Rise to Nobility is a creation by Ivana and Vojkan Krstevski. This is a set of workers posing with dice. Funded on Kickstarter in 2017, we already talked about it in this news, moreover on the card, you will also find the interview of the Final Frontier editor turned the same year in Essen, and the Ludochrono by Umberling for the players in a hurry.
The KS campaign was quite successful, with more than 4,600 players supporting the project, certainly partly attracted by the bright work of The Mico (Mihajlo Dimitrievski), the illustrator who is no longer present (Pillards Of The Sea From the North, Architects Of The West Kingdom and so many other projects, from Villages of Valera to Viral via Iron Throne The King’s Hand).
A group pledge had even been organized by Cwowd’s friends. Pixie Games then announced the distribution and translation, and since March the game is indeed proposed in the shops.
Climb up the social ladder
Rise To Nobility begins after the game Cavern Tavern, another title of the same authors and sharing the same universe: the kingdom is now at peace and the Queen wants to rebuild it for peace to be sustainable. She named Berk, a super nice little clerk, to administer the kingdom, but the people growls and wants a real man of character (implied to manage a kingdom you must be a junk and the people like to be whipped ^ ^).
Berk’s place will be awarded to the bravest of the leaders: you will earn points of victory and nobility by building workshops in the kingdom. But for that it will have to welcome settlers and make them become guild masters. You have 10 innings (but you can also play Monday) to accomplish that.
How it works ?
We start at the bottom of the social ladder. Each player receives a character card that will give him a bonus when he reaches a certain threshold on the noble track. We also have a house (a meeple) and a “colon” card to satisfy. We do not leave empty-handed in this adventure: our purse contains 8 gold coins and a resource of each guild (guild goldsmiths, carpenters, etc.).
We start with 5 dice and can perform as many actions in the round as the dice allow us. Well, not quite … we are subject to our reputation. At first, this one is 9 (it is marked on the reputation track) so we will probably do two or three actions. Indeed, we can not exceed the value of 9 with our dice.
This system is clever: the dice of significant value offers us more important actions than the dice of low value, but with weak dice, one can also realize more actions.
To increase his reputation, just go see the queen. It’s immediate, so you may be able to do one more action immediately. Another possible action is to go see the cleric to get dice modifiers (+1 or -1).
In turn, one chooses one of his workers’ dice and places it on the board on the action that one wishes to achieve.
One can also satisfy a colon: for that it will be necessary to give him the resources that he asks for, the map indicates a minimum and a maximum of resources to give, with precise types required. The number of victory points is marked according to the number of resources spent. But to accommodate a settler you will need a home on your personal tray (meeple home recoverable via an action).
When a settler settles in, you will have the work force to send to the guilds, this will allow you to make money at the end of the turn (during the maintenance phases). They will also be needed when you want to build a building.
You understand, to be effective you have to carry out the actions in a certain order: No settlers without homes, no buildings without settlers, etc.
Other actions are possible: The Cavern Tavern hosts settlers (new cards) who have just arrived and are just waiting to settle down. At Chantier, we can build a home to accommodate our future arrivals. If we lack money, we can always sell one or more resources to the Port (money, money, eternal nerve of the war …).
The advice of Peter bribes one of the nobles of the city (they represent the different peoples): this gives us some additional victory points. On the other hand one loses immediately in reputation.
Here also we will have pose constraints, but it will also have at least one settler of the people that we want to bribe.
I said it, according to the places one will have constraints of pose: for example to the Tavern, one will have to pose a die of value superior (or equal) to the dice previously posed. For the shipyard, it’s the opposite (lower value). So, if you are the first to come and place yourself on.
I said it, according to the places one will have constraints of pose: for example to the Tavern, one will have to pose a die of value superior (or equal) to the dice previously posed. For the shipyard, it’s the opposite (lower value). Thus, if you are the first to come on this or that track, you can greatly annoy your opponents by setting a very high or very low value.
Finally, you can build a building at City Hall, if you have an apprentice in the guild (condition sine qua non).
