Coimbra Board Game Review

There are a lot of tabletop games that use dice as one of the component. Some of them will use the dice roll to randomize the setup, maybe in every round. There are others where we roll the dice to determine the result like we need certain die faces or total value in order to achieve something.

In the tabletop game design, there is also an idea of multiuse component like cards. The cards can have multiple icons but each icon is for different uses and we can only choose one use, denying our access to the other.

Then there is a game like Coimbra that combine the dice and the multiuse aspect. In this game, the die value and the color are two different things that we need to utilize.

It’s not just choose one and ignore the other. As a result, we get a game with simple dice drafting mechanism but with a deep decision space to utilize the dice.

So, what is this Coimbra board game? How do we play the game? Is there a solo variant to play the game?

Those are probably just a few questions that came to mind after hearing about the game. Well, in this article, I’m going to share with you my Coimbra Review based on my experience on playing the game and what I can find from the internet.

Hope this helps. Is Coimbra going to be the best board game with dice drafting mechanism?

Click or tab on any sections from the table of contents to jump right to that part. Use the red arrow button on the bottom right corner of the screen to head back to the top.

Overview

Game’s Title: Coimbra
Genre: Dice Drafting, Auction / Bidding, Dice Placement, Competitive, Portugal Setting, Age of Discovery Setting, Set Collection
Designer: Flaminia Brasini, Virginio Gigli
Artist: Chris Quilliams
Publisher: eggertspiele
Number of Players: 2 – 4
Playtime: 75 – 120 minutes
Official Website: Coimbra (eggertspiele.de)

Release Year: 2018
Price: $70

Contents:
1 Rulebook
1 Game Board
4 Player Boards
4 Favor Tiles
24 Monasteries Tokens
4 Crown Tokens
4 Influence Scoring Tiles
5 Dice Tokens
1 Cap Tile
13 Dice (1 white, 3 for each gray, orange, purple and green)
12 Dice Holder (3 per each of 4 player colors)
8 Cube Markers (2 per each of 4 player colors)
4 Lions (1 per each of 4 player colors)
4 Pilgrims (1 per each of 4 player colors)
100 Disks (25 per each of 4 player colors)
71 Cards (56 x 87mm):
Voyages Cards (15)
Character Cards (56)

Expansion:
Royal Treatment (2018)

About Coimbra Board Game

Coimbra is city in Portugal which is known for the University of Coimbra, the oldest academic institution in Portuguese-speaking world. The university was classified as one of the World Heritage by UNESCO in 2013 for their historical buildings.

This Coimbra board game is set in The Age of Discovery, between 15th to 18th century. At that time, the European had begun exploring the world outside the Mediterranean, led by Portuguese and Spanish people. One of the result is the discovery and colonization of America.

In this game, players are one of the head of long-established wealthiest houses of the city trying to gain prestige in this prosperous era. There are many ways to do so.

One of them is by gaining favor and influence from various different citizens. The citizens can be a scholar, cleric, merchant or council and each of them values different things.

Merchants prefers money, while Councils favor security by recruiting Guards. The Scholars care for the academic progress while Clerics needs help to connect with different monasteries around the city.

By helping the citizens with their needs, they be part of our houses and help us a long the way. This will increase the influence among their friends.

Different citizens will give further help. Some can only give one time immediate bonus while others can give an ongoing ability that we can use multiple time for the rest of the game.

If we are investing in Clerics and their monasteries, each Monastery can also give some benefit. While managing the resources for these citizens we also need to invest on the voyages to different cities.

The main mechanism of this game is dice drafting and dice worker placement using a multi use dice. Each round, up to 13 dice will be rolled and players will take turn choosing 3 of them.

Players will then have to assign them to different part of the cities to recruit citizens. The value of the dice will determine the cost to persuade the citizen while the color will give income of the associated resources.

There are 4 different colors of dice associated with the four different type of citizen and a wild color. Yellow is Merchants for Money, Gray is Council for Guards, Purple for Clerics to advance the pilgrim and Green is Scholar for the prestige or victory points.

Whoever has the highest value dice gets to choose which of four citizens first. However, that means they also need to pay the higher cost. So, the dice value becomes like a bidding or auction.

Trying to go cheap while still getting a good influence is one of the strategy to win the game. If we cannot afford to pay the cost, we will lose the chance to recruit that citizen and any benefit from them.

Players also have to please the citizen at the upper part of the city first. If we can manage the resources right, we can use the bonus from the first citizen to afford the citizen in the lower part.

We can also send worker to the castle to gain favor from the king. While this will not allow us to recruit any citizen, but it can help the other worker.

The game is over after 4 rounds. Each player will count their prestige or victory points from various ways. Whoever has the most points wins.

In 2019, Golden Geek Award nominate Coimbra as one of the best game in Strategy Board Game category and Best Artwork category of 2018.

This next video is a review for Coimbra by Amy and Maggie from ThinkerThemer channel.

Component

Coimbra comes in a standard square box.  The size of the box is about 29.6 x 29.6 x 7 cm.

We can see the art from Chris Quilliams as the box cover showing the city of Coimbra with a water front, a castle on top of the hill and the city in between. Almost on every corner of the box we can find several characters in the game with cartoonish art style.

At the top right corner of the cover, we can see a flag that represent which language that the copy use. So, if we buy this from second hand market, it is probably a good way to tell.

The game itself is language independent. Other than names of some cards there is no other text so the issue would be the rulebook.

On the back of the box, we can find illustrations of some parts of the components during the game. We can read two paragraphs of text explaining what the game is about, a list of all components in the box and some information about the developer team.

Inside the box, the game comes with a blue plastic insert that seems to have a dedicated slot for each type of different components. Even for cardboard components after we punch them out from the single sheet.

Some of the slot has embossed base shaped like the component it was designed for but not all of them. So, it is a nice reminder which component goes where.

The slot for the cards even has rooms for cards with sleeve and for fingers so we can easily pick them out of the insert. All of the wooden and plastic components come inside each type own plastic zip lock bag.

It seems that we can choose to put those components into their designated slot or to put in a bigger well if we want them inside the bag. In a way, I feel like there is some wasted space.

While this insert looks nice for putting the game back and organizing, but a bit unnecessary. I kind of wish that they have a different insert where they separate the insert into multiple smaller parts. Separation based on players will be even better.

As it is, we have to place this big insert on the table which is not helpful for limited table space. When I play the game, I have to move the components to my own smaller bins so it can fit in on the table.

Another issue that I found is that if we put the box standing, the components will fall down or off the insert. So, if we somehow rotate the box while moving it, it will be a mess, even it is not a huge mess. Maybe an elastic band can keep them in place.

I think we might want to keep that cardboard sheet to help keep things in place.

This copy that I used for this review is actually my friend’s. I don’t know exactly how the game comes as a new one. Hopefully this next unboxing video by Ryan from Nights Around the Table channel can give the idea.

Rulebook

The first thing that we can find inside the box, other than the promotional leaflet from the publisher, is the rulebook. It has 16 pages with almost the same size as the box footprint, typical for this kind of game.

On BGG, we can find the digital file for the English rulebook via this link. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the link on the publisher’s page.

According to BGG, Coimbra has been printed in several versions of different languages including, Chinese, Korean, Italian, Portuguese, French, German and Polish. On this page, we can also find more translation like Spanish, Dutch, and probably more, but maybe not the official.

This rulebook already includes not just the instruction of how to play but explanation for all variants of cards and tiles that comes in the base game. It is very colorful with a lot of illustrations to help with the explanation.

Here is the table of content of this rulebook.

Intro (Page 1). This single page explains the general idea of the game, starts with a bit about the setting and ends with the theme of what the players are going to do in the game. It is nice that they don’t just use the same art and illustration as the box cover.

Components List (Page 2). This page has a list of all components that comes in the box. Each component will only show one example like cards just to give the idea what they look like and the total amount of each. Except for the Monastery tiles, they also show the back side if the back is really important.

Setup (Page 3 to 4). This is a step by step how to setup the game. There is also details and explanations about the Game and Player board, including every features on them.

Some of the setup will be different based on the player count. Instead of separating them on different pages, we can find them on this same page. The differences are the Dice Tokens,  Influence Tiles and Starting Character cards.

It is nice that they put the arrow to point out where we should put the components on the board. The only issue is probably the Starting Corners for Pilgrim that the arrow is probably not very clear.

Choosing Player’s Start Condition (Page 5). Maybe this should be part of the setup. However, since it has a couple more steps, it is reasonable to have its own section.

Character Card General Explanation (Page 5). This is basically about how to read the character cards. They also point out the difference between cards from I deck and II or III.

