Bridges Of Shangri-la
From the Publisher...
The Bridges of Shangri-La is a "big-box" tactics and strategy game for 3-4 players, who take on the roles of leaders of a specific tribe. There is a battle raging over the empty villages of the land and players must quickly fill those villages with their tribal leaders. As players migrate tribal leaders from one village to the next, they must not become too weak or they risk losing leaders to opposing tribes. The ultimate object of the game is to have the most leaders on the board at the end of the game.
I finally found a game that is strategic, but easy enough for my wife to play. This game is easy and quick to learn.--Terry
Review by Mike Petty
The Bridges of Shangri-La is a new release published by Uberplay here in the US. It’s designed by Leo Colovini and in some ways reminds me of his very popular Clans from last year.
Who Would Like This Game?
I’d recommend this game to families with children ages 10 and older. It will also appeal to more serious gamers who enjoy medium weight games like Web of Power and Aladdin’s Dragons.
Printed in Germany, the board and components are of the usual high quality we’d expect. There is a large, colorful gameboard depicting a landscape of deep gorges connected by broken bridges. Twenty-three small wooden bridges are set out to complete the paths between the 13 villages. Each player gets a set of 42 “master” tokens. There are also 12 glass stones used to mark villages that become isolated when all their surrounding bridges collapse. So, you can see there’s not a ton of different little bits and many sets of cards. As it is, though, the game sets up very quickly and that’s a big plus for me when it comes to replayability.
The rules are very simple and the basics can be explained in about two minutes. After a round of initial placement of masters on the board, players will have three options on a turn.
First, a player can add a master to a village where he already has at least one master. Master tokens come in seven varieties—Healers, Dragonbreeders, Firekeepers, Priests, Rainmakers, Astrologers and Yeti-whisperers. All masters have the same effects and are only distinguished by which square they are placed on in a village. No more one master of each type can reside in the same village.
A second option a player has is to recruit students. A student is a master token placed on top of a master token already in play and a player choosing this action can place up to two of his tokens anywhere on the board where he has a master. A master can only have at most one student. These students will eventually travel to neighboring villages and hopefully become masters themselves.
And that leads to the third option on a turn—the journey of students. When a journey takes place, the active player chooses a village all students (regardless of their controlling players) move to a new village that is still connected to it by a bridge. The strength of a village is determined by the total number of tokens in the villages at the start of the turn. If the village they travel from is strongest, all students move into empty squares in the new village or displace opponents’ masters who may already reside there. Displaced masters are returned to the player who controls them for later use. In rare cases a player may choose to move from a weaker village to a stronger village. In this case, only empty squares are taken over by students. Squares that are already occupied by a master cause incoming students to be returned to their owners’ supplies. These rules for traveling students are the hardest to learn, but they are quite intuitive. Players have picked them up quickly in the games I’ve led so far.
After students travel over a bridge, the bridge breaks and is removed from the board and no further travels will take place over that path. When a village is totally isolated from the others, a “stone of the wise men” is placed on the village to indicate no further actions may take place there. From this aspect of the game, it should be clear how timing becomes so important during the game. With only one action to choose from each turn, this adds a nice sense of urgency on each turn.
As soon as the eleventh stone is placed on the board, the game ends. Players count their masters (not students) on the board and the player with the most wins.
With simple rules and a quality prese
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Terry Carr -
Fair Play Games
|I'm a fan of strategic games that are easy to learn and don't take too long to play. This game fit the mold perfectly. My wife, usually a fan of the party type games, enjoyed this game. I would recommend this game to anyone who likes light or medium strategy games. For those who like extremely strategic games, I think you can find enough strategy to keep you happy - I did.
|Bridges of Shangri-La has one really outstanding mechanic that makes it one of the best abstract games I've ever tried. After moving across a bridge, it is removed - which both has huge strategic impacts and acts as a built in timer, moving the game along at a fast pace.