on January 30, 2013
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.
on June 17, 2013
Guildhall is a wonderful little gem of a game from AEG and while Guildhall is definitely a euro style card game it's not a "cube (card?) pusher" about planting crops or, contrary to its cover, the highs and lows of being a creepy pig farmer. Not that there's anything wrong with farming, or pigs, or cubes, for the record...
However Guildhall does a good job of being a euro that also gives you a sense of espionage and skullduggery as you try and manipulate your way into the prefect scenario for acquiring gold coins, AKA victory points! Not a lot of euros allow for much or any player interaction, let alone the kind that lets you directly screw over your opponent.
Guildhall might look overly-simple at first, but after your first play though you'll start to realize that the simple `set collecting' mechanic of the game goes much, much deeper than you might think. There are so many angles to play when trying to overcome your opponents, so many in fact that it will take you a few games to pick up on all of them. You need a set amount of victory points to win the game, and when there are so many ways to get them, coupled with ways to stop your opponents from getting them it all adds up into this very slick, savvy experience.
The game plays in about 30 minutes but your first play though will probably take around 45 minutes due to the lack of succinct explanations for each card, though hopefully this review can help shorten that. You can watch it on YouTube: /watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CgwRQs4WaiM
Ages: 12+ (though I'd say 10+)
Setup Time: <5 min
Play Time: ~25-35 min
Production Values: Great quality card stock which seems to be a standard with AEG's products. The box is just completely unnecessary in every way, but is solid and durable. The cards are colorful and very iconic, nice that there are symbols for colorblind folks. Fun fact: I accidentally spilled really dark beer all over the box and the cards, but looking at the game components right now you'd never know.
* Quick to learn, harder to master. Gameplay is extremely satisfying.
* It plays fast, but you can stretch it out if you want it to. Making this one great for filler, or focal point during game night.
* For a euro, you can interact a lot with your opponents which is something I love!
* The Rules could use another page, just one more to explain each card briefly!
* Gratuitous misuse of packaging, zero extra room and the cards barely fit as is. Also, no room for the upcoming expansion pack!
* Would be nice if it could accommodate more players (2-6) but not a huge issue, just wish the fun could spread to more players at once!
on November 6, 2014
This is a good filler game with a decent amount of interesting decisions to be made.
In the game there is a large deck of cards with 6 professions in 5 different colors in it. Players will play these cards on their turn and produce an effect listed on the card. The power of that effect increases depending on the number of those profession cards already in your "guild hall". At the end of your turn the cards you played will become part of your guild hall.
Once you have a set of professions in all 5 colors in your guild hall (playing cards of the same profession and color you already have in your hall is disallowed) you can turn that in to purchase a victory point card. These cards have varying values and special effects on them (and a couple even require turning in two guilds to purchase). Once a player reaches 20 points this way they win.
This game has a lot of player interaction, which I love. The profession abilities include things like forcing opponents to trade professions with you or outright discard them from their guild hall. There are a lot of interesting decisions to be made like whether or not it is safe to play a certain card or will your opponent steal it from you to complete his set, should you risk not turning in a completed set for a lower value victory point card to save up for a more valuable one next turn, and much more.
It also plays pretty quickly and isn't a very difficult game to teach to new players.
on February 17, 2015
on September 9, 2014
Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!
Price- $50 here http://www.amazon.com/Alderac-Entertainment-Group-AEG5601-Guildhall/dp/B00AQJ5Y92/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1410285314&sr=8-2&keywords=guildhall
Set-up/Play/Clean-up- 40 minutes
TL; DR-An awesome, quick card game. 88%
Basics- Rise up through commerce! In Guildhall, you play someone who starts a guildhall in the middle ages vying for power through the economy. You do this by creating the most powerful guild in town. You start with a hand of six cards. These cards each show a profession and a color. Each turn you choose two actions: play a card, discard and draw up to six, or buy victory points. When you play a card, you place it directly in front of you and get a benefit based on the number of other cards of that profession you already have in your guildhall. The current card does not count for this. That is really important! As an example let's look at the weaver. If you have no weavers in your guild hall, when you play a weaver from your hand, you get to place one card in your guild hall. If you have two weavers in your guildhall already, you get to place two cards directly in your guildhall, but you have to take one card back to hand. If you have four weavers in your guildhall, you can place as many cards as you want from hand into your guildhall, but you must pick up two cards from your guildhall. There are five colors to each profession. You can only play cards that you do not all ready have. As an example, you can't play a red farmer if you have a red farmer, but playing a blue farmer is ok with a red farmer in your guildhall. When you have five different color cards of one profession in your guildhall, that stack is turned over and can be used with the second action to buy points. As another action, you can spend one or two stacks of cards by placing those cards in the discard area to buy a victory card. Some of these cards are just a ton of points while other cards give some points and extra actions or free cards. The last action that you can take is to discard as many cards as you want and draw up to six cards. After your two actions, you move all your played cards into your guild hall, and the next player goes. The game continues until someone scores 20 points and is the winner.