Not all icons that we can find on any character cards will be explained here. This is just for mostly the top part and the diplomas. The bonuses will be explained in the BONUS OVERVIEW section of the rulebook.

There is also a bit of explanation of how to read to lower part of the Player Board. A bit of a complain regarding this is that they do not show how we are supposed to lay down cards next to the board other than the zone.

Playing the Game (Page 6 to 10). This section explains the basic turn order of the game. Each round there will be 6 phases from A to F. This section starts with the table of summary of each phases.

Each phase then has its own section to elaborate how to resolve them. There will be examples for each also. Each section has related notes and important notes on it. This can be helpful reminder to search when revisiting the game after a while.

One note about the new player order or phase D is that if the number of crowns are tied, it will switch the position. So, the first player before can end up going later.

End of the Game and Scoring (Page 10 to 11). The game will end after 4 rounds, no other end game trigger. Then we proceed to scoring with 5 scoring categories: Voyages, Influence Tile, Diplomas Set, Character’s End Game Bonuses and leftover Resources.

There is also a tie breaker which is very small text among two big sections. An important note is probably from diplomas where we can have many sets as long as the icon is only used once.

From the influence track bonus, there is also another rule in addition to rule for 2 players. In 3 or more players, if the disc of players in the third place is still on space 0, they will not get the reward.

Bonus and Reward Overview (Page 11 to 12). This part explains the general icons for bonuses like slash icon where we have to choose the reward or the mint green color that indicates the reward.

There is also “X” icon that indicates the bonus can happen multiple times. Otherwise, it is just one time only, probably immediately depending on the other icon of bonus type.

The second part explains how we move the Pilgrims and get bonuses from Monasteries. Regarding the monasteries, when the Pilgrim reaches any Monasteries, a disc must be placed if there is not any of the same color and immediate bonus must be resolved or forfeited.

The number of Pilgrim movement is up to. We can always move it less or none.

Favor Tile Bonuses (Page 12). This section explains bonuses from all 4 Favor Tiles. Here is where we can find how to use the Dice Cap Tile. It will move the position and increase the cost, so up to 9 is possible. Also, it only works on dice for any location other than the Castle.

Character Cards Bonuses (Page 13 to 15). This explains the bonuses of every character cards. Apparently all character cars are unique so we can find all 56 of them here.

The way they categorize is based on the type of bonuses, with the exception for the starting character cards. Similar bonuses will be put next to each other. Any category can have cards from either II deck or III deck.

Unfortunately, the cards doesn’t have a name or number so, even after we can find the right category, we probably need to scan every part to find the cards that we are looking for.

Monasteries Bonuses (Page 15). Similar to previous section, this one explains the bonuses of every Monastery tiles. All 24 unique tiles are there.

We still need to scan everything but since all of them are on the same half of page, it is not as difficult as the Character cards.

Task of Voyages Cards (Page 16). This is for all 15 unique Voyages Cards. Luckily, this one has a name for each card. I think the issue is more on the card design. If only they can make the scoring icons bigger compared to the illustration about the voyage itself.

Credits (page 16). Here we can find the list of everyone involved in the development of this board game, Coimbra, including the playtesters. We can also find the contact info of the publisher, but not sure if they are accepting request for missing or component replacement.

For the most part, this rulebook has done a great job explaining everything, with visuals and examples. However, like most games, there are a couple of details that need further clarification.

For example, there was a question about calculating the crown at the end of the game since we have calculate it during phase D in this thread. There is also a question whether gaining an influence on purple from Pilgrim can give the benefit immediately like in this thread.

One that hasn’t been officially answered was about whether we can discard a card from I deck and buy them back from the discard pile in this one. The general consensus seems to say it is impossible and that it is very unlikely to happen.

So, the missing part are mostly details of very rare situation but could happen.

The rulebook tried to use a lot of things like using font color and italic style to emphasize something important, which should be helpful but I found it a bit too much. Especially when combined with a lot of colorful pictures.

Some of the text feels buried among blocks or pictures. The visual clearly stands out. Maybe it is just me but it kind of difficult to look at the text. The one with a lot of text can have pointers but some still feels like a block of text.

It just feels more complicated than the actual game is. The rule and explanation overall is there. It just needs the willingness from players to read them.

It seems that the rulebook utilize the space very well. The only illustration for decoration is on the front page.

Dice

The game comes with 13 standard plastic d6 with 5 different color: 1 white, 3 green, 3 purple, 3 gray and 3 orange. The size is about 1.5 cm but they don’t have rounded corner, I mean, not deep enough as other dice.

All of them are using pips for the value instead of number with white color for the pips, except for white dice that use black. In the box, the insert has a big slot for plastic bags and at the bottom there is a slot for dice.

There is a room for 14 dice leaving one slot empty so we can easily pick them up. This is the one that I’m not a big fan of from the insert design perspective.

The dice will stay in that space only if we still keep things in plastic bags and put those bags on top of the dice. Otherwise, nothing will keep them and the dice will fall off.

Does that mean that we are supposed to not use the other slot to keep the components and keep them in the bags? Again, nice if they are look organize but not very useful.

These dice can be considered as the main part of this Coimbra game. Each round, one player will roll these dice and players will take turns choosing them until each player gets 3.

The dice are multi use, based on their pip value and the color that works separately. We may want the pip value but not the color or vice versa.

These will determine the actions and the resources that we can get of any given round. This dice system gives a depth to the decision space for this game.

We will only play with all 13 dice with 4 players. With 3 or 2 players, we have to remove some dice and they will not be used in the game. Here are the details.

4 players: use all dice
3 players: REMOVE 1 Green and 1 Purple
2 players: REMOVE 2 Green, 2 Purple, 1 Gray and 1 Orange

These setups actually change the dynamic between player counts. With 2 or 3 players, all players will get enough chance to choose the Orange and Gray.

These 2 colors are important to generate resources which we need to activate the action. Purple can lead to some bonuses but situational while green will only give victory points which is not very useful early in the game.

But that is not the case with 4 as there are still only 3 Orange and 3 gray. As a result, with 4 players, they have to diversify to either Purple or Green color. The white becomes more important as it is considered as wild for the 4 colors.

With 3 or 2 players, the white is only an alternative and players are less likely to pursue the green or even the purple one. Of course, it’s not a guarantee that all players will agree to share the color evenly.

One player might be so desperate to get one type of resources and therefore choose two dice of that color. Obviously, the opponents have to consider that and can prevent it if they want.

According to the poll on BGG at this moment, 3 players is considered the best player count to play this game.

Face Value, Bidding and Cost

The pip value determines the bidding power and the cost. Whoever has the highest value of dice will get the first chance to do the action.

On the other hand, going first comes with a price of paying more. Maybe the cards that we are choosing is worth the price. However, if we don’t choose the dice that is high enough and other player can choose to overbid, we still have to pay a lot and lose the card that we were trying to get.

If then we cannot afford to pay the price, we lose the chance to get the cards and only get resources. With that in mind, we also need to consider what cards are available.

We may want to get the other weaker card if we lose the bidding. Maybe it is not that bad and we can just pay less. By paying less we will have more resources to pay in subsequent actions or rounds.

The game only has four rounds so in earlier rounds, we might want to save a lot and be prepared for later rounds. On the other hand, maybe the roll result just doesn’t give the cheaper value. Or maybe there is only one dice with very low value.

Because of that, player turn order becomes crucial. Whoever goes first to choose the dice, not the action have access to all of the dice.  At the same time, there is not enough ways to control the turn order, in my opinion.

Since all dice will be rolled at the start of the round, we know exactly the possible bidding power of our opponent.  There is only one way to change the dice value with the cap tile and it already require sending another dice to different spot.

Other than that, we might want consider paying attention to our opponent’s progress and situation. If we know what they are trying to pursue we probably can tell which card they are trying to go for. We can try to compete or just choose differently.

The opponent’s resources can determine their next action. Maybe they are not trying to get any cards and pay the cost but they can still generate resources with high value dice.

Dice Holder

This next one is probably the best component of the game. These plastic pieces shape like a small castle will hold one dice. If we look at them closely, we can see the texture of stones on the wall and at the bottom of these holders. The game comes with 12 of these holders with 3 for each of 4 colors.

How we use them is that after we draft the dice each round, we will put the dice onto this holder to indicates that the dice belongs to us not to other players.

It may sound unnecessary but it will prevent the dice from being accidentally bumped and change to different faces. As mentioned above, dice faces in this game will determine the bidding power, turn order and the cost.

