14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Review from a 2 Player Perspective,
This review is from: Guildhall (Toy)
Guildhall is a "take that meets set collection" game. There are 6 professions, each with it's own special ability:
- Trader: Trade cards from guilds between players
- Dancer: Draw cards from the deck
- Historian: Add cards from the discard pile to your guild
- Weaver: Add cards from your hand to your guild
- Farmer: Gain victory point tokens
- Assassin: Discard cards in other players' guilds
There are 4 sets of 5 colors of each profession. Using the abilities of the different professions, you're trying to complete sets (one of each color of a profession) to turn in for victory point cards. First one to 20 points (combined between victory point cards and tokens) wins.
The game comes with 120 profession cards, 30 VP cards, 52 VP tokens and the rule book. The cards are a nice card stock and the art is unique. It's life-like, but with a slight cartoon-y look. Very appealing. The cards use a pictograph system to help convey what the card does and it's effective. At a quick glance, you can double check what you're about to play is going to do. I did have one card seem to stick to the back of another when I was opening the box for the first time and it peel a little, but it doesn't affect the gameplay. The tokens are sturdy, though I had one or two rip a little when I was punching them out. The rule book is concise and does a decent job at explaining what's going on.
The box itself is a bit too bulky for what comes in it and I feel it was definitely made to compete for shelf space. It measures 8.5" x 8.5" x 2.4" and comes with a giant, plastic insert that doesn't quite hold all the cards once they're shuffled and have a little bend in them. I'd say about 60-70% of the box is empty space. I would find a smaller, more convenient storage solution, but the rule book is the size of the box, so it would either require a smaller reprint or a toss of the rules.
Guildhall is played very simply but opens the door for big combos, which I think is the core of a great card game. On your turn, you get two actions. You can:
- Discard as many cards as you want and draw back up to 6 cards in your hand
- Play a card from your hand (may not repeat any professions you've played that turn or duplicate any cards in your guild)
- Trade in a set to purchase a VP card
When you play a card, you get to use it's action. The more of that profession in your guild, the more powerful the action can be. With zero or one Historian in your guild, you may only take the top card of the discard pile. With two Historians, you can search through the pile and take a card. With four, you can search through and take two cards. Combining actions and using them in the right order at the right time is the key to the game. Play a Weaver to get the 4th Trader into your guild. Then play a Trader to be able to trade away two of your less useful cards to get your 4th and 5th Assassins. At the end of your turn, add the cards you've played into your guild. When you have all five colors of a profession, turn those cards over to complete the set. In the example I just shared, you just completed two sets in one turn.
Gameplay is very fluid, though some may say it suffers in the fact that you can't really plan ahead because other players are able to manipulate your guild. I disagree by saying that the player interaction is a plus and keeping your intentions hidden until the last second is a key component of playing successfully.
Ease of Learning:
New players may feel overwhelmed with the number of choices at any one time on their turn, but after a game or two, they will start to begin to learn the symbols and how cards work together. The symbols on the cards are what really help and I wish more games did something like that. The biggest thing to remember in the game is that when you cannot play a duplicate card or receive a duplicate card (through trading, VP card bonuses, historian, etc). The rule book does a very nice job of covering everything and even has a section labeled "Duplicate Do's and Don'ts".
This is a great medium weight game that promotes player interaction. Our two player games ran about 30-45 minutes, and I see it scaling well up to 4 players and playing in about the same time since not every attack will be directed at you (unless the other players don't like you). We're really into Dominion, and this is a lighter, quicker alternative. It only takes a minute to set up and put away. This is quickly becoming my go to if I want to get a game or two in after dinner. I have to dock it points for the oversized box and slight quality errors in the card and tokens. Players can get caught up in analysis paralysis, but it's not terrible. Really, it's just a very fun game that does reinvent the wheel, but does make it roll very well.