Upon opening the box, we were greetedwith a small set of boxes that were numbered, labeled, and well organized. We had the urge to rummage through every box but were warned by the instructions to not look ahead or open ANY boxes until instructed to do so. The contents are packed extremely well making the game very easy to organize and keep track of individual components throughout the game. It also comes with multiple baggies for the tokens, cards, meeples, and coins which we greatly appreciated. One of the unique components to the game is The Archive, which serves as a place to put your used cards that no longer have a purpose(i.e. A trash folder). While it is a good way to keep track of what you have used, the box is far too small to contain all the things you will discard and we were forced to just toss some cards in the trash midway through the campaign. The custom die known as the Charterstone is a well crafted wooden die with unique faces however, it does not really serve much of a purpose as you don’t roll it as much as you would think. It is really only used for first player selection and for one card ability we came across. It would have been more fun to see the Charterstone used in gameplay, especially since the game is titled after this important piece. The coins in Charterstone are incredibly detailed and made of sturdy metal, making the experience much more immersive as they coins make it feel like actual currency. The meeples you will come across are very unique and we loved opening each one and finding out what each meeple’s ability was.
We were gifted and given the chance to review Charterstone by Stonemaier Games and selected our first legacy title. We were hesitant to purchase a legacy title due to many ending without any further replayability. We had some preconceived notions about legacy games being daunting, long and a lot of work for a single game. Conversely we also heard that legacy games can be wonderfully entertaining. Charterstone exceeded our expectations and made us want to play more legacy games.
Charterstone is a campaign of twelve games that allow you to carry over your progress from previous games. The first game that you play is going to take a little longer than the rest of the games you will play. Your first adventure in your land is a rough guide to the world and how to play and set up the game board. You get to pick a plot of land (called a charter), a character and a building, Your next step is where the fun begins, you get to name your character, land and select where in your charter you will place your building.
The first game lets you explore mechanics that you will be utilizing throughout the entire legacy, from placing building stickers to create the map landscape to utilizing the buildings in The Commons which help you rack up points and goodies. The first game seemed daunting to learn all the new mechanics but ended up being much simpler to comprehend than we had anticipated. Little did we know at this point how many fun surprises were hidden in the Index (a collection of cards you will come to unlock throughout the game). Every game introduces a new rule or a new element that we were not expecting. Each game ends with a decision or a benifit/consequence that depended on your gameplay. After finishing our campaign we found that our decisions were not very consequential, resulting in only minor changes to gameplay (this by no means diminished our experience during our campaign).
Most games that we play tend to not have an ongoing story to them, mostly consisting of a single playthrough with a beginning, middle, end and then start again. Charterstone introduced us to that ongoing element that we we not aware existed in the board game community. We very much looked forward to each game that we played, even making it a point to try to get through the entire story as quickly as we could, much like binging a good television show.
The artwork is whimsical and every building is unique and has the potential to change gameplay or introduce a new condition to earn points or valuables. Every charter has its own theme and it was exciting for us to open up new chests and unlock new buildings over time. We had fun deciding where to place each building as we were trying to keep each charter to a specific theme in our little Sushiopolis. We tried to place a restaurant next to the granary so that the meeples could have the freshest ingredients for their meals.
Game length varied with each game, lasting anywhere from 45-75 minutes for a two player game. That was dependent of the rules in play, the goals and objectives we were trying to meet as well as conditions that affected the length of each round. In particular, there is a round in which you may want to rush your turn to avoid consequences set for the round. There is also a choice somewhere in the game that will either make your game shorter or make the game longer.
There are two overall objectives to every game. The first is being the player with the highest score and the second is meeting your the games goal which is different every game. Sometimes the goals can conflict so you are forced to make a decision of whether to lose the battle and possibly win the war. Strategy is key if you want to build new building in your charter as they require a lot of resources and/or coins to build. If someone is trying to accrue a lot of resources a possible tactic is to try to end the game sooner than later and maybe prevent them from being able to build or use the resources. Getting an endgame bonus can also be a good way to get a final push in points at the end of the game. Winning a lot of games doed guarantee that you will win the campaign.
Charterstone was an excellent game that we thoroughly enjoyed. We left a customized map that can be used to replay anytime we want with a bunch of different meeples, scoring conditions, and it is now our most unique board because we mapped it out together. Sushiopolis is our testament to the great experience that Charterstone provides. The quality of the story and the massive amount of content the box contains is well worth it. While we were gifted this game by Stonemaier Games it would have been a purchase we would be happy with.
Language Barrier Playability: very tough but not impossible. The game would require teaching and reading each new card that pops up which may be more trouble than it’s worth
Replayability: excellent, especially since it is a legacy game
Artwork: cute, whimsical and simple. Does a good job of keeping you in the theme.
Quality: SUPERB. High quality pieces, cards and accessories that are tough and well crafted. One pitfall is that the sticker cards can tear or bend easily, but in the end they’re going to be thrown, so not much of a downside once you’re finished.
Strategy: excellent. There are a lot of strategies that can be used and can vary based on the buildings and cards in play.
Instruction Manual: not exactly applicable in this game in the traditional sense as you build your rulebook as you play. It is a unique rulebook and very fun to fill with rules and changes as your play.
Organization: excellent. Every piece is easy to store, comes in its own bag/box that can be easily stored in the well crafted packaging.