We will also move the dice and the holder a lot on to and out from the game board. This is very important. Sadly, that means if we lose this, we have to find a way to replace it or the game can be unplayable. It is not going to be an easy replacement as I have not seen any store selling this type separately.

Maybe like putting a small paper with the player color and it will hurt the experience. Even that will not solve the possibility of changing the dice face.

As much as I love this component, it seems like some dice still doesn’t fit nicely to some of these dice holder. The room for the dice is either perfectly fit or slightly smaller.

While we can push it a bit and it will fit in but taking them out again will be another problem. I wouldn’t be surprised if it will eventually wear off.

I tried with other standard D6 and I think some can easily fit in and others cannot.

The size of the base is about 2.4 x 2.4 cm, and the total height of the wall is about 1 cm. For storage, the insert has three slots for all 12 dice holders. It seems like the design of this holder allow us to stack the holder on top of each other. So, each slot can take two holders, each with one more on top.

However, so far, this is the one that will fall off first when I place the box standing.

Player’s Disks

The game comes with 100 wooden disks with 4 of the player colors. So, each player will get 25 of them. I think this is a very generic component so we can easily replace them. We only need to find the right color.

The diameter is about 1.6 cm with 0.5 cm thickness which is identical to all 100 disks. In this game we will be placing this as marker on the main Game Board.

Each player will put one on the scoring track, one of each 4 influence track, up to 6 on Voyages area and up to  14 disks on the Pilgrim Map. It is very unlikely that we will use all of the last 20 for the Voyages and Pilgrim Map but 25 is still the maximum number.

If somehow we want to replace them with something, the color doesn’t matter as long as we know which player has that color. I think the size is right for each spaces on the game board.

We probably can go even smaller. However, on the tracker, it is possible that we have to stack the disk of one player on top of the other player’s. Specifically for Influence track, whoever got in the space first is important.

On Pilgrim, Scoring and Voyages, it really doesn’t matter. We can even use pawns or other pieces as long as it is not that big.

For storage, we can keep these disks per player in a separate zip lock bag. Alternatively, the insert has four slots in the form of long tube, one for each player where we have to place the disks standing.

Again, it is nice to look them when they are organized. However, during the game, because we do not know for sure the number of disks that a player will be using, we have to have them in general supply on the table.

The problem is if we do not have enough table space, we have to place the insert which is the same size as the box  nearby just for these disks. Personally, I rather just take the disks out of the insert and place them on the table to a smaller bowl or bin.

One issue that I find with this disks is specific for the scoring track. The scoring track has the number to indicate the score and we just put this marker on top of it. The problem is that the track only goes up to 100 points where we can get more than 100.

Usually in other games, they will use a different token where we can just flip the token and it will say “+100” or similar to that. None of these disks have that.

I don’t know how likely that one player can score very high and the other very low to the point where their disks will be nearby each other. If that happens, it can be confusing.

Player’s Cubes

In this game, each player will also get 2 wooden cubes of their color. Similar to the disks, they will use these cubes as the marker. But, instead of on the main game board, players will be using these on their Player Board.

On the player board, there will be two tracks for two different resources, Coins and Guards. The player board will have two series of numbers from 1 to 20 and we will be placing the cube on top of them that indicates the amount that we currently have.

We will also be constantly adjusting the amount by moving the two cubes up and down as we gain and spend those resources.

The size of each cube side is about 1 cm. They are very generic and we can easily find replacement from the local store. The only problem would be to find the one with the same color as the official colors.

Because of the tracks on the Player Board, we probably cannot replace these cubes with something bigger. Smaller is possible if we can find a pawn with that small for the base.

I understand that they cannot use just the disks to simplify the component. But at the same time, maybe they can use different track design for the board to accommodate the disk.

In that case, I suspect they will go with the disk because stacking cube is easier to fall. It’s not a big problem.

Player’s Pilgrim

Each player will also get 1 Pilgrim pawn which is shaped like a human that has the player color. The overall size is about 1 x 2.3 cm with 0.8 thickness.

In this game, we will be placing this pawn on the Pilgrim Map of the Game Board. More about the board later.

It will start from the Castle at the center and we can move the pawn following the designated path based on the player’s influence. These path will lead to Monasteries where we can earn different kind of bonuses.

The main way to trigger the Pilgrim movement is by picking the purple dice or white dice and trigger the purple one. Other than that, some of the characters that we recruited may give one time bonus for extra one or 2 steps movement.

Player can choose to invest in their cleric or purple track, moving it up so everytime they trigger the Pilgrim movement, it will move farther. They can reach out a lot of Monasteries and get various bonuses.

But the opponent can choose differently and maybe just move their Pilgrim once or twice throughout the game.

From the component’s perspective, we can probably choose different shape, maybe just generic pawn instead of something closer to human. It really doesn’t matter as long as the replacement pieces can stand. Even cubes can work.

I think this can be an issue where several Pilgrims are on the same spot. They are not blocking each other. Any spot on the Pligrim map can have multiple pawns at the same time.

The problem will happen on certain spots where the area is too small or too close to other spots to accommodate multiple pawns. Some may argue that the chances of any Pilgrim to be on the same spot is very low.

The game does force players to choose different quadrant of the map to start. However, they can still move to different quadrant along the way.

Player’s Lion Token

The last wooden component for each player is the Lion Token. This component probably has the most interesting shape and yet the least amount of usage.

They have the shape like a standing lion similar to those from any coat of arms. We can actually place them standing. The only purpose of this token is for the player’s turn order.

In this game, who goes first in any given round can change. It is based on the position of this Lion Token of the player’s order track. The owner of the lion at the top will go first followed by the one at the second, third and finally fourth position.

During each round, players can try to claim the first position. As mentioned above related to dice, if they can go first, they have access to all of the dice and depending on the roll result, it can be crucial.

So, we will be adjusting the position the position of these tokens 4 times throughout the game. It is possible that we will not move them at all, depending on the player’s attempt to overtake the higher position.

The overall size of each token is about 2.7 x 1.5 cm with 1 cm thickness. It is bigger than the Pilgrim.

While the shape is nice but functionally, we can replace this with other generic components like cubes and markers as well and it still works the same. We just need to find the right 4 colors.

All 3 player’s components: Lion, Pilgrim and Cubes seems to have their own specific slot on the insert. Again, they are nice but it is too big, especially for the cubes and I prefer separate bins per player instead of per component type.

Dice Tokens

This is the first cardboard tokens that we need to punch out from the sheet. These are the 5 square tokens with different pip value on it similar to a face of a die. There is going to be one token with the value of 5, 4, and 2 and 2 tokens with the value of 3.

The purpose of these tokens is for PLAYER SCALING. They will be used only in a game with either 3 or 2 players but not 4.

The way it works is that for every bidding row, we will place one or two of these as if another player is bidding on that spot. Unless, we bid higher with higher value die, we will not go first.

It is as if an imaginary player win the bid and choose and remove one card per token. As general idea, the card that they will choose first to remove is the card with the highest influence. If multiple cards has that same influence value, then they will choose the card at the left most space the given bidding row.

What that means is players can figure out which card will most likely to be removed first because of this imaginary player in addition to the other actual opponent. They can make decision based on that.

The game needs this because regardless of the player count, the three rows of cards that we can bid on will always has the same number of cards. Without additional dice to remove them, with 2 or 3 players, players can just  agree to dominate one area without trying to compete.

Maybe it is not an issue but I kind of wish that where we place these tokens will be more random. With the rule as written, the same token or set of these dice tokens will always occupy the same space.

It’s not like there is a tendency where the more powerful cards to be in certain rows. Any rows can have any cards.

I’m sure the developer has a reason for this based on multiple playtests. Maybe it is based on the order of resolving the action which has to be from the top row to the bottom.

The insert has specific slot for these tokens in the second row from the top between slots for Crown Tokens and Favor Tiles.

The size of these square tokens is about 2.8 cm.

Influence Scoring Tiles

These are the 4 rectangular cards with the yellow background color in vertical orientation. They are the Influence Scoring Tiles and we will be using all of them in any session of Coimbra game.

Each tile are two sided. One side for 4 player game and the other one for 2 or 3 player session.

The tile will have a bell icon at the top left corner while the right column will show the VP that each player will get. On the left column, the bottom part will show a Lion icon with a number that indicates the number of players.

In this game, every player will have access to 4 Influence tracks. Players will try to be at the top of the track and whoever at the top first will get higher additional victory points as stated by these tiles.

We will be placing one of these on those tracks randomly. The tiles are different as for the reward that the player will be getting.

Here are the details.

