Sound the Call for Battle
Win the fight and spread your influence across Italy
The ground shakes as the army marches forward, coming to a halt at the edge of the battlefield. The opposing forces stretch before them, ready to enter the fray. A slow but steady drumbeat starts, echoing across the hills. A loud horn blast signals the call to arms and the mercenaries surge forward. The battle has begun!
Today we're going to talk about Condottiere's gameplay. While many fans have been waiting for the game to come back in print, many of you are new to the game. If this is you, read on to learn why the gaming community is so excited to have Condottiere available again!
Enter the Battle
In Condottiere, the city-states of Italy are bursting with wealth. Use the Condottieri, ambitious leaders of mercenary armies, to engage in battle and establish your influence across the country. Will you boldly march into conflict or carefully draw out your opponent to exhaust their army?
The mercenary cards form the backbone of your army. From the simple foot soldier with a strength of 1, to the mighty cannon with a strength of 10, players must carefully decide which mercenaries will enter the battle. With 58 mercenaries available for hire, each player could have a formidable army.
At the start of the game, each player will begin with a hand of 10 cards. The hand could be a mix of mercenaries or special cards. The strongest army will take control of the contested region. Strategically choose which mercenaries to send into the battle. You don't know what strength your opponent may have in their hand. You may choose to start by playing a simple 1, committing to the battle but not showing your strongest card yet. You must keep playing a card to stay in the battle, but you can use your weaker mercenaries to try and draw out your opponent's stronger cards.
Before the battle begins, the battle marker will be placed on an empty region on the map. This will be the area contested for that battle. Winning a battle allows you to place a control marker in your color onto the map. If you have placed all of your control markers or control three adjacent regions, you win.
Withdraw and Gather Your Strength
You don’t need to win every battle to win the war. A good general will carefully manage the army, knowing when it is best to retreat and have the advantage for the next battle. If it’s clear you won’t win the battle for a particular region, you can make the strategic choice to withdraw from the battle and let your opponents exhaust their armies. Once a card is played into the battlefield, it stays there unless a special card removes it. At the end of the battle, all the cards laid out in the field will be discarded.
Once the battle is resolved, players with no mercenaries left in their hand can choose to discard their remaining hand of cards. If all players have no cards left then the deck is reset and new hands are dealt, giving players 10 cards plus 1 bonus card for each region they control.
Think carefully about managing your hand! If you play too much in the first battle, you might have minimal influence in future battles until the deck is reset. However, if you conserve your hand across too many battles, you might be the last player with cards and be forced to discard everything you saved. Known when to press the battle and when to withdraw to strategically claim the regions of Italy.
Turn the Tide of Battle
Winning the battle takes more than just brute strength. Strategic use of special cards can turn the tide in your favor. There are 8 special cards, each with their own ability. Intuitive icons have been added to the bottom of each card to help remind players what the card’s effect is.
When you play the Bishop, the highest mercenary value among all the player rows will be discarded. You will also be able to place the peace marker on the map, blocking a region from a future battle. When you play the Scarecrow, you can take one of your mercenaries back into your hand. The Turncoat will end the battle immediately, allowing the player with the strongest army to claim victory right away. The Drummer will motivate your mercenaries and double their strength in battle. The player with the most Spies will take the battle marker and choose the next region to fight over. The Heroine will leap into battle and bring a strength of 10 to your total. Since she is not a mercenary, she won’t be affected by the Bishop, Drummer, Winter, or Spring cards. Winter and Spring will affect the field for everyone. If Winter is in play, the value of each mercenary is 1. If Spring is in play, the mercenary with the highest value gets a bonus of 3 added.
With the Spring card played, it affects all player rows. The highest mercenary here in both rows is the 6. The 6 gains a bonus of 3, giving that player a total score of 16. Though the Heroine has the highest number on her card, she isn’t a mercenary and isn’t affected by the Spring card. With the Heroine, that player has a score of 18, which gives them the lead even without the Spring bonus.
Will you be able to spread your influence in Italy? Prepare for battle and pre-order your copy of Condottiere today!