FAQs about How to Play

My friend Michael Maurer recently tested out City of Glory. Mike works for Stragoo, a game company in Czechia. Based on his feedback I have compiled the following FAQs for you. If you have your own questions, please contact me and I’ll add them to the website FAQs!

Q: Our female player prefers competition games in general, so if there was some kind of bonus/reward for the ‘best village’? 

A: I will have rules on the website for a competitive version of the game once I work such a version of the rules out. Otherwise, the competition is to score the highest rice surplus after completing the temple: that’s what the temple cards are for. The scoring for which temple you built based on your total rice surplus is on the printed rules after the FAQs. 

Q: Probably because I was the only one familiar with the rules, I seemed to take charge of the game too much and had more of the final decisions on what we should do.  There was some resentment to that – perhaps the ‘banker’ becomes not a player, but more of a Dungeon Master in the D&D style?

A: That’s why you are not allowed to see each other’s cards or talk about gameplay except at the harvest. You were clearly breaking the rules. Otherwise, when learning to play you will need to play open hand and someone who understands the rules will need to “help” other players. Once you know how to play, however, you are not allowed to see each other’s cards OR talk about what people should or shouldn’t do during their turn. That’s what you should discuss at the harvest.

Q: We cheated a tiny bit because the drought card came up very early, so we reset it deeper in the pack, but still hit two big “Honor the Gods” cards pretty quick and almost lost, which was exciting. But eventually we hit a kind of stasis where one player was maxed out making rice (and neither drawing or playing cards – kinda boring).  This meant we only went through perhaps 2/3 of the deck which was too bad. Should there be a rule that each player MUST play or discard one card each round so the deck keeps moving and more events happen?

A: For one, the Drought card only kills THAT player’s rice fields (Only the player who drew the card). If that caused you to die then you didn’t save up enough rice on the earlier rounds. There is a rule that you must always draw at least one card to end your turn, so if you didn’t play a card you must discard at least one card. It explains in the rules that all your laborers must perform one action, which usually requires playing at least one card. If you cannot or choose not to play any cards from your hand you must discard at least one card. (Note: even if you played cards you can still discard too). No one has ever maxed out rice in all villages. If you did then you couldnt’ have built the temple: if a laborer is growing rice that’s all he can do. Only free laborers without rice can build the temple. So most villages should have a mixture of laborers with rice and laborers free to build or train. Sometimes one player’s village is all rice (three laborers with three rice fields each: we’ll discuss this below).

Q: On this same note – we got lucky and found the Sword and Nandin and were able to get them in place.  If one of them (or the King, Queen, etc) had been the final card in the deck, it would have been a very different game, of course.  But perhaps a bit worse because we would have reached a stasis with tons of rice in storage (we went well over 100 for the final few rounds) and just waiting to get to that card I think.

A: You can go over 100 though it’s not common. If the King, Queen, Priest, Nandin or Sacred Sword is the last card, you will lose, unfortunately. Just bad luck. I’m thinking of adding a second set of these cards in the next version so you can discard one of them if you get them too early and prevent this problem. Sword and Nandin are good to have early however. Note you must have built the towers (laterite and sandstone) and have them carved by an Artisan (or Laborer trained as an Artisan) before you put these cards in their respective places. (Tip: this is why you should build these before the wall).

Q: Did we have to lay laterite and then carve sandstone for the places where the Apsara and the King, Queen and Priest sit?  We were not sure so it left a lot of those cards still in hands and in the deck.

A: No. That is why they are different colors (Gold or Glitter Gold) on the commercial sets. You must build three towers and the wall around the temple with laterite, then sandstone, and then carve the sandstone on the towers and wall only (NOT where the King, Queen, Priest and Apsaras go). There are twice as many cards as you need to build the temple so you can discard up to half of them during gameplay while trying to draw more laborers, rice, etc.

