Players: 2 to 5
Game Length: 30 minutes
Best enjoyed: With 3-5 aspiring knights who want an accessible and quick-playing drafting game!
Medieval Academy is a drafting game where players are competing to be the most successful knight-in-training. However, there is no single path to this goal – there are 7 total fields that will help you on your way, and you’ll need to choose which of these to focus on if you wish to gain the most prestige! Will you serve the king in court, compete in tournaments, or instead go on an epic quest to defeat the dragon? Make sure not to neglect your education either, or the local charities, or you could see yourself publicly humiliated!
A game of Medieval Academy consists of 6 rounds. At the start of each round, action cards are drafted – players are dealt five cards that are numbered from 2 to 5 in each of the seven different fields of the game. Each player picks one of these and hands the rest to their left, receiving the cards of the player to their right, and repeats until each player has a full hand of five cards. From here, the aspiring knights take turns playing one of their cards, and moving their token 2 to 5 spaces up the field corresponding to their card, until they have each played 4 of their 5 cards.
Each field has different rules, and players will need to focus on different fields over the course of the game for the best results. Some fields are evaluated at the end of each round, some only at certain points during the game, and some only at the end of the entire game. Note that you are only judged relative to the other players on most of these fields! Even if you only played a single low card, if no other players competed on that field, you would still end up winning.
Throwing a spanner into the works is the way that ties are broken. The player who most recently arrives on a space in a track wins any ties, and one of the tracks – the Chivalry track – allows players to move other tokens at the end of the turn, allowing them to sneak a win in over a player who thought they were safely in the lead. As the game comes to a close, players will start scrambling for the massive Quest bonus, and trying to avoid the Charity penalty as well, which are doled out only at the end.
Medieval Academy is quick and easy to learn, and the drafting mechanism keeps players making tough decisions all game long. The game plays out at a good pace, and the only difficult part is making sure all players understand each of the seven fields in their first game, and how winners are determined. Usually a round of play is enough for players to understand the game in full, and after all players are experienced with the game, each field has an alternate side with more complicated rules to breathe fresh life into the game!
Medieval Academy comes recommended to anyone looking for an exciting and accessible game, and plays best with 3 to 5 players. It works excellently as a gateway game and the light-hearted cartoony art will appeal to players of all ages. It is a fairly light game, so don’t be expecting much in the way of in-depth strategy, but there is still plenty to enjoy and the alternate tracks keep the game feeling fresh.