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QUEBEC

Reviewed by Chris Kovac

(Scorpion Masque/Asmodee, 2 to 5 players, ages 13 and up, 90-120 minutes; $59.99)

 

Québec is a five player worker placement medium gamers game with a very light theme of building Quebec City from its founding in 1608 to its 400th anniversary in 2008. The game is designed by the French Canadian game designers Philippe Beaudoir and Pierre Puissant-Marquis. The goal to have the most victory points by the end of the fourth era (one century) in the game. The game has both a simplified family friendly version of the game and an advanced version which is more interesting to gamers. In this review I am reviewing the game with the advanced rules.

To start you lay down the five leader cards next to the board. Then, the building tiles for the four eras in the game are randomly distributed picture side down on the game board around the various additional action spaces. Each additional action space can have three building tile around it and each of the building tiles must be from a different era. Next, mark all the building tiles of the turn’s current era with blue markers so you know which additional actions and buildings are available. You then create a random action deck from the events deck with one random event for each era.quebecbox

Each player starts with a fixed number of worker cubes (depending on the number of players), a hand card to show the current number of active workers you can use (you start with three) and two marker pawns (one for the scoring track and one your “architect” to show which building you control). Once a starting player has been chosen randomly, the event card for the era is turned over. The events are special types of scoring or effect game play for the current round. During his turn each player will do one of the following four actions: Claim a Building, Contribute to a Building , Choose a Leader Card (is one is available) and Put an active worker on one of the four zones of power. Now for more detail on the actions:

1. Claim a Building

For this action you move your architect token to one of the buildings marked by a blue marker (active buildings) and claim it by discarding the blue marker. The player receives three more active workers on his hand card from stock for performing this action. The player remains on this building tile until he moves it to another building whereupon the building flips to its completed side and any worker cubes on it are moved to the zone of power (one in each of the four corners of the board) which matches the color of the building. The citadelle zone of power can only be added to via a character card or through some additional action spaces. These zones of power are used in the scoring at the end of each era. Furthermore for each building space which was used on that building (up to a maximum of three), you get a star scoring chit which you put on the building. The scoring chits have both stars (one, two andthree) and numbers (one, three and six). Stars are used to show how many worker spaces were used and the numbers are used as part of the final scoring.

2. Contribute to a building

In this action, you use your active workers on your hand card to contribute to the building of one of the active buildings which has an architect on it. The number of workers you contribute is equal to the cost of the additional action adjacent to the building. If it is your building, you cannot use the additional adjacent action. However, if you contribute to an opponents building, you can use the additional action. Additional actions range from putting extra cubes in the zones of power to special scoring to upgrading your star scoring tokens to a higher level (i.e. a one star to a two star chit). Additional actions can not be used once all three worker spaces on a building card have been claimed.

3. Choosing a Leader card

The game has five special Leader cards which give special powers to a player for one era. Powers include being able to use your own building’s additional action spaces or having an extra architect to use. You simply claim a card on your turn if it is available but you can only use the special power on the turn after you claim it. As an incentive, each card taken after the first will get a certain number of coins as well (the later the card is taken the more coins).

4. Put a worker cube on a zone of power

A player may putt a worker token on a zone of power including the citadelle. This is usually only done if the player has too few cubes to claim an active building space.quebecpcs

Play continues until either a player has used all his cubes (both active and inactive) or a player attempts to claim a building and there are no more buildings to claim in the era (he will finish this action at the start of the next turn). At this point, a scoring round occurs.

If a player has chosen the extra architect Leader card and is currently using the extra architect, the building which this architect is on is immediately scored and this Leader card along with any other Leader cards is returned to the side of the board to be used on the next turn. Then starting with the citadelle zone of power then moving to the current eras, zones of power (other zones follow clockwise) are scored. Each cube in a zone of power is scored and then the person with the most cubes in a zone can “cascade” half his cubes to the next zone to be scored up to a maximum of five cubes. The person with the most cubes in the final zone of power gets to cascade his cubes to his hand card where they become active workers for the next round. Any unclaimed building of the current era is flipped to its completed side. Finally, the new era building cards are marked with the blue markers and a new event card is turned over. The starting player for the new round is the player that ended the round.

At the end of the fourth round, a regular scoring takes place and then you do a final scoring. You get one point for each cube on an uncompleted building, one point for every two workers on your hand card, score any points due to event cards, then score all your star score tokens on the board. Finally, for the largest area of adjacent score tiles that you have, you score points equal to the numbers. All other score token you have only score for the number of stars. The person with the most points wins. If two or more people tie, there is a draw.

In order to win the game you have to plan your actions carefully all the while trying to make sure your cubes go to the right zones of power to set up scoring cascades and trying to build your areas of adjacent scoring tokens. The game is well produced though the pieces are fairly utilitarian. The rules can be a bit confusing since the author decided to blend both the basic and advanced rules together with out much separation between the rule sets. This means you have to read the rules carefully in order to figure out which rules are advanced or basic. Also the event cards have two identical sets but one in English and one in French which can cause some confusion when creating the event deck.

Québec has some quite innovative ideas especially the cascade scoring, using the buildings for extra actions and the use of building tiles for extra actions AND directing where your worker cubes go. High player interaction along with relatively low downtime between turns also appealed to me. Overall, Québec is a good medium length gamers’ game though casual gamers, with a bit of guidance, would also have a good time constructing this charming Canadian city. – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Chris Kovac


 

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