This week’s game session started with Toledo, as I had just received a review copy of the game (it’s been published in Finnish by Lautapelit.fi). This Martin Wallace game is about the steel and swords of Toledo: players must collect materials, make swords and present them to the emperor.
There’s a road, which the players will cover with tiles that provide steel, jewels, sword-making and fencing lessons. Each player has five pawns moving on the road. You move by playing movement cards that make you go 1-6 steps, and you can only play one kind of card each turn: just ones, twos, threes and so on.
Once you step on a tile — it seems players spend the first turns by filling the whole road with their tiles, at least that seems the only sensible way to play, but it’s not mandatory — you can use it. If it’s your own, it’s free, otherwise you’ll have to pay to the owner. If the tile is occupied, you can try to push the occupant away, but you must win a duel to do so. Duels are simple affairs where good luck is the key, but learning fencing skills will improve your odds.
Swords cost steel and gems. Once you have a sword, you must take a pawn the whole way to Alcazar to present the sword, otherwise you’ll only score half of the value. Once somebody gets three pawns in, the game is just about over. Other than swords, you can score points for collecting paintings by El Greco and by few other minor ways. Best swords win, pretty much.
It’s very simple and takes at most 45 minutes to play. Our reaction was lukewarm. It’s fun, but perhaps a tad too harmless. It’s very much a game of effective actions. I lost the game, because even though I think I was the first one to collect enough stones and jewels to make the finest sword in the game, somebody beat me to it and another player took the second-best sword before I could take that. So, I was stuck with a weaker sword and lost the game.
This is a family game from Kosmos, which explains a lot. Gamers might enjoy it, sure, but I think most seasoned gamers will find Toledo less than hot. I wouldn’t mind playing the game if an opportunity presented itself, but I don’t see myself actually wanting to play the game.