Tile #1 (4 Player side / 3 & 2 Player side)
1st Place: 10 VP / 7 VP
2nd Place: 6 VP / 3 VP
3rd Place: 3 VP / Max. 3 differences

Tile #2 (4 Player side / 3 & 2 Player side)
1st Place: 12 VP / 9 VP
2nd Place: 8 VP / 4 VP
3rd Place: 4 VP / Max. 3 differences

Tile #3 (4 Player side / 3 & 2 Player side)
1st Place: 14 VP / 11 VP
2nd Place: 9 VP / 5 VP
3rd Place: 5 VP / Max. 3 differences

Tile #4 (4 Player side / 3 & 2 Player side)
1st Place: 16 VP / 13 VP
2nd Place: 11 VP / 6 VP
3rd Place: 6VP / Max. 3 differences

Since we will be placing them randomly, the value of each track will be different from game to game. In one game, maybe the purple track is worth more while on another game, it is probably the lowest one.

In theory, this will give consideration for players as to which track they should be investing more right from the start of the game. Personally, I have never played that way so far where this will define my strategy of that session.

I don’t know for sure but I think it is better to just go with the flow for the first one or two rounds. Then, on the third and final round, the information from these tiles will be more useful. Being tactical about that is more fun and gives flexibility.

For me, the idea is not about racing, but whether we can still make the difference. It is possible that every player can go to the top or if all players are close enough to each other in any given track.

The VP that we will get is still based on whoever at the farthest or top position first. It is a bit different with the 2 players variant as the one on the second place needs to catch up. This is a great player scaling system.

On the other hand, maybe we really do not want to compete and let the other players take more points. But then we can focus on other track that the other players haven’t invested yet.

So, there is definitely a benefit of just sprinting to the top making the other players think that they will not be able to catch up. But maybe they will just focus on competing with each other. Being at the second place still get almost double the points per tile than the third one.

On the other hand, if we focus all of our effort just to increase the track and as it turns out, nobody is competing, there is a chance that we are being unproductive or inefficient. Especially just one track. I had one session where one player won all 3 tracks and the other only won track in 2 player game.

The reason that we cannot really strategize around these tiles is because there are a lot of different ways to increase the influence. We can get them mainly from recruiting characters. Sometimes it is just one time influence but there are some characters that can consistently move up the influence tracks.

We can also gain something from Pilgrim by visiting certain Monasteries. Player may reach that space in random time throughout the game, assuming they are working on that.

So, it is really unpredictable. Even from character cards, there is no guarantee that a player will always get what they want. They may end up choosing another character that moves the different track.

For me, this tiles, instead of defining a strategy, they are more about creating a game arc. After one or two rounds, maybe even three, we will have better chance. It will be less unpredictable. Then we can make some estimation whether to work on it or just choose different path.

The two player variant is a bit different because the second player really need to catch up, especially on the track with the highest valuable tiles. Instead of losing 13 points, we can lower that and get 6 points.

If I can have one complaint about this tile, it has something to do with how we position the game board and where we will sit. The tile itself is already small and on the Game Board, the position is at the corner.

It is not really easy to look at. So, maybe that is another reason I didn’t pay attention until later in the game. I just wish maybe they can have a different design for the tile or the layout of the Game Board to make it easier.

Sure, we can easily pick it up and return them. But maybe if they use, at least different colors for each tile, we can just glance and know which track is worth more without knowing the exact value.

The size of the tile is about 3.8 x 2.8 cm with 2mm thickness. As mentioned before, the insert has dedicated slot for these tiles in the second row, in the same section as slots for Crown Tokens and Dice Tokens.

Crown Tokens

These are the smallest cardboard components in Coimbra. All 4 of these are almost identical, just with different color and icon, The rest of them, including the purpose are the same.

On either side, we can see two crown icons. Players can collect Crown in order to change the player order so they can go first or earlier than their opponent during next round.

If we get any of these tokens, we will get 2 Crowns. Whoever gets the most gets to start first.

In this game, we will be placing these tokens on one of the Character cards with the same type or color that we will be recruiting in any given round. So, if we recruit that specific character with this token, we will get extra benefit.

We will not keep these tokens as they will be returned to the next drafting phase.

In a way this can make the character more favorable compared to others. If then the card itself doesn’t give enough benefit, maybe this can give more reason for players to choose them.

Another benefit of the Crown is that, during the last round, every crown that we have will become points with 2 Crowns for 1 point. So, having this on the last round means getting 1 point per token.

In a game where we will get score like over 100 points, that one point doesn’t really matter. It is very rare to have the score of one player very close to another.

Personally, I don’t think these tokens have made me choose a character just because they have this. Even going first in this game is not really something we want to pursue first.

We know that we will have the same set of dice we can draft from in every round. That means, the only benefit will be the value, which is a random thing.

There is a chance that when we go first, the dice roll will not give a good result for anybody. In that case, going after these tokens is a waste.

There is a specific way to place these tokens on Character cards. It will be the first card with the same color or type, starts from the right most column with the top card going down. Then we look at the next column until all tokens have been distributed.

It is still random. An already valuable card can also have this and makes it even more valuable. On the other hand, if we play using Dice Tokens, then, all good cards will be removed by the dice tokens, alongside these Crowns.

I thought maybe placing on the weaker or cheaper will be more interesting.

The tokens are not square shape, with 2 x 2.1 cm. As mentioned before, the insert has dedicated single slot for all 4 of these tokens in the same section as the Influence Tiles and Dice Tokens.

My complaint for this is that, I think it is very easy to lose this. The color only helps to place them on the card but not for other purposes. The problem is that the color will blend with the cards. There are several times that I forgot that the tile is still there when we have to discard the remaining cards.

Favor Tiles

These next 4 components are the biggest rectangular cardboards pieces of this game. All of them have identical shape like a wall of a castle. Either side of each of these tiles will show the same information in horizontal orientation.

These are the Favor Tiles. In this game, there are 4 rows or spaces that we can send the dice workers to. Three of them are the city parts where we can recruit characters while the last one is the Castle.

If we send workers here, we will not recruit any characters or pay them but we can get one of these 4 Favor Tiles, if they are still available. The castle can have multiple days and players can compete to be the first to take one of these tiles.

I guess, thematically, we get some help from the King of the Castle to help us with the recruiting effort.

We will be using all 4 of these tiles in any game session. So, there is no additional replay value or setup variability from this.

If we do get this, we take the tile and gain the bonuses, indicated on the tile. Then, during the setup of the next round, we will return the tiles and they are open to be drafted again.

Here are the details of these 4 Favor Tiles.

Favor Tile #1
Bonus: 7 Guards / 7 Coins (Immediate Bonus)
Crowns: 0

Favor Tile #2
Bonus: 2 VP + Move Pilgrim up to 3 Steps
Crowns: 1

Favor Tile #3
Bonus: 4 VP + Use the Dice Cap on one of the Dice
Crowns: 2

Favor Tile #4
Bonus: Invest on a Voyage card (Immediate) + Reduce the Cost of Investing on Voyages by 2 during phase C and F, as long as we have the tile.
Crowns: 3

I think the first two are very straightforward. We just gain the bonus similar to bonus from recruiting a character. The third one is a bit tricky with how to use the Dice Cap.

By using the cap, we are increasing the value of the other dice that we own on the other rows. It will then change the position and the cost of that dice.

The most powerful one would be the fourth tile. Especially if, during the same round, we are recruiting a character that allows us to invest on a Voyage card.

That is the only way to invest in all 6 Voyages in play. Whether we should invest in all of them or not depends on the Voyages cards that we know from the start.

That means, once we know that we are going to invest in all of them, we just need to be prepared when that specific character will show up. It is an interesting idea but I’m not sure whether we can pull it off.

We already place a dice on the Castle area and we have to make sure that we can win that Character card. If we fail, we probably waste two of our dice.

Not to mention that the character card will dictate which resources to pay and limited to just 3 voyages. If we then cannot afford it, even after the discount, we waste a whole round.

Most of the time, we probably try to avoid having to send our dice to the Castle at all. So far, if I do send them it will be for the 7 Guards or Coins because I need them for the subsequent recruitment. And that feels like playing inefficiently.

In my opinion, this is more like a safety net or mitigation. It’s not really something to make a plan around, except probably the fourth one.

Since we will activate dice on the Castle first before other rows, it means we probably want to place the dice the last. We evaluate how likely we can afford the cost of the other two dice and then make decision from that.

On the other hand, we can also just choose different cards that requires the different resources that we can still afford. The Favor tile for the Dice Cap is nice but if we cannot afford the cost as well, we will still pay more for cards that doesn’t help us much.

Maybe it will be useful during the last round and that is if we can accumulate enough resources to be prepared. Another way to use is if the dice are all very low and we can increase it even if we place the dice last. But we still need the resources first.

