Tudor – Academy Games – Review

"Games come and go when being a reviewer but Tudor has come to stay. It is a game I want to keep getting back to the table to try the different scenarios and scoring card combinations."

Theme and What is it?

The house of Tudor was a dangerous place to jockey for power in England; especially for a wife of King Henry VIII.  In this game you take on the role of a Lord gaining influence and office titles.  You will sacrifice your own family members to rise in the ranks of royal families.  Gain the most prestige in the Tudor Court and you will win the game.

Gameplay Mechanics

Tudor is played over a series of rounds.  Each round occurs during a period of history coinciding with a new wife of King Henry VIII.  Within each round are 5 phases.

Phase 1 – Chamber Assignment

Here you line up your courtiers in chairs outside the chamber you are desiring to enter.

Phase 2 – Chamber Entry

In order, all courtiers file into the chamber and sit at a table in the audience chamber.  Careful, previous courtiers can be pushed out of their chairs by the new folks entering the room. 

Phase 3 – Lord Placement

Now the Lords enter the chambers in player order.  Chose wisely, each room accomplished certain actions.  However, if no Lord sits at a table, no courtiers may take actions.

Phase 4 – Audience Chamber Actions

At this point in the game. each player in clockwise order activates their courtiers and Lords in the audience chambers.  Courtiers can begin moving forward in the Throne room.  As they go, they begin to collect favor with the different families and move towards gaining titles.

Phase 5 – End of Round

This is like a reset phase to get ready for the next round.

Overall, there are a few different ways to influence the outcome in Tudor.  The worker placement aspect is pretty straight forward in that you place meeples in the areas where you desire to take actions.  However, there is a spin on this.  You can get bumped out of a chair in a chamber.  Or, you may not have a Lord sit at your table preventing any courtiers at the table from taking actions.

Going even further, the rings enhance your ability to take actions in the audience chambers.  Depending on where you place the rings on your hand, different bonuses can be gained.  This might even be called engine building to a degree.

There is a tiny bit of hand management involved as well.  You collect and use cards in order to move towards titles.  This may require some worker placement moves, trades, or strategically colored rings collected.

Initial Impressions

The box and title did not draw me in.  I’m not a history buff though I know of the Tudors and King Henry VIII.  The art did not catch me as well.  It has a lot to do with the time period and theme.

Once I opened up the box, I became excited about all the bits and pieces.  The board looked complex which is a plus for me as well.  I loved the rings and how they are displayed.

Though I’m not a history fan I was amused to see the rounds identified by which wife of King Henry VIII was hanging around.  The game instructions even recommend the first player be the person who looks most like one of King Henry VIII’s wives….or the King himself.  That can make for an awkward moment at the table!

Game Build Quality

Everything in the box is fine quality.  I love how everything fits so well inside as well.  The rings are fun because they can actually be worn.  What a creative idea!

The cards, markers, and boards are great.  The hands stand up well and help hide all your little secrets as well.  I like the little meeples and wooden pieces.  However, I also like the upgraded minis that can be used.  I do not have them but a friend showed me what they look like.

Artistic Direction

Like I mentioned before, I wasn’t crazy about the art on the outside of the box.  Everything inside the box suited me just fine.  I really liked how the art work included the top down perspective and how your pieces could be sat in chairs and at tables.  Once the worker has taken an action, they stand behind the chair.

Fun Factor

I love worker placement games, especially if they have twists like Tudor has.  I find the ‘hand management’ of the rings to be delightful.  I like that I’m not having to fight anyone or use dice even thought I do love a good dice game.  I find it refreshing to be without the luck aspect.

Tudor is all about strategy or messing with other player’s plans.  This can be done by pushing courtiers out of chairs or blocking paths.  The way things are going to be approached will be a little different each game.  This is because the red and green scoring cards, and blue scenario cards can be changed each time you play.

The rule book recommends different combinations of the scoring cards for different games.  However, if you really want to go out on a limb, you can just randomly select a red, blue, and green card combination.  These options are going to keep the game fresh.

Intrigue, Influence, and opportunity coins can be gained in the throne room.  These will allow actions based on which blue scenario card is in play.  If the coins are kept until the end of the game they can be turned in for prestige.

Age Range & Weight

12+ is perfect for Tudor.  The symbols can be hard to learn in this game.  We found ourselves referring to them often.  This won’t be a problem as familiarity with the game grows but someone younger than 12 might not have the patience.

I would say Tudor is a medium weight game.  It takes a good study of the rules to be able to play.  Once the initial bumps and scrapes of learning are worked out everything moves along smoothly.  There is a convenient game summary on the back page of the rule book to keep you on track while playing.

Conclusions

Games come and go when being a reviewer but Tudor has come to stay.  It is a game I want to keep getting back to the table to try the different scenarios and scoring card combinations.  Though I’m not a history fan I enjoy how well the theme has been attached to the mechanisms in the game.

This is a solid game I do recommend.  It even has some homeschooling value while studying British history.  Sometimes you just need a break from the books and this is a great way to have fun and reinforce learning.