Theme and What is it?
The most well-known architects will create an outstanding city. You are acting as an architect to have the most influence in the city. This is a challenge because the actions of the other architects will change your growing influence for the good or the better as you will attempt to change theirs.
The Architectura play area is 8 columns and the number of players determines the number of rows. For example, when playing with the full four players, the play area will be a 4×8 grid.
Players all have a deck of cards unique to their color. In the normal gameplay, all of their cards are the same. Players will always have three cards in hand and then play a card in an eligible space. Most of the time, this is to the right of a previously played card.
Once played, compare the card value to the card value to the left. If the card to the left is higher, then rotate the card 90° clockwise. The card on the left will now have a higher value. If the card to the left is at least 2 less than the card played, then destroy it by flipping it over. If the card to the left is lower but not 2 lower, then rotate the card 90° counterclockwise. The card on the left will now have a lower value.
After comparing values, you will now resolve the effect on the card you played. These effects usually happen as soon as you play a card.
The game ends when no players can play a card anymore. If a player is out of cards, the other players continue to play until there are no more eligible spaces. Players add up the current value of all their non-destroyed cards in the play area to determine a winner.
The box is attractive and immediately caught my eye. Given the size of the box, I was expecting the game to be a light filler.
Game Build Quality
This is a card game. The cards are made from quality card stock. The game also comes with two protection tokens per player color. I am unsure of the game quality for the tokens because they were missing from my copy from Essen. I found out this was a problem with a print run and they are resolving it. Based on the rule book, these appear to be round, wooden tokens.
The artists did a wonderful job with the artwork. The direction they took is very whimsical, yet structured. I especially like how the column headings all line up perfectly and the landscape continues to each card. I have seen the play mat for Architectura online and it is gorgeous. It will be a nice addition to the game.
Architectura surprised me! I was expecting the gameplay to be something similar to other card games. But, the game mechanisms amazed me. There is a lot of strategy and unique maneuvers.
Even though all players have the same cards in the normal game, they will not always get those cards at the same time as other players. This is the only luck I found in the game and it is minor.
Players also have the option to discard their three cards in random order to the bottom of their deck and draw three new cards. You can only do this once per game.
Age Range & Weight
The box suggests that Architectura is for ages eight and up. This is a good rating however I think the game would fair if all players are similar ages when playing with a younger audience.
I believe that I would gear the advanced game rules for an older audience. In the advanced rules, there are six cards unique to the players color. Each player removes six cards from their main deck to their choosing. This would randomize play a good bit.
I LOVED THIS GAME! My initial impressions were definitely off. I would still consider this a filler game just based on the length of gameplay, but it is not a light game.
There is enough strategy that puts it at a medium weight game. My group enjoyed it a lot and I cannot wait to play it again and introduce the advanced rules. I believe we will play this a lot in between our larger games.
If you are looking for something different and new but do not want a large game, then get this game! It would also be a good intro game for new gamers.