Maybe there is a purpose for higher player count. But I still think these are very situational.

The insert also has dedicated slot for these 4 tiles which is the slot at the top left corner. There are two holes for our fingers to make it easier to lift them out.

Dice Cap Tile

This is the component that allow players to change the dice value in the game of Coimbra. The tile is supposed to have a square hole so that we can put this tile to the dice.

As we can see, the tile itself has 3 additional green pips. These will increase the value of the pips from the dice by 3.

The only way to access this tile is by sending 1 Dice to the Castle and be the first the claim the corresponding Favor Tile, which is the number 3. Then, when we activate that dice on the Castle area, we take this tile put the Cap on the other two dice on the other area or rows.

By doing so, the owner of the dice with the cap will have higher value dice and therefore may change the bidding position. This will be useful if somehow that player didn’t get to draft a high value dice to compete.

Another possible situation is that that player did get high value dice like 5 or 6 but they came in last. So, the value is tied but they still cannot draw the card first.

On the other hand, there is a price for that. The owner will have to pay additional cost of 3. If the dice itself already has a 6, the value will be 9 that the owner has to pay.

Again, depending on the card, maybe it is worth to use this tile. It’s like we are sending two dice for one card. Maybe at the same time, we are preventing the opponent to score a lot.

For example, maybe the players are competing to recruit a character with end game bonuses and maybe that is the last card for that bonus. In 2 player, with zero sum nature, at least, preventing the opponent to get a score is the same as us getting that score.

As mentioned before, while that idea is great but if we cannot afford to pay the extra price, then, it doesn’t matter.  If I understand correctly, the game doesn’t allow us to just remove a character card.

It is either we claim it or let the opponent take it. Maybe it is not a bad idea to have that rule but I don’t know.

As it is, we will more likely to use this in later rounds after we have enough resources. That is also if all players are aware of that situation, like how more powerful certain characters.

Otherwise, this Cap Tile idea might be considered as inefficient.

The tile itself has almost square shape with a square hole. Only one side has an arch, which I guess, to accommodate the extra pips.

I have not tried all of the dice and all of their side. It seems we can easily just put this on. Personally, I do not like this hole shape. The hole will eventually get bigger with more use and it makes the tile fragile.

Maybe it is not likely to happen that we break it because we try to take it off not gently.

The insert itself has a dedicated slot for this cap which is in the same spot as the Favor Tiles. The bottom part has a specific shape for this square tile with an arch on one of the side.

Monastery Tiles

These are the last cardboard component from the base game of Coimbra. They are tiles that are supposed to have a shape of a Castle or at least, the bottom part of the Castle.

These are the Monasteries or Monastery Tiles. The game comes with 24 tiles with 3 different types: I-type, II-type and III-type, each with 12, 8 and 4 unique tiles respectively.

The first one has a blue color, gray for the second and maroon or violet for the third. They have a rectangular shape at the bottom with an inward curve at the top edge. The front side will have icons for bonuses and the other side will have a number that indicate the type of these Monasteries.

In this game, the Game Board will have a Pilgrim Map, which is probably a map of Coimbra city. It has a Castle in the middle surrounded by a lot of Monasteries connected by a network of roads.

Each Monastery on the board will have a space where we place these tiles according to their type randomly. If any Pilgrim can reach to any Monastery the player will gain the bonus stated by the tile.

We will not be using all of the tiles in any session. But the Game board will dictate that we will always use 8 from I-type, 4 from II-type and 2 from III-type.

Where each type will be positioned on the Map will always the same but where we put the exact tile will be different. This will create a lot of setup variability.

Sometimes, the tiles can work together so well and they are adjacent to each other. Maybe that will give enough reason for players to pursue the Pilgrim track. Other times, it will be situational.

Most of the bonuses are one time immediate bonuses. There are only several of them that will give on going ability. Players can only claim the bonus once and they have to place their disks on top of the visited Monasteries.

If it is an ongoing ability, only the subsequent progress will trigger the bonuses. For resources bonuses, since we have the limit of the amount we can hold at a time, either we get it now or lose it.  Because of that, players have to decide whether to claim the Monasteries bonus now or later.

For I-type Monasteries, most of them will either give resources or advance on one of the Influence track. Only a few of them will give Victory Points as an ongoing ability.

II-type is totally the opposite of I-type. Most of them will give Victory Points with just one will give resources. However, VP that we can get from this type will depends on the player’s stats at the time of the claim or visit to the Monastery.

For example, we get points based on the number of characters with certain color or association. If we claim the bonus early, it will be just based on 1 card and if later, we may have several more.

For the III-type, they are similar to II-type, where we can gain VP based on the player’s situation at the time of the claim but more powerful. Only one of them will give immediate bonus whenever we claim it.

As overall strategy, maybe we should focus the first and probably second round for visiting the I-type Monasteries which will boost the player’s stats. Then in round 3 or 4, we can try claiming the II-type and III-type.

Again, that is if we want to invest on the Pilgrim, right from the start. I think not every bonus is worth the effort. It may be a distraction from our overall strategy.

For example, the bonuses that give us advancement on the tracks with 3 level up can be powerful. But maybe that is not the track we are working on.

There are also other things to consider like the Pilgrim’s travel route and how often we can trigger the Pilgrim movement.

All Monasteries will have the same size, which is about 3.1 x 3.6 cm. The insert has a dedicated slot for all of them which is at the second column and first and second row.

Details of Monastery Tiles

Monastery #1 – 4
Bonus: Gain the rewards depicted. (3 Guard / 3 Coin / 1 Guard + 1 Coin + 2 VP / 3 Guard + 3 Coin).

Those 3 Guard or 3 Coin per tile is probably not much. During scoring they are just 1 or 2 VP so the one that gives 2 VP plus 1 Guard and 1 Coin is a better reward.

If we somehow find the II-type with 3 Guard and 3 Coin, that is much better. Even during end game scoring, that is like getting 3 points.

Monastery #4 – 8
Bonus: On the depicted Influence Track move your disk 3 spaces up. (Gray, Orange, Green, Purple).

This is definitely useful, especially in earlier rounds and for the tracks that we have been investing on. If we look at the tracks themselves, every 3 spaces up we will get higher bonuses.

We also need to consider gaining the end game scoring from the Influence tiles. In lower player count, maybe this is enough to make our disk closer or even farther than the opponents.

Monastery #9 – 12
Bonus: For each of your character cards of the depicted class, gain 2 VP. (Gray, Orange, Purple, Green).

These are from II-type Monasteries. If we visit this early, we may only score with 1 or 2 characters while we can get maybe 3 or 4 later.

Based on my experience, we may get more than 10 character cards but it doesn’t mean all of them will have the same class or color. Some of the end game bonuses actually encourage us to diversify.

It is possible to get 20 points with all 10 characters of the same type but most of the time, it will be just 3 characters or about 6 points from this.

When any of these are in play, then we probably need to make a plan around it and make sure we can access it during the last round.

Monastery #13
Bonus: On all influence track, move your disks 1 space up.

This is a powerful one, especially if we do try to diversify and work on multiple tracks. Sometimes one spaces up is enough to increase the bonus when we activate the track for income.

Since there is a rule that says we cannot get the VP from Influence token if our disk is still on space 0, this Monastery bonus can be a life saver even if we do not work on that track.

Monastery #14
Bonus: For each Crown that you have right now (determined as in phase D), gain 1 VP.

This can be 0 point. Crown is not something that we can really work on or at least as the main target to claim.

Maybe it will be better with 3 or 4 players for player who came last in turn order as they have 2 Crowns at that point. That is still just 2 VP.

Assuming a player can try to get 3 Crown tokens, they will get extra 6 points. So, it can give a lot of points but very unlikely.

Monastery #15
Bonus: For each of your character cards that has an influence value of either 3 or 4, gain 2 VP.

I think this will be more powerful with 4 players. With lower, especially with 2, influence value of 3 or 4 is considered very high. Most of the time, they will be removed by the Dice tokens.

There are about 20 characters with those influence values. At most we can probably get 12, which is also very unlikely. But that is still a lot of points even if we only get 5.

Monastery #16
Bonus: For each 4-card set that includes one character of each 4 classes, gain 5 VP.

This is another one that will encourage players to diversify. Getting 2 or 3 sets is very likely but that is at the end of the game. If we visit this one early, we at most get 1 set or none at all.

Maybe if we want to score from this, we should start the Pilgrim not on the same quadrant as this tile. That will give us enough time to collect characters before scoring.

