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FLASHBACK: WEB OF POWER

[In this issue, we feature Industria, the latest creation by Michael Schacht who first appeared in our pages with his Web of Power game four years ago! Here, from our Summer 2000 issue, is our look at that classic game of political power in Europe, as seen by Kban]

WEB OF POWER (Rio Grande Games, 3-5 players, ages 12 and up, 30-45 minutes; out of print)

 

Michael Schacht’s Web of Power (known as Kardinal and Koenig in Europe) is a short duration, 3-5 player game set in the 12th Century. The mapboard depicts Western Europe divided into 9 countries. Eight of the nine are paired by identical background color with Frankreich (France) having its own color. As usual, Rio Grande Games has done a superb job of simultaneously releasing a German game for the English speaking world using the same components and including a clear, concise rule book that makes learning the game a breeze.webofpower

Each player receives a supply of cloisters (wooden houses) that eventually get placed on cloister spaces
on the board. They are connected by roads and, Web of Power cover once placed, cannot be moved, removed or have joint occupancy. Players also receive a supply a wooden cylinders as “advisors”. Advisors get placed on a country’s coat of arms on the map and are used for determining alliances.

Players are dealt a hand of 3 cards from the deck of 55 cards that represent the four pairs of countries plus France. Two cards from the deck are turned face up. On a turn, a player may play 1, 2, or 3 cards from his hand and place cloisters and/or advisors in the country indicated.

Placement of pieces is subject to several restrictions. A player may play one or two pieces to one country in a given turn by playing one or two cards for that country. If a player places the first cloister in a country, he may only place one piece that turn. Two identical cards can be played together as a joker to represent ANY country. The placement of advisors is limited to the number of cloisters held by the player with the most in that country.WebPower

After cards and pieces are played, each player replenishes to three cards, drawn from among the two face up cards and/or from the face down draw pile.

When the deck runs out for the first time, there is an interim scoring for the cloisters that have been placed. Players earn points (marked on the perimeter’s score track) based on the number of cloisters placed. The player with the most cloisters in a given country earns one point for each one played, REGARDLESS of color. The player with the second most cloisters earns one point for each cloister placed by the player with the most. Third place earns the same as the number of cloisters placed by the second place player and so on down the line.

When the deck is exhausted for the second time, players take one final move so that all have had the same total number of turns. Cloisters are now scored again in the same way. But now, 15 different alliances are also scored.

Each of the alliances consists of a pairing of two countries. If a player has the most advisors in BOTH countries (and ties count), he scores one point for each advisor in BOTH countries. The last scoring is for chains of four or more cloisters connected by roads. One point is earned for each cloister in a chain (but no cloister can count towards more than one chain). After the second scoring round, whoever has advanced the farthest along the perimeter score track is the winner.

Because there are only two scoring rounds, Web of Power usually is completed in 30-45 minutes. The choice of which cards to play and trying to achieve a balance between cloisters and advisors are essential to victory since most of the points are scored in the second scoring interval.

Web of Power has a surprising amount of depth for such a short game with relatively simple rules. Due to its brevity, Web of Power is the kind of game that demands frequent and/or repeated plays, a sure sign that you’ll get your money’s worth. – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Steve Kurzban

Copyright © 2000, all rights reserved.


 

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Winter 2004 GA Report Articles

 

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