. This is a great addition to most collections because of the weight and gameplay matches similar games but in less time. I would love for an expansion that keeps the game non-confrontational but adds interaction between players where their board somehow affects you, or their actions affect you someway or another.
Check out Crusaders: They Will be Done on:
Brody Sheard – Reviewer
Brody Sheard played board games with his large family growing up. He continues with his love of games by teaching his family, local gaming guild, and friends about new and exciting games. Brody believes that board gaming keeps your mind healthy while also having fun interacting with others.