Stadens Nyckel (the Key to the City)

Article originally published at  Svellov's Braet & Board

Stadens Nyckel. The Key To The City is the latest game from Dan Glimne. As with Svea Rike it is in swedish only, but there is less text on the cards in this game and everything has already been translated and can be downloaded from The Gaming Dumpster.

A Medieval Struggle for Power is the subtitel as 3-6 Swedish Noblemen are trying to gain control of as many Districts of the City as possible. 10 areas are randomly developed during the 19 turns of the game. Each turn begins with a development of some form which are written on cards placed along the edges of the board. The next five cards are always on display making it possible for the players to plan ahead - at least for a few turns.
The actions are player has during his turn is quite basic: he may play one card from his hand and/or initiate a power struggle for one of 4 Offices, and finally picking a card from one of two decks (Events and Money). The four Offices (Mayor, Bishop, Alderman and Guildsmaster) may yield a VP or two during the game, but they are most important after the game where each Office held yields 2 VP. More important is it to control the City Districts. Each yield a VP by the end of the game plus a number of VP's depending of it has developed. Each District has space for a fixed number of cards which can be placed by any player. Each card is classified in one or two of four possible types shown at the top of the card: Money, Status, Religion or Ill Repute. The trick is to have as many of one type in a row - nothing wrong with having a shady part of the town with lots of Inns, Pleasure Houses etc, but you don't really want someone else to plant a Church in the midst of it all!  

So the game is essential one of bidding for power: Districts are paid by the highest bidder while the power struggle for Offices are done by using a combination of Money- and Office cards. These are not spend but merely used to as measure of who is the most powerfull: each card has a shield in the upper left corner with a number and the player with the highest total wins. After the struggle each player returns the cards in front of him to his hand - but: Firstly are there a number of negative Office cards which may be played on the other player. This lower his status but he may keep the card and use it against you in a later turn! Secondly each player may choose and discard one card from his competitors stack. So the strongest cards are only used once.

The game is done in the same high quality we saw in Svea Rike. The cards are all of the miniature size and has very little text, so the game should be easily playable even for non-scandinavians.
Author: Dan Glimne; 3-6 players in about 2 hours; price: ca. 400 SEK, £40

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