Monastery #17
Bonus: For each Monastery that has your disk above it (including this one), gain 2 VP.

This is also based on the number at the time we visit this Monastery. There are 14 Monastery spots on the board that can give us 28 points from this bonuses but it is very unlikely to get all of them.

Based on my experience, without investing too much on Pilgrim, we will get to visit at most one III-type monastery.

This might work if we are really investing on the Purple or Pilgrim track. Otherwise, just skip this or try to get it later.

Since this is a III-type, this tile probably the last one we will visit, if we do work on this.

Monastery #18
Bonus: Score your set of diplomas now the same way as you will at the end of the game.

That means, we can score between 1 up to 12 points per set. This is also a bit tricky to count as we can get those diplomas not just from characters.

There are other Monasteries that will give us 1 or 2 wild diplomas. They need to be in play to make it easier to score this one. Again, depending on the position, that may not happen.

But the thing is, if we do work on this and try to recruit characters with diploma icons, this tile just help us score both this tile and the end game scoring. Maybe it will double the reward.

Usually we can get at most a set of 5 with probably additional a set of 1 or 2. So, at most, we can get 12 + maybe 2 and if we get double, that is about 24 points.

Monastery #19
Bonus: Choose up to 2 Voyages cards with one of your disks and score their task now the same way as you will at the end of the game.

For starters, there is one, Goa, that will give immediately 9 points with just investing on it. That will be the easiest.

Other voyages can give higher score but depend on our effort for the tasks. The one with Monastery can give us about 14 or 16 points like Ceuta, Barbados or Calicut.

So, there are other Voyages that can give more than 9 points but we need to calculate them first to check out and probably access this Monastery as late as we can.

Monastery #20
Bonus: If you have any character cards with a game end bonus, score one of them now. Also, choose one influence track, depending on the current position of your disk on it, gain VP stated by the influence scoring tile above that influence track. So, if your disk is farthest up, that track, gain the victory points printed on top of the tile, if you are in second place, gain the middle one, etc..

For the second bonus, the other players do not get any VP now, no matter where their disk are on the chosen track.

This is very powerful one, assuming we do get that character. If this one is in play, I think all players should pursue this Monastery.

I guess that means, players will have to compete on using either the Purple or White dice. The competition will be intense in 2 player mode.

There are 7 character cards with game end bonuses which one of them, the 7th one will only reactivate the others. The first four are based on each influence track and we need to be in certain level in order to gain the bonus. So, we need to work on that.

It will be easier if we have either the 5th or 6th character. The 6th require us to diversify with 4 different colors. We can probably get at least 5 points or 1 set but it is possible we may not be able to gain anything by the time we visit this Monastery.

The 5th is the most flexible. As long as we always try to recruit, we will get something. But at most we will get like 10 points probably less while the first four will give us either 5, 7 or 10. So, we can consider all of them to be equal.

The strongest bonus of this Monastery would be from the second one, especially if we are the farthest up of any track. We can get either 7 up to 13 points where the opponents cannot get any. Definitely we will work on one track.

Monastery #21
Bonus: Henceforth, each time you place a dice in the Castle during phase B, immediately gain 4 VP.

I think the color of dice printed on the tile can be misleading as it use the white color. If I do not remember the rule, I could assume that it must be a white in order to trigger the bonus.

Regardless, this is also problematic. We definitely want to visit this as soon as we can so we will have higher chance to trigger the bonus. The problem is that, in my opinion, we rarely place a dice in the castle area. It is more like safety net and most of the time we will use it like once per game.

By the time we actually use it, there is a chance that we forgot that the tile is even there. Most of Monastery tiles also give one time immediate bonus. It is very easy for people to assume that this will be the same and forget it.

Regardless, this is still a tile that we can get bonus from, probably from Voyage Card, if we invest on Barbados. It’s just not something to make a strategy around it.

Monastery #22
Bonus: Henceforth, each time you place a disk above a monastery, you immediately gain 1 VP but not for this one.

This is a good one if can visit this early and we do invest on the purple track and combine it with the Barbados Voyage Card. It is very unlikely to visit every Monastery but we can get up to 13 points for doing so.

Monastery #23 – 24
Bonus: Count as 1 or 2 Wild Diplomas.

At least we can get 1 or 2 points just from visiting this tile alone. There is a big chance that we will get diplomas from character cards so that can help complete the set collection and get up to 12 points.

Voyage Cards

This is the first type of card component in Coimbra. They are the horizontal cards with mostly green and maroon color.

The back side will have the same illustration with a ship in the sea with a compass icon. In this game, we will only use 6 cards out of 15 that come with the base game. These cards will be placed at the bottom portion of the Game Board, face up.

Players know from the start what they should be pursuing. I guess we can say that these cards define the overall strategy.

We will choose them randomly, so having the same back of the card is to cover which cards we will be using. The front side of the card, will have several information.

Starting with a number at the top left corner is the number of cost that we need to pay to invest in this voyage card. The number can vary from 5 up to 8 of the associated resources.

If we do not spend the resources on these, we will get half point per each resources that we still have left. So, either we get 2.5 up to 4 points or maybe more if we can meet the scoring criteria from the given voyage card.

As long as we know that can get more points than that, we should probably invest in them. In general, at the end of each round, each player gets to invest in one of the 6 in play. So, with 4 rounds per game, we can only invest in 4 but there is a way to invest more by recruiting certain characters or visiting the Castle.

Right below that number of cost, there is another compass icon. The game suggests to place a disk on to this icon. As each card can have multiple players investing on the same card, I guess we are supposed to stack the disks.

But I think it really doesn’t matter to just place the disk anywhere on the card, as long as the disk doesn’t get accidentally moved to adjacent cards. Players can only invest once on each Voyage card.

The middle part of the card has a giant map illustrating an expedition route by the sea from Coimbra. All of them are unique, different cities, actually depicts the destination stated by the card.

I guess we can learn world’s geography a bit from this game. The name of the destination can be found at the middle bottom part. I don’t know the purpose of another compass icon at the bottom right corner, though.

The last part of Voyage card is the scoring condition that we can find at the top right corner of the card. These are also unique. Some will be similar, just variations like different influence track or so.

Most of them are just icons and we can probably tell what they mean. Only two of them have some text. I do feel like a few of them can be confusing and we will end up checking the last page of the rulebook.

Especially those related to the value of influence tracks. We know what they are but how to resolve themselves is a bit more complicated than the others.

I also think Ceuta and Barbados can be problematic. Before I try to write this article, I would assume that both of them are the same. In reality, they are not and the only difference is that there is an additional X symbol at the top of Monastery icons for Ceuta.

Only after I realized that both of them are available, I notice the difference. At a glance, it is possible that people would assume only the Barbados as it is the most likely.

At least, it is nice that they use different name of the cities for each voyage card. Unlike the Monastery tiles and character cards, we can easily check them one by one from the rulebook.

Sadly, they are not sorted alphabetically. Maybe there is a more thematic consideration as why they choose that city and why that task. Unfortunately, I cannot find official explanation for them.

Details of Voyage Cards

Tanger
Cost: 5
Task: For each Voyage Card that has your disk on it (including this one), gain 2 VP.

From this, we can at most gain 12 VP if we invest in all 6. With the cost of 5, we can get like 2 if we didn’t spend the resources. So, if we invest at least in 2, we already get the same value.

As shown by the map, Tanger or Tangier is the city in Morocco, in Northern Africa which is very close to Coimbra. Based on my brief search on wikipedia, it seems that Tanger was a crucial target for Portuguese to occupy first during this Age of Discovery.

The reason is that this city is very close to Strait of Gibraltar, which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the world. Occupying this can help taking control of trade route.

I guess it is very thematically accurate that the task for this Voyage card can help gain points by investing in other Voyage.

Madeira
Cost: 6
Task: For each diploma that you have (irrespective of its kind), gain 1 VP.

From the character cards, we can get 20 diploma icons from 18 different characters. We can also get additional wild diplomas from 2 Monastery tiles.

That means, potentially, we can get 20 or more points but very unlikely to get them all. With the cost of 6, we need at least to get 3 points. So, if we already have 3 or more diplomas, then, we should start investing in this one.

Madeira itself, as shown by the map on the card, is an island south west to Portugal. According to this wikipedia article, it was originally uninhabited and discovered during this Age of Discovery.

The article doesn’t say anything about being a city for education where we can find a lot of diplomas like the task of this card. Madeira means woods in Portuguese, referring to its dense forest.

Madeira is considered as one of the important discoveries that became the Portuguese Empire. From here they learned how to produce wheat and sugarcane that become main source of the empire’s economy. Maybe that is the connection for diplomas.