Q: Both Circus cards got into the game early and were a real advantage for us, constantly changing roles from laborer to artisan to buffalo and back, but I felt like they should have a shorter shelf-life.  Like a real Circus they should move on…?

A: Those are very helpful. Note they can only be moved around by someone using a new card to replace them (Note: if a circus card is used as an Apsara it can be replaced only if someone trains a laborer to become an Apsara and then that player can use it any other way they wish: as a buffalo for example. Then another player can later buy a buffalo to replace the circus-buffalo and then reuse as an elephant, for example). The problem you are explaining has never come up before (too much good from a circus card). They were itinerant however, so that’s an interesting historical fact you’ve pointed out!

Q: We pulled the Queen early and she was stuck in the player’s hand for almost the whole game.  It made no sense to play her because she has no power against the Usurper or the Cham invasion…all she does is eat! Can she have some power (lessens the effect of the Usurper, or increases the power of priests or Apsara? She can act like an Apsara? Or maybe give her some power, but if the Usurper appears it makes him worse? Or if you are holding the Queen in your hand and the Usurper appears, you must play her and start losing more rice?).  It was a bit of a wasted card.

Actually, the Queen is one of the best cards. Respectively, the King is much less useful. If you play the Queen early, you can earn a lot by Honoring the Gods (though you arguably get a better return from 3 Apsaras). There are 3 cards that the Queen benefits from: one gives you 25 rice! (That pays her food bill for 5 rounds right there) Another gives you an early harvest which could be more than 30 rice! So the Queen is very useful if played at the right time. Likewise with the Priest: We recently played and the priest was used very early. Honor the Gods that liked the Priest came up twice in the next 3 rounds so it was well played. Otherwise, it can be a waste of food if played too soon or too late. 

Q: Likewise, we had the King in our hands at the mid-point, but had the Usurper in his seat.  It made no sense to make the switch because the King eats 10 while the Usurper eats only 5. Thus the Usurper sat for a very long time – his time on the throne should get worse and worse and force us to play him off the seat I think.

A: I like that idea: Usurper eats 2, 4, 6, 8, 10… every round? Better idea: I’m thinking that the King would be more worthwhile if the Cham took more tax: I suggest that, in addition to 20% tax at each harvest the Cham take one Laborer as a slave each round. Having to sacrifice a laborer each round might encourage you to play the king (and save up rice early to afford him). I’m also thinking of adding a second Cham Invasion card to the deck (along with the slave tax) to really make the King worthwhile. 

Q: We bought 2 elephants as soon as we had the Artisans, so the Cham invasion was a non-event. Too bad! 

A: I’m surprised you could afford to feed two elephants early in the game. (Note that they cost 5 rice each from your rice bank to purchase and you must feed them 2 rice per round in addition to 1 rice for each of their mahouts: so you should have been paying 6 rice per harvest to feed the 2 laborers and their 2 elephants, which is a big expense early in the game: very risky). Also an Artisan having an elephant is kind of a waste. Elephants can help you build more quickly (they are strong) but an elephant can’t help you carve more quickly (that doesn’t make sense). So that sort of forces your artisan to build rather than carve. It’s better to pair an elephant with a free laborer. 

Q: Adding to that, we really expected more challenges.  All players agreed – add a Plague that kills Laborers (thus their fields die unless another player has one to spare? or the fields immediately?).  Also, some other challenging event – Fire, Super Drought, Locusts, Evil Priest – something.  We really got through the game a bit too easily once we had one player handling all the growing.

A: I’m thinking you played the game without the Honor the Gods cards. These cards should be removed before the deal but then put back in the deck for game play. Most people lose the game several times before figuring out how to win unless I help them, and then it’s still often a close call. I actually made the current version easier because people lost too often in the early version. I think you might have been taking some shortcuts or forgot to put Honor the Gods cards in the deck (which seems likely as you thought the Queen wasn’t useful). 

