From:  Mayfair Games/Sophisticated Games
Reviewed by:  Ron McClung

Toledo is a new Board Game from Mayfair Games/Sophisticated Games.

In Toldeo, players are smiths who work to compete to make the best sword for the Emperor out of renowned Toledo steel.  They travel through the hilly streets of Toledo to acquire the materials necessary to forge a beautiful sword.  Once forged, the player then must take it to the palace.  But they must beware because Toledo is a dangerous place, full of people that are itching for a duel.

From the website:
“In the impossibly picturesque Spanish city during the year 1600, players attempt to forge magnificent swords and deliver them to the Emperor.”

Contained in the box are the following: game board depicting the city of Toledo with the Cathedral and the Palace prominently displayed, 20 wooden swordsmen playing pieces (5 per player), 32 business tiles, 84 movement cards, 6 El Greco paintings, 12 fencing skill tiles and 4 move skill tiles, 19 sword tiles, 23 steel counters, and 20 plastic gems.

Setting up is fairly simple. Players place their pieces at the Cathedral to start and layout their business tiles in front of them.  The art cards are in a sorted stack in their designated spot, as are the skill cards, sword tiles, gems and steel tiles.  The movement cards are shuffled and 5 cards dealt to each player.  The remaining movement cards are placed in their designated area.  There is a very clear picture of the starting layout in the first page of the rule booklet.

On a player’s turn, they can perform one of the following actions:

  • Draw two Movement cards
  • Place one Business tile
  • Move one or more pieces and trade with them
  • Move one piece back to the Cathedral

Business tiles are usually placed in the beginning and the strategy placement is one of the keys to winning the game.  There are 4 different types of businesses that a player can open and 2 types of each (one with one open circle and one with two open circles). They are Steel Merchant, Gem Merchant, Swordsmith, and Fencing Master.  There are a total of sixteen spaces available on the board for business tiles.  There are three other business on the board – two Taverns and an Artist.  Toledo is divided into three areas – lower, middle and upper – that effect that cost of goods sold at shops. Buying trade items from your own shops is free but buying from another player’s shop costs movement cards, based on the area of Toledo where the business is.

Movement cards are the lifeblood of the game.  They act as movement (as the name implies), as money in the game, and are also used in duels. Movement is a very interesting thing in Toledo.  When a player wishes to move, he must play a movement card that gets a piece on one of the business locations, and they always move in the direction towards the Palace.  There are circular spaces on these businesses that represent where a playing piece can go.  Some have one and some have two.  If one is empty, the player can place a piece there and perform business there.  If those are occupied, then the player can not stay there without challenging an occupying player to a duel.  The moving player can play more than one card to move, however, it must be of the same value.  This can occur as many times as the player has cards of the same value.

Trading or doing business at a business card must occur after a move.  It can not occur if your piece is just sitting there.  This is definitely a key factor in the rules that keeps the game moving along.  As mentioned, there are five different types of business cards or locations.  If the business is one of your own, the items are free.  However if the business belongs to someone else, then trade costs movement cards equal to or greater than the set cost of the area the business is in.  For instance, the lower area would cost at least 1, the middle area will cost at least 3, and so on.

At the Steel Merchant, as you would expect, you gain steel for your sword, and at the Gem Merchant, you can acquire gems.  Once you have both these items, you must get to a Swordsmith who will forge the sword.  Each sword has a steel and gem cost, as you collect steel and gems, you should be eyeing which sword you are planning on making.  Swords range from 4 steels and 4 gems to 1 steel and 1 gem.

At the Fencing Master, you can learn to fence better or move faster within Toledo.  This is represented by skill tiles.  The big catch with these is the movement skill.  If the game ends and you still possess it, you lose 2 points.  You have to get rid of it before the end of the game, but you can only do that by exchanging it with another skill tile.

At the Tavern (and there are two on the board), you can spend a movement card to gain three.  At the Artist, you can buy one of El Greco’s paintings and they add to your points at the end of the game.

Once a player has a sword, he must enter into the Alcazar of Toledo, the palace at the top of the board and present it to the Emperor.  Players do this by moving a piece onto one of the two entrance circles outside the Alcazar and moving inside.  Once inside, with or without a sword, that piece can not leave the Alcazar.  If the player has a sword to present, it is placed underneath the piece.

Duels occur when a player moves into an occupied business and wishes to take one of those occupied spaces.  This is accomplished by drawing three cards from the movement deck and referencing the dueling portion of the cards.  Skill cards also effect what these three cards mean.  The three cards drawn represent three rounds of dueling and the winner of the duel is the one that wins two of those rounds.  The loser is sent back to the Cathedral.

Once a player has three or more pieces in the Alcazar, the game ends.  Then points are tallied and the winner is declared.  Points can be obtained from swords presented to the Emperor, swords made but not presented, gems, and art.

In conclusion, the game is a challenge of resource management and strategy.  Where do you place your businesses to gain the best advantage?  Where do you move your piece to maximize your gain and build a sword?  Do you return to the Cathedral and start all over again?  It definitely has that Euro feel of a race to build up points and also has some good player interaction with the dueling.  It is a fun game with reasonable of replayability.

For more details on Mayfair Games/Sophisticated Games and their new Board Game “Toledo” check them out at their website, and at all of your local game stores.

From: Mayfair Games/Sophisticated Games
Type of Game: Board Game
Game Design by: Martin Wallace
Graphics Design by: Jo Hartwig
Number of Pages: 4 page booklet
Game Components Included: Type List of Items

  • 1 game board
  • 20 wooden swordsmen
  • 90 cards
  • 32 business tiles
  • 16 swordsman skill tiles
  • 19 sword tiles
  • 23 steel counters
  • 20 gems
  • 6 art cards
  • rules

Retail Price: $ 49.00 (US)
Players: 2 – 4
Time: 60 – 90 minutes
Ages: 10 and up

Reviewed by: Ron McClung
Date: 12/3/2008