Toledo is a game by Martin Wallace and published by Mayfair Games that has players as Spaniards in the city of Toledo, gathering the necessary resources to craft fine swords to present to Emperor of the Spanish Empire.
Picture courtesy of Mayfair Games
The map depicts the city of Toledo with a linear trail of business locations starting in the Cathedral and winding its way up to the Alcazar in the top right corner. The businesses include a steel merchant, a gem merchant, a swordsmith, and a fencing master. Each player starts the game with two of each of theses businesses to place, each with either one or two spots for a pawn. In addition to these types, there are a few fixed on the board. These include an artist selling paintings worth victory points and a tavern where you can discard a card to draw three new ones.
On a player's turn, he chooses one of the following actions:
Planning out a movement turn is my favorite part of the game. To move, you play a numbered movement card and move a pawn that many spaces. You can play multiple cards of the same number to keep moving the same pawn or move another. Anytime a pawn lands on a business it can transact there as long as there is an open spot. Otherwise, you may play another card to keep moving or challenge the occupying pawn to a duel. (Duels are explained below). So, if you manage to collect cards of the same number, you might be able to pull off a killer move in which you do multiple transactions.
In most of my games, placing businesses dominated the early turns until all the spaces were filled. This is because doing transactions at your own business is free. It costs a movement card to use another player's business. The further the business is along the path, the higher the cost to do business there, still paid with a single movement card but with a higher number on it. There are not enough spaces for everyone's businesses so you want to put out as many of yours as you can. It can also be a good strategy to place them the same distance apart so you can hit a string of your own businesses on a single turn with the right cards
If you land on a business blocked by a player, you can challenge him to a duel. To duel, players randomly flip movement cards from the deck. Besides a number, movement cards also depict two swordsman dueling - a defender and an attacker, with one being highlighted as the winner of the duel. These also match by color, one of three different training tiles that you can buy from a fencing master. To win the duel, you must win two out of three matches either by having the training tile depicted or, if neither player has the training tile, by being the winner shown - attacker or defender. The loser has to place his pawn back in the Cathedral. Sometimes losing is actually a good thing if you need to re-visit some of the early businesses.
Once a player has three pawns in Alcazar, each other player gets one more turn and the game is over. Points are totaled and the player with the most is the winner. Swords that have been presented earn their full value and swords that are still en route earn half their value. Gems earn one point for every two and paintings earn victory points as shown on the card.
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