Cabo Verde & Sansibar
Cost: 7
Task: Check which value you have reached on the two depicted Influence tracks (the printed number on the space your disks are on). Sum both values, then divide that sum by 2. Gain the result (rounded down) as VP.

These 2 are actually a bit confusing for me. They want us to check on the value of 2 Influence Tracks each. The rulebook then continues with the printed number on the space that the disk are on, but not the value for each class itself.

That means, they are talking about the number between 0 to 15 which is the same for all 4 tracks. At first, I thought about converting the value next to it to VP, like if we get 7 Coins which is space 7 to 9, we can get 3 VP.

That is not the case here. But I do wish I can tell it just from looking at the card.

So, for each of these Voyage Cards, we can get at most 15 points, assuming both tracks we reached the 15th space. If we only work on 1, we can get probably just half of one track.

With the cost of 7, we can get 3 VP if we didn’t spend the resources. To get the same value, the total value of 2 tracks must be at least 6. That is actually not that difficult, assuming we do work on both tracks.

If these 2 are in play, maybe it is not a good idea to invest in both as they require different tracks. I also think that maybe this will define the strategy strongly compared to other cards. Players will have to choose those two tracks.

Cabo Verde or Cape Verde, as shown by the card is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, west of Africa. It was known to be the center of slave trade, attracting merchants, privateers and pirates until the suppression of such trade in 19th century.

The task on the card chose the Merchant or orange and Council or Gray color. Maybe there is a thematic connection for that.

Sansibar or Zansibar, as shown on the card is an area part of Tanzania to the east to Africa continent. During the age of Discovery, this was considered as part of the Portuguese Empire, but still managed by local king. The population is entirely Muslim, which is different from the Portuguese.

I guess that is the reason why the cleric class was chosen for this. Not sure about the scholar though, other than they need to make a different pair. I’m surprised that the game doesn’t come with other combination of the 2 tracks.

Ceuta
Cost: 8
Task: For each Monastery that does not have your disk above it, gain 1 VP.

For this one, we do not want to send the Pilgrim to any Monastery at all to get the most points. The Pilgrim map has 14 Monastery spots so we can get at most 14 points from this.

Since we can always move back or forfeit the step bonus at all, it’s not that difficult to achieve this. However, sometimes we do need the bonus from the some Monastery. Is the bonus worth losing 1 point?

If the Monastery gives immediately at least 1 point, then, we should visit it.

The cost itself is 8 which can be 4 VP if we do not spend the resources until the end of the game. That means, we should just leave 4 Monastery unvisited and we get the same value. I think even if we do advance the Pilgrim, we probably only visit about half of Monasteries.

I guess that means, investing in this is always a good deal whether we work on the Pilgrim or not. Also, this will make a good dynamic when Barbados is also in play.

Another interesting consideration is if that Monastery #17 where we can get 2 points per visited Monastery is in play. Personally, I’m not a big fan of holding back my playing progress just for bonus points from this. But there is a chance that I do not work on the Pilgrim track at all and this is very easy to score.

Ceuta is now part of Spain, which is at northern coast of Africa. Back then the Portuguese tried to occupy this city because it can help them to flank their rival, Castile which led to the Conquest of Ceuta event.

Apparently, it was not very beneficial for the Portuguese without taking control of Tanger, another city of these Voyage Cards. I’m not sure about the thematic connection there.

Calicut
Cost: 8
Task: Sum your Guard, Coins and Crowns. Then divide that sum by 2. Gain the result (rounded down) as VP.

This is the same as the last scoring category. That means we get double the value from that category if we invest in this one.

The cost is 8, so, we can get 4 VP. To get that same amount, we need a total of 8 from either Guard, Coin or Crowns. If we think we will have more on final round, we should invest in this.

I think this is a tricky one as we always want to spend the resources for other things which can possibly give us more points rather than keeping it. This will be useful if on the final round, we have to take either the Orange or Gray dice that will trigger the income for both resources.

We will not have other ways to spend them so, it could be useful for this purpose. That means, only after the dice draft phase, we should make decision whether to invest in this or not. If we do invest early, then, we need to choose those 2 dice during final round to get the most points.

Calicut is more known in English for Kozhikode, a city in India. According to this wikipedia article, the port of Calicut becomes a gateway to South Indian coast for traders from around the world like Chinese, Arabs and for this context of game, Portuguese.

Vasco da Game was the first one to arrive there and opened a trade route between Europe and India. So trading is the keyword here and maybe that is the thematic connection regarding the task of this card and the history.

Maskat
Cost: 6
Task: On the influence tracks, check which of your disks has advanced the least (compared to your disks on other influence tracks). Double the value of the space that disk is on, and gain the result as VP. If more than one track is your least developed, you only get VP of one.

Similar to Sansibar and Cabo Verder, this is based on the number 0 to 15 of any of 4 Influence Tracks, not the value of the associated resources. We can get double the value of the lowest one as VP.

If one disk is at 0, we will get nothing. That means, this encourage us to diversify through 4 tracks. It is very unlikely to have all disks on space 15 which can give us 30 points.

With the cost of 6 or equal to 3 VP, we actually just need to increase the influence to space 2 to get 4 VP. More than that, it is already a win. So, it is not that difficult, but we might want to wait before actually investing in this one.

The tricky part is that if we choose one track which is the lowest one then try to boost it, we have to remember that once it is no longer the lowest, it will not increase more points unless we keep increasing the other 3 tracks. So we also need to check the next lowest one as for how many more points we can get from this Voyage card.

From a brief search on wikipedia, it seems Maskat is also known as Muscat or Masqat, which is now the most populated city in Oman. During this Age of Discovery, Alfonso de Alburquerque was the one who sailed to this city to establish a trade relation.

However, as he approached the harbor, his ships were fired on and he decided to conquer the city. I don’t know how that translates to us having to work on multiple influences in this game.

Barbados
Cost: 6
Task: For each Monastery that has your disk above it, gain 1 VP.

This is very simple. The more Monasteries that we visited, the more points we can get from this Voyage card. This is the opposite of Ceuta which will give points for not visiting Monastery.

The cost is 6, so we can get like 3 VP if we do not spend the resources. To get the same value or more, we just need to visit at least 3 Monasteries which is probably not that difficult. I think it is very unlikely to visit every Monastery to get 14 points. Even half is already a lot.

There is a chance that investing in this can compliment the one from Ceuta. It really depends on the situation of other things like whether we can always work on purple track or not.

If these 2 Voyage cards are in play, I would invest in Ceuta first and then decide Barbados later. Maybe I will invest after I have visited the 3 Monasteries first.

Barbados is the first one so far that is in the west from Coimbra. Instead of Asia, this is one of the island in Caribbean region of America. According to this article, there was not much happened related to Portuguese in the Age of Discovery.

The island was largely ignored by Europeans and Portuguese just happened to land on Barbados while going to Brasil.

Brasil
Cost: 8
Task: For each Monastery with a “I” that has your disk above it, gain 2 VP.

This is similar to Barbados. But instead of 1 point for any type of Monastery, we can get 2 VP per I-type or the blue ones. So, if these 2 are in play, then, we probably should invest in both and work on the purple track.

With the cost of 8, which can be 4 VP at the end of the game, we only need to visit 2 Monasteries of this type. On Pilgrim map there are 8 spots for this type that can give us a total of 16 points.

We need like 21 steps to circle through every blue Monasteries. While it is possible to just focus on these but we probably will ignore the other type. If then the bonus is better, then we should plan ahead. Maybe this is how choosing the starting quadrant becomes meaningful.

Brasil or Brazil is now the largest country in South and Latin America. Back then, it was a Portuguese colony where they divided the indigenous people into several tribes to war against each other. Clearly that is not the inspiration of the task.

However, during that time was also when the religion in Brazil was formed from the meeting of Catholic Church from Portuguese, the religious traditions of enslaved African people and indigenous people. At least, there is a thematic connection between the Monastery and this history.

Ilhas dos Acores
Cost: 8
Task: For each of your Character cards beyond your 10th, gain 3 VP. So, if you have 11 cards, gain 3 VP, if you have 12 cards, gain 6 VP and so on.

This one is  a bit tricky. I think reaching to 10 is not that difficult but there is a limit of how many characters we can recruit in a game. If we do recruit with every 3 dice every round, we will get 12. Add to that the 2 starting characters, and we get 14.

Those extra 4 characters will give us 12 points. That is already a lot of points assuming we can manage the resources very well against getting lucky dice roll.

Aside from general recruiting phase, there is one more Character card that if we recruit him, we can get 1 more character from discard pile. With the investment cost of 8, we need to get 4 VP or higher.

