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1099: Domus Clari Geminiani

Reviewed by Andrea “Liga” Ligabue

(Edicta Edizioni, 2 to 5 players, ages 8 and up, about 30 minutes; 12 Euros)

 

1099In the year 1099, construction started on the Modena Cathedral, the new home for Saint Geminianus, archbishop and patron saint of the town. Contributing to the construction was the architect Lanfranco and the sculptor Wiligelmo and, later, the Campionesi Magisters. In 1997, Modena Cathedral was declared a World Heritage site.

It was back in 2007 when Comune di Modena asked me for some help in devising a card game about the construction of the Modena Cathedral. My idea was to call for an international competition. That call was answered as we received more than 20 prototypes from all around the world. After some deliberation, we finally chose 1099: Domus Clari Geminiani from Francesco Berardi. The game was unveiled during PLAY 2008 and finally, after 2 years of development, was published and presented during PLAY 2010.

In 1099: Domus Clari Geminiani, two to five players compete to contribute the most to the Cathedral construction. During the game, they use architects and operari (workers) to build up the cathedral, gaining points in these two fields. It is important to contribute almost equally to both since a player’s final score will be the LOWER of the two scores. In the middle of the game, the Saint Geminianus relics are moved into the new cathedral; contributing to that could give extra points.

The game has two decks: the workers deck comprised of sculptores (sculptors), operari (workers), miles (soldiers), civites (citizens) and character cards and the components deck where you will find architecturals, sculptures and the three relics. For a bit of atmosphere, the architectural, sculpture and relic cards also include some text written by an expert in Modena history describing each particular piece. The components deck is divided in two with the three relics cards in the middle. During each turn, there will be six workers and four components on display on the table.

10992Players can take two actions on a turn. Possible actions include taking a worker card, building a component or hiring a special character. Usually, you place the worker cards you choose in front you (a maximum of six) but some special cards need to be held in hand. To build a component, you need the exact amount of operari or sculptores. To build one of the three relics you need the exact amount of cives and milites.

Most worker cards can be used in two ways (as sculpotres/operari or miles/civites/characters) giving the players several possibilities. Hiring one of the three special characters gives you a special bonus in operari or sculpotres. You can hire only one character at a time and you can steal a character hired by another player.

In general, the game is a matter of getting the best worker cards to get one of the four components cards while looking at what other players are collecting. You have to be wise in developing both architecturals and sculptures. The three relics are quite expensive (miles and civites cards are few) but give you a lot of points, helpful as you can add them to the category in which you are getting fewer points.

It should be noted that the game was published in Italy so the rules are in Italian. However, there has been interest in the game from US publishers so English language rules may be available as well. (The game, and further information about English rules, can be obtained by contacting walter.martinelli@comune.modena.it )

1099: Domus Clari Geminiani is a quick and easy card game, not geared for the “refined taste” of hardcore gamers but, rather, a nice family game. I think it also serves as a excellent model to show how real gamers’ experiences can mesh with the needs of institutions to produce a game that can be both a good game on its own merits and a nice promotional item for the institution itself.

 


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