Chartae is a perfect filler for the 5 minute 2-player market.
Designer: Reiner Knizia
Artist: Rita Lombardi
Artist: Michele Mor
Game Type: Abstract Strategy
Game Type: Tile Placement
Initial Year of Release: 2019
Age Range: 8+
Expected Playtime: 5-15
Number of Players: 2!
Theme and What is it?
Chartae is a short abstract strategy for 2 players. Designed my Reiner Knizia, it will make waves just for that alone. The game is as simple as it gets. The box claims a 10 minute play time. It takes 10 minutes to open the box, read the rules, setup the game, play the game, score the game, and stick a pizza in the oven. 10 is a vast overstatement. It is more like 2-5 minutes. Which is perfect for a filler.
You can place a tile. Or you can spin a tile. The one with the largest connected region at the end wins. One player is aiming for land and one is aiming for sea. That is the entire game. All of it. Chartae is that simple.
Ready for my rendition of the rules? Put the compass rose in the center of the table. Stack the tiles. Choose a first player and assign the sea and land player. Then on a turn each player either adds a tile or spins any on the table 90 degrees clockwise. If both players spin back to back, the next player has to add a tile. The grid needs to stay 3×3 so as soon as a given dimension reaches this maximum the places tiles can go are limited.
It is great to have some 2 player filler games for when someone shows up early or someone else is late to game night. I was hoping this would fill the role. We end up playing best of 3 and that takes about 10 minutes total including rules learning. It is exactly what I was hoping it would be.
Game Build Quality
There are 9 tiles and a rulebook in many different languages. The entire box essentially fits in my pocket. The build quality of those 9 tiles is thick and awesome.
I love the way the tiles look like a vintage map in style and content. They really fit the theme of Chartae perfectly. They could have picked a more popping color scheme. But this is a better choice in my book.
There is a give an take to planning the game. There is an equal number of each type of water/land split tiles so the order they come out makes a huge difference. The number of ways they can make a 3×3 grid and the order the options are presented are a huge favor to the game. Spinning a tile can turn things to your advantage but gives up the opportunity to place an entirely new tile in a favorable way.
Age Range & Weight
8+ is perfect. Chartae can easily be understood by a young audience. It is fast and easy to reset. This is a perfect win for accessibility to all gamers. The only ones who might dislike it are those who don’t want a filler game in their evening at all.
Chartae is a perfect filler for the 5 minute 2-player market. It doesn’t offer any ground breaking new mechanics. But it does offer fun. It is enjoyable to give evil decisions to your opponents.
Free tip, add tiles that are REALLY good for your opponent but a single spin will disconnect it. Doing this rather than just trying to increase your own region often makes for a bigger end game swing. So many ways to explore the tactics in a game with only 9 tiles.
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