The Middle Ages were an exciting time of turbulence and growth. This was especially true in the Champagne region of Northern France, where the city of Troyes was a seat of political power, a bustling focal point of trade, and a contributor to this period of vibrant artistic expression. Despite the ravages of war, plague, and a fire that nearly consumed the entire city, Troyes stood out as a beacon of civilization in an uncertain world.
As a long-standing seat of religious strength, Troyes became home to a true marvel of medieval architecture: Troyes Cathedral. Though construction started in the early 1200s, it would take nearly four hundred years for it to reach completion. Natural disasters and man-made obstacles plagued its progress, but the nobility, clergy, and humble peasants of the city all devoted themselves to the task of completing this fantastic monument.
In the game of Troyes, players take on the roles of powerful families in this medieval city, each striving to rise to political prominence and build a lasting legacy for their house, all while helping construct this magnificent monument. In this preview, we’ll look at how you’ll use pools of dice to leverage your influence in the church, your standing among the nobility, and the will of the people in an effort to lead Troyes’ rise to greatness.
Positions of Power
As a leader in the city of Troyes, you’ll find that one of the best ways to distinguish your family in the community is to work within the three main seats of power: the Palace, the Bishopric, and City Hall. Each institution exerts its strength with differently colored dice: red stand for military might, white represent your religious influence, and yellow represent your ability to resolve civil strife. Hiring citizens to represent your family in each of these three sectors gives players dice to use when dealing with events in the city. The more people you can place in any given location, the more chances you’ll have to effect change in the city and assist in the construction of Troyes’ grand Cathedral.
There are a limited number of spaces for hired help in these pillars of Troyes’ society, and the old guard can be ousted from their position if another family recruits their own influential newcomer. Having a hireling removed from office does shrink your pool of dice, but this won’t pose a problem if you’ve built up your family’s wealth. If your opponents have managed to secure the lion’s share of the seats of power, you can buy their dice to use in your plans for the city, taking control by seizing your opponents’ best resources out from under them. The tide can be turned in your favor quickly if you have the coin to support your ambition!
Crafting a Legacy
Whether you purchase your rival’s resources or skillfully place your people within the city, gaining that leverage is just the beginning of leading Troyes to even greater heights and build your family’s legacy.
In each of the first three rounds of the game, new Activity cards will be revealed. These Activity cards represent professions for your followers to take up in your name; players can hire followers and spend dice on an Activity card for a wide array of benefits. Have one of your people become a Merchant to convert your dice directly to deniers, or use your prominence in the Bishopric as a military advantage by having one of your own train as a Templar. These roles can help increase your wealth and influence, magnifying your contributions to both the city and your family’s prestige.
However you focus the efforts of your followers, all the citizens of Troyes look to the Cathedral’s construction as an inspiring endeavor. Faith plays an integral part of everyone’s daily lives in medieval Troyes, and participating in building the grand Cathedral is an opportunity not to be missed by any aspiring house. Use white dice to help build the cathedral, adding to your pool of Victory points and Influence in the process.
And beware: ending the game without having invested in the construction of the Cathedral can lead to a devastating loss of social standing. If your house doesn’t contribute enough, you’ll be docked Victory points, so make sure your family is contributing at each of the three levels of construction to secure your standing.
Wield Influence with Honor
Whatever inroads you may have made within the city, the medieval world is an unpredictable place. Each round, two Event cards are played, representing an array of hazards that the city of Troyes must weather as the years go by. Perhaps the city will be beset by Brigands or accusations of Heresy may upset the balance of power in the church. Bring the strength of your family to bear in resolving these events to gain even more Influence for your house. In turn, this Influence can be used to hire and place citizens or to reroll and alter dice values. Keep the city safe from harm, and your Influence on the affairs of the land will continue to grow.
There are many ways to leverage that Influence to bring glory to Troyes and honor to your house. Each of the great families vying for power are guided by a central figure and the principles that they embody as leaders in the Champagne region. Paying close attention to this historical figure’s personal proclivities can make all the difference at the end of the game. For example, if a player’s family is aligned with Hugues de Payns, then accruing a great deal of Influence will lead directly to Victory points. Urbain IV will reward your efforts to build the Cathedral, and Henry I will grant Victory points for resolving Event cards. Not only does this allow you to have a unique advantage over your opponents, but it makes every game of Troyes completely different from the last!
Troyes was at the heart of this exciting period in the Champagne region. Experience the tumultuous world of medieval France, build Troyes’ grand Cathedral over the course of four thrilling centuries, and bring your family to power in Troyes, available soon at your local retailer!