Q: The score keeping is challenging, so a better system could be made – perhaps a place on each Village mat for each player to track their individual Rice Production – Consumption.  Then you only need to do the math on the Temple.  This could also be a way to award the Best Village (although being the best village of rice, while someone else is the village of artisans…seems a bit tough to decide what’s most important.  This is part of the riddle of the competition part that needs figuring).

A: The easiest way is to count everyone’s rice first and then add that to the rice bank. And then count all the people and animals you must feed and then subtract that. When counting rice it’s quicker if you count multiples of three (as most laborers will usually have three rice fields) Originally I used a mixture of Thai, US, and English coins. There are no coins here, so I couldn’t use Cambodian coins. You can use coins if you like. Or an abacus. Keeping individual scores will be confusing because you must have a collective bank for Honoring the Gods, paying taxes, buying buffalo, etc. You’re a commune. 


Special circumstances: 

I – Abandoning a Laborer’s Rice Fields: If a player wishes to use a laborer currently growing rice for another type of labor such as building the temple or training as an Apsara, he/she may do so on his/her turn in 2 ways. 

1. If there is a free space in a row of the player’s village that does not have any rice, the laborer can be moved away from the row of rice to that free space, after which the laborer may perform a different action, including working new rice fields, pairing with an Elephant and then building the temple, or training as an Artisan and then carving sandstone. The abandoned rice fields remain in play until the next harvest when each rice field yields one rice (only one per field as a Buffalo must have left with its laborer), and then these untended fields are removed from the game (i.e. moved to the discard pile). 

2. If there is no row without rice that has a free space in the village for the laborer to move to, the rice can be burned: the rice cards must be immediately removed from the game without producing any harvest. The laborer may now perform a different action. (See FAQ for further explanation

II – Moving or releasing an Elephant or Buffalo: If, for any reason during a player’s turn, a player no longer wants an Elephant or Buffalo, the animal may be set free by placing it in the discard pile or given to another of that player’s humans. This may occur because a player wishes to train a Laborer with an Buffalo to become an Apsara and it may not bring the Buffalo to the temple or simply because a player doesn’t need the Elephant and doesn’t want to feed it at the next Harvest. In such circumstances, a Buffalo or Elephant can be moved from one Laborer to another Laborer (or Artisan) during that player’s turn but it cannot be used to perform it’s actions twice in one turn (e.g. A Laborer with an Elephant can not play 2 Laterite cards and then move the Elephant to a different Laborer and then play 2 more Laterite cards, nor can he/she use the Elephant to play 2 Sandstone cards and then set the Elephant free without feeding it at the next harvest – that’s just not nice.

Note: an Elephant must be freed by placing it in the discard pile before using the Laborer with the Elephant for any action; as the Laborer will now only get to perform one action without the Elephant, the Elephant will no longer need to be fed during the next harvest and it may not be used again during the game. When you free an Elephant or Buffalo in this manner you do not get 5 rice for selling it or sacrificing it: you are setting it free. You may only sacrifice/sell a Buffalo for food if an Event Card instructs you too or if you must do so in order to Honor the Gods. Also Note: you can not free a Laborer in this way: all Laborers must remain in the villages once they have been played.

Reminder: No Laborer, Elephant, Buffalo or any other card may be given to any other player nor traded with any other player. The exception are Circus Performers, which may move from player to player only by being played by one player on his/her turn, after which another player may claim that Circus Performer by replacing it with the card it represents and then taking the Circus Performer to use in his/her village or at the temple.

Strategy and Tips:

Tip: Players may see each other’s cards, suggest gameplay for other players during their turns, and strategize several turns ahead; in fact, it’s extremely helpful to do so. 

Tip: During gameplay, it is important to work together to keep track of how much rice is being produced and will be needed during the Harvest. It is useful to maintain a stockpile in the community rice bank for unforeseen Events. 

Tip: The best strategy is to weigh the costs (in rice and manpower) of such actions as having Elephants helping construction, sending a laborer who could be farming to become an Apsara, or putting the King at the temple. Consider the cost vs the value these cards offer in building the temple more quickly or appeasing the gods. 