Mechanics-I love this game. The mechanics are tight and card combos come out really quickly. Nothing is too broken since any card you have a chance to get could always show up in your opponents hand too. It moves quickly, teaches easily, and is a great game even in a short timeframe. 5/5
Theme-This is not a theme heavy game. The art is all nice and the characters look like their concepts, but beyond that it's just playing cards. Some of the actions the cards do is related to the role on the card, but it's not as strong as I would hope for some cards. The game is really fun, but the mechanics and theme are just too separated. 2.5/5
Instructions-AEG does an excellent job on these rules. It's even written in two languages-English and German. The rules have text, but columns and boxes to break up the text making this a quick easy read. It's read quickly and teaches the rules really well. 5/5
Execution-This game is executed really well. The box is way too big for the cards in it, but the box also comes with some really cool plastic dividers to help make the size less of a problem. The cards are nice quality and don't tear easily. The coins are nice and chunky. And the iconography teaches the rules in a way that requires no language, just concept pictures. Well done! 5/5
Summary-I love this game. It's a quick game to get out either between longer games as a filler or as a few games over a night. It's less than an hour even for four players. I wish the theme was a bit stronger, but that's my only problem. This is a game I keep in my car when I'm out and about. You never know when you might want or have the opportunity to get a good game in, and this one is easy to teach, quick to master, and a blast to play. 88%
on December 25, 2014
What an awesome game to play with a small group. It says 2-4 players, but I'd really only recommend it with 3 or 4. It's simple, but with the right players the strategy can get deep. It's a shame it's so expensive; I got it as a gift from my xmas wish list. Everything is very good quality, though others are right to say the box is large only to compete for shelf space and A couple cards from one deck I received were a little bruised. For all my complaining about the box and the cards and the price, I'd still like to give this 6/5 stars. The game is just that good.
As noted in my other relevant game reviews, I'm I am always looking for games I can play with my fiance. She is what some would call a "reluctant gamer" whereas I am an avid gamer, so I have be careful about what games I introduce her to. She prefers games that rely at least a little on luck (i.e., not all strategy) and aren’t too complex (i.e., where you can learn/remember the mechanic after a game or two), whereas I love strategy and complexity but don't mind a little luck. We also like games you can finish in a single session (or games you can play multiple times in a single session). Guildhall does a nice job of meeting both our needs.
After nearly a dozen games, we both like it quite a bit. There is a little luck in terms of what cards you and your opponents draw and when you draw them, but there is also some pretty solid strategy in terms of how and when you play your cards, the victory point cards you select, and more. We had trouble interpreting some of the symbols in our first game or two, but by game three we had figured everything out.
on April 17, 2014
We are a family of experienced boardgamers and we love this game. Even my 8-year-old can play it (maybe not with as much strategy, but he gets it).
on March 8, 2014
Simple rules, easy to learn, but takes real skill and practice to master. My family hates games that take more luck than skill (I.E. settlers of Catan, monopoly, LIFE, etc) so this was perfect. It only takes about 5 minutes for everyone to know all the rules, and the actions on the cards are self-explanatory. This and Dominion are our family's most played games.
on May 12, 2013
This game has been a hit with my game group since I got it a few weeks ago. Players try to get all five colors of a certain profession in their guildhall so that they can trade them in for a Victory Point card. The first to get 20 VP's is the winner. But the road to getting there is fun interaction with the other players who will try to keep you from completing your "chapters" of professions, while trying to complete there own. The Assassin and Trader will be used to directly affect other players, while the Dancer will get you more cards and an extra action, the Historian will let you get a specific card from the discard pile, the Weaver will let you play cards from your hand into your Guildhall, and the Farmer will let you get a small but steady stream of VPs.
If people don't like interaction or directly messing with other people in a game, they won't like this, but if you like that kind of stuff, then this is a fun game for you.