Placing buildings is essential because it is both a provider of victory points, points of nobility, but also resources. Public buildings can also be built on a personal platform. This brings some benefits in terms of victory points, during the maintenance phase, but also when we welcome a settler.
The six guilds allow us to buy resources according to the value of our spent. With 1 or 2 you can buy a resource of the guild, but also place apprentices, a value 3 or 4 will buy two resources, etc. If you do it where an opponent has built a building, you earn the bonus and take the bonus above the building (in the picture below, it would be a coin).
My opinion on the game
Visually, Rise to Nobility is beautiful, the illustrations of The Mico are superb, everything is in perspective, the tray is double sided with a “day” face and a “night” face (which serves for a variant of the same name). A feast for the eyes. The Characters and Colonies cards are also very beautiful, we have humans, dwarves, elves with their offspring on their backs. It’s alive, really, on that side, there is nothing to say. All the material is very neat. In addition to all that, we have a thermoforming that can be extracted from the box: the most practical to recover resources and parts.
Rise to Nobility is not unpleasant in terms of gaming sensations, but we run fast in circles: I take resources / I build buildings. “I would like to place my settler, but I’m missing a house.” “I want to build a building in such a guild I’ll have to first place an apprentice.” All elements interlock in a very cyclical and predictable way .
The interaction is rather weak, but existing. “What, did you put a 1 on the building site? Bouhou, I will not be able to buy a house for my settlers! Too bad, I’ll do it next round. To avenge me, I put a 6 on the Cavern Tavern and you will not be able to take settlers this turn. “It made me think of Bora Bora, but in this one we can use a God card (for example to change the value of a die), it is expensive, but we can do it, in Rise to Nobility we have no other solution than to wait for the next turn, it is a little poor .
The mechanism of reputation is a good idea, except that you can end up with big dice without being able to do anything, or on the contrary have raised his reputation and do small dice that will not really help us. And little control over it, except for the few modifier tokens that allow for small granularity.
The Colons cards all give the same thing: two meeples for the first ones and then, for the category 2, a meeple and two points of nobility. So we will recruit one especially according to his resources, a little also to have different peoples to be able to take tiles on the stone board. I would have liked different benefits, for example, such colon allows to have a dice of value 5, or another offers a construction action, it would refine our strategy. Here, they all give meeples and points of nobility, point bar.
Yes, the mechanics are simple and basic, much more than the rule suggests, and that in itself gives a rather pleasant game. Nice if the game lasted 1 hour, but we shoot more in the 2 hours to 2:30 (and we were only 3 players, I dare to imagine 5 or 6). Therefore, it is my opinion that Rise to Nobility has the foundation between two chairs, too heavy and long for the family +, and too scripted and redundant for expert players.
I have the impression that it misses the look of a demanding editor, a certain outline. For example, the question arose as to the interest of the action of Pierre’s Council in the end. To lose reputation is to potentially lose stocks: all the same, spend your resources on Colon cards. So, this is an action that we will perform at the end of the game, when we will have resources too much, then it triggers a little rush certainly cutting the purring of the title, but it is very late .
We played with events (optional) that are easy to integrate, and almost essential in my opinion: basically, they give bonuses for the current turn according to a condition. They add a little opportunism, but also interaction.
In the end, Rise of Nobility is for me a disappointment: a beautiful game, but that has no taste to come back. Everything is much too cyclical and agreed, offering few real dilemmas, too heavy to put in place because of its depth. One could have accepted his mistakes if he did not last so long and if the competition was not so tough in this sector.
It should be noted that there are two variants, a first in “night mode”: in addition to changing the board face, we start with a guild starting and 2 character cards related to this guild.
In the “short” version, we play in 7 turns instead of 10 and we start with resources. I think this variant should have been the basic version because it has several advantages: first the reduced game duration, but in addition our game is a little less cyclical. Indeed, since we start with 2 meeples colons and 3 additional resources, we have many more choices from the beginning.