Build... because the TSAR said so...

8/10, Area Majority, Contracts, Rondel -

Build... because the TSAR said so...

The Red Cathedral:

Designer: Isra C., Shei S.
Artist: Chema Roman, Pedro Soto
Published: 2020
Players: 1-4
Playing Time: 80 Mins
BGG Rating: 7.7
BGG Ranking: 187
Publisher: Devir
Mechanics: Area Majority, Rondel, Contracts
Sleeves: MEU 45x68mm,

Game Description:

The Red Cathedral is a strategic, “Euro” board game in which the players take the roles of construction teams. Their job is to work together to put up St. Basil's cathedral in Moscow, as ordered by Ivan the Terrible. However, only one of them will be able to gain the favor of the Tsar.

Autumn is not the best time to climb up on a scaffold in Moscow, but it is still far better than doing so in the winter. Tsar Ivan wants to see results and our team will prove to him that we are the best builders in the city. We are sure to finish off those decorative arches with the brightest shining stones and ensure our place on the list of the government’s trusted workers.


Quick play overview:

A Player can do one of the 3 actions on his turn:


Take one of your Banners and place it on any available Cathedral card. A card is available if it does not  have a Banner on it and it is either a base card or a card that is directly above a card that already has a Banner.

Take the Workshop Tile from the Cathedral card and place it on an empty Workshop slot on your board by paying the required coins. This tile will givre you this bonus right away and it will improve your future actions with this colored die.



Spend the needed resources from their storage to build one previously CLAIMED cathedral section and/or decorate the new/old tiles with windows, doors and ornaments for more points at the end of the game.



Take a DIE from the rondel and move it X spaces forward where X is the number on the DIE. Player gets Y resources depending on the number of DICE on the landing spot + the bonus from the Workshop that is connected to this colored die.

The landing spot is also connected to one of the 4 cards that give some extra special actions that a player can take like getting points, trading resources,…

Game is over once a player completes his 6th Catedral card. Other players get one more turn and then the Final Scoring happens … and we have a winner.


Final thoughts:

This game is very good. The rondel is almost always calling to you »just take more materials.. look at all the stuff you will get if you move this die«. But there are also the Workshop tiles that when they become available.. you just cannot pass them etc. There are only a few turns where you have one obvious action to take.

I love it when a game gives me tactical choices every turn and the decisions are hard.



Gameplay: 10/10

There are always good options for you to choose from. The 3 simple actions provide just enough choices each turn that you don't feel overwhelmed and also the game doesn't play itself.


Art & Graphic Design: 6/10

The art is not of my taste...but it fits the theme.

Graphic design is clean. The icons are clearly visible and self explanatory that you should not need the rules to find what actions do.


Rules & Complexity: 9/10

Rules are clear and short. They are intuitive so we didn't need the rulebook once the game started.

The game is of perfect complexity for its lenght. The complexity comes from your decisions and your long term plans.. the rules are not in the way of the play.


Theme: 7/10

Not my first choice by far .. but you do feel good once the Cathedral is built and you check how much of your sweat and blood has dried up in those walls.


Fun & Replayability: 10/10

The tactical part of the game is so much fun. Time just flew by as I was 100% engaged the whole time. The risks you have to take by choosing one action and hoping that maybe, just maybe, you will be able to take that workshop tile on your next turn.. delicious.

Replayability is high. As long as you like the mechanics that this game uses, you shouldn't get bored of this game in a long time. The starting setup for each game is so different that this game will never give you a deja-vu feeling.


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