Tip: Along with keeping everyone fed and honoring the gods, of course, the object of the game is to build the temple in a limited number of seasons so teamwork is essential!

Note: you will not win the game while using a Circus Performer as an Apsara, Priest, Queen, or King. Although the Circus Performers may be used as these cards during the game, they must be replaced by the real cards before the final harvest.

FAQs: Many rules follow common sense. Consider the following questions:

Q: Can I play an elephant card without a laborer? 

A: Could an elephant move stones to a temple without a human helper? No. A elephant must be paired with a human to work together to build a temple: An elephant can be paired with either a laborer or an artisan.

Q: Does an artisan with an elephant get to carve 2 sandstone blocks?
A: Would an elephant be helpful carving sandstone? No. When an elephant is paired with an artisan, the artisan can play 2 temple cards (e.g. 2 laterite cards, 2 sandstone cards, or one laterite and 2 sandstone) OR he can carve only one sandstone block (in this instance the elephant would presumably watch).

Q: Can I play a buffalo without a laborer?

A: Can a buffalo grow and harvest rice without human help? No. A buffalo must also be paired with a laborer (or artisan – see below) in order to increase the human’s rice production.

Q: Can an artisan grow rice?
A: All artisans used to be laborers. They don’t forget how to grow rice. If you want to give rice fields to your artisan, he can grow rice, but he can NOT carve while he has rice fields to tend to. If you want to use your artisan to carve again you must either abandon or burn the rice fields (see Special Circumstances or FAQ below).

Q: Then can I play a buffalo with an artisan?
A: If you are using your artisan to grow rice, you can give him a buffalo to double his rice production. If you want to use him to carve the temple again you must either give the buffalo to another one of your villagers or set him free before you abandon or burn his rice fields (see Special Circumstances or FAQ below).

Q: How can a laborer (or artisan) who is currently growing rice be used to help build the temple?

A: If a laborer (or artisan) has been given rice fields to grow, he can not help build the temple unless he abandons those rice fields. There are 2 ways this may happen: 

1. If there is a free row in your village with NO rice, you may move the laborer away from his rice fields to this free space. At the next harvest you will earn rice from these fields but then these cards must be removed from the village and placed in the discard pile. 

2. If there is no free row in your village without rice to move this laborer, you may burn his rice fields by immediately removing all the cards and placing them in the discard pile. You will not earn rice for these fields at the next harvest. 

Note: After either of the above scenarios, the laborer may take an immediate action, including a) add a laterite or sandstone card to the temple; b) go to artisan school (and then carve the temple;  c) go to apsara school (and then go to the temple); d) buy an elephant and then add 2 cards to the temple.

Q: How can a laborer who is currently growing rice become an apsara or an artisan?

A: In order for a laborer to become an artisan or apsara, as explained above, he must abandon or burn his rice fields first.

Q: Can a laborer with an elephant become an apsara?
A: When a laborer becomes an apsara, she must immediately go to the temple. As apsaras have no use for elephants, the laborer must get rid of the elephant before becoming an apsara. If the player has a free laborer or artisan (even one who is currently growing rice), the elephant can be given to that human (because elephants cannot be in the village without a human). If there is no available human to give the elephant to, you may set the elephant free by placing it in the discard pile. (NOTE: If you give an elephant to a laborer who is growing rice, it provides NO benefit to that laborer – i.e. it does not increase rice production and that laborer cannot work on the temple while tending to the rice fields. Consequently, you must continue to feed that elephant 2 rice per harvest but it will allow you to hang on to that elephant until you can give it to another free laborer or artisan in your village. 

Q: Can I give a buffalo or elephant to another player?

A: No. You may only give an elephant or buffalo to one of your own laborers or artisans.

Q: Can the King or Queen grow rice?

A: Of course they can, but they wouldn’t: it’s undignified but not against the rules. 

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