For the minimum we just need 12 and we already get more. The thing is, if the other player can do the same and also invest in this, that one character card will be the deciding factor.

It’s not like only the best will get the bonus but I think if we have a choice to spend or invest on other Voyage, depending on the opponent’s progress, maybe we shouldn’t compete.

It is very situational. Maybe we should decide this the last, probably after that one character has come out.

I assume that Ilhas dos Acores means The Azores, which is now one of the autonomous regions of Portugal, alongside Madeira. It’s an archipelago to the west of Portugal and was discovered before the Age of Discovery.

I don’t know how important this place for the entire exploration by Portuguese. This article does talk about how the settlement grows afterwards during that time. Maybe that’s the connection to the Voyage Card.

Goa
Cost: 8
Task: Gain 9 VP.

This is the easiest task among all Voyage cards. We will get no more and no less than 9 VP at the end by investing 8 of the resources. Instead of getting just 4 VP from the leftover resources, we can get more than double that amount.

If this one is in play, this should be the first one to invest, assuming we can afford it immediately.

As shown by the map on the card, Goa is a state in India. During the Age of Discovery, Alfonso de Albuquerque took over Goa after defeated the ruling Bijapur Sultan. Goa then became the center of Portuguese India.

Macau, Malaca, Ceiláo, Diu
Cost: 6 / 7 /  7 / 6
Task: For each of your character cards of the depicted class, gain 2 VP.

These last 4 are very simple. We will get 2 VP for every character cards of the depicted class. If one of these is in play, then all players probably should compete with it.

But there is a chance that more than one of these will be in play. It seems like we should diversify or choose and focus on some. If that is the case, maybe we should hold on from investing in any of them until we know which class we are working on.

I think the Orange (Macau) and Gray (Diu) are easier choices as we need those resources, Coins and Guards. The other two really depends on other things like maybe end game bonuses from characters.

Just because we have chosen the classes, it doesn’t mean we always have the chance to recruit the same classes. The reason is because how the auction works. There is a chance that we will get push out and have to recruit the remaining that may not have the same class.

The number of character cards per class are about the same which is 14. However, I think we should not collect all of the green, especially those with similar end game bonuses. Maybe focus on the color stated by that card.

With the cost of 6 or 7, we can get 3 VP, and to get the same value, we only need 2 characters per Voyage card.

Macau or Macao, as we know now is part of China. According to the Wikipedia article about this city, the article says that it didn’t develop as major settlement until this Portuguese arrived during this Age of Discovery in 16th century.

They started trading in Hong Kong and triggered military clash with the Ming Dynasty and even got trade ban. Despite all of that, the Portuguese chose to settle on other part before eventually reach Macau. They actually lost the battle that time and returned afterwards in peace, renting that Macau area as the trading post. I guess that is why the associated card is not based on gray or Guard but more to Orange or Merchants.

Malaca or Strait of Malaca is a narrow stretch of water between Malaysian Peninsula and Indonesian island of Sumatra. This is considered as the important trade route between India and China which now has become the global trade network.

Ceiláo, or nowadays more known as Sri Lanka is an island country in South Asia, to the south of India. Clearly because of its position, traders using water route will eventually reach this island. The Wikipedia for this only mentioned that Portuguese took control some part of Sri Lanka and eventually lost to Dutch.

Aside from historical importance of Malaca and Ceiláo, I think the tasks are just using the two remaining classes.

Diu, is another port city in India that is next to Arabian Sea. It is considered an important trade route as well. Because of its importance, there was a Battle of Diu in 1509, between Portugal and the locals. The Portuguese failed to established an outpost and eventually create a defensive alliance with the Sultan of Gujarat. I guess that is the connection with Guard or Council.

Character Cards

These are the last type of cards in Coimbra. All of the cards, including Voyage cards have the same size and on the insert has a specific single slot. The insert is big enough for sleeved cards. It even has rooms for fingers to lift the cards out.

The game comes with 56 different character cards that can be put into 3 different categories: the I-type, II-type and III-type.

We can see the Romans number at the back of the card with art of the city on the background in orange color. The number represents when these cards will come out during the game.

I-type will come out first, but more like starting cards for each player. The II and III will come out in 2 rounds each. There are 8 cards from I-type and in a game we will only use 2 cards per player.

For the other type, we will always use all of them. While the starting cards might be different from game to game and give setup variability. However the other 48 cards will be different only by the order of how they come out. We will eventually see all of them in a single game.

The front of each character cards has several information. We can start with the colors or Classes. There are 4 classes in this game, Council (Gray), Merchants (Orange), Cleric (Purple) and Scholar (Green).

Each of them also has associated icon like key for Council, Coins for Merchants, Cross for Cleric and Books for Scholar. These will always be the same.

Somehow it kind of wasteful for the space in cards. We can find the icons on the top left side of the card, under the resources icon.

Each class will also have 14 cards. I think these 4 classes are distributed evenly for 3 different types or era.

The top left of the card will show the resources icon for recruitment cost, either Coin or Guard. In order to recruit the character we need to pay with the depicted resources. The I-type cards do not have this icon as we do not recruit them through the same process.

Any classes can require any of those 2 resources. However, some classes have more cards for one type of resources like Scholar for Coins and Clerics for Guards. I guess that is a bit thematic but kind of limiting the game.

The next part of the card is the illustration, the depicted character. Some people assume that they are unique at a glance. This is not true. I think each class can have up to 5 different characters but one same character can appear in multiple different cards.

The art style by Chris Quilliams for this is a bit cartoonish, doesn’t make it a bad one. Some say they represent some actual historical figure but I don’t know for sure. Their fashion is probably an accurate representation of the style from that era.

They are essentially just placeholder art. It doesn’t contribute anything to the game play. We will more likely to ignore them.

I already mention the icon of the classes that we can find on the left column of the top part of the card. Right below that icon there is a number. The number is between 1 to 4. These represents the influence power that the player will get by recruiting the character.

I think all 4 classes have cards with the total influence power of 30. These include cards from the I-type or starting cards. The breakdown are 1 card with the influence of 4, 4 cards with the influence of 3, 5 cards with the influence of 2 and 4 cards with the influence of 1.

In this game, players will work on advancing four different tracks, each associated by these 4 classes. Each influence power will increase the position on the track by 1 and we can move it up to 15 per track.

Every 3 spaces will increase the amount of reward or resources of the associated tracks, if the player does trigger the income for that track. At the end of the game, there is a bonus based on whoever is the farthest up on the track will get higher bonus.

So, these are the first consideration for players when they are recruiting. We might want to work on one and get more resources and higher points. But if it doesn’t work as multiple players can compete on the same track, diversifying to the other tracks might be a better strategy.

A character with an influence of 4 is definitely more powerful than those with the influence of 1. However, do we really want to compete on that and pay higher cost to recruit or should we settle with just low cost and get the weaker one?

That is not the only benefit or consideration when recruiting.

The next icon we can find under the Influence power is the Diploma Icons. Not every character will have these but some can have up to 2 different diplomas.  These introduce a set collection element to the game.

There are 5 different diploma icons and every set of different icons that we can collect, we will get more points at the end of the game. Here are the details for VP for set of different diplomas.

5 different diplomas: 12 VP
4 different diplomas: 8 VP
3 different diplomas: 4 VP
2 different diplomas: 2 VP
1 diploma: 1 VP

So, these becomes another consideration when recruiting the character, but a minor one. Chasing these early doesn’t really help us during the game as the bonus will only happen at the end.

The jump of value from 4 diplomas to 5 is also not that great. We might want to pursue to complete the set towards the end but only if we already have a couple of them.

There are also only 17 characters that can give us these icons. We can also get them from the Monastery but only if those tiles are in play.17 cards is a lot for 2 players but maybe not so much in 4 players. So, they are really just additional bonus, a bit unnecessary.

One issue that I have with these diploma icons is the color between the red and brown or yellow and red. In my opinion, if we do not look at all of them, we will not know for sure which of the 2 colors they are.

They also use shapes to distinguish like triangle for red, X for green, hexes for brown, star for blue and square for black. The icons themselves are already small on the card and I can see this will be even more difficult for some people.

Aside from those 5 colors, we can also complete the set by getting WILD DIPLOMAS. Each of this wild diploma will stand in for one color. We can get them from some characters or visiting some Monasteries, if they are in play.

Now, the last element of Character card is the bottom portion, which is another bonus that we can get for recruiting that character. The bonuses from these can be broken down into 4 different type of bonuses.

The types are IMMEDIATE BONUS, PHASE C BONUS, PHASE E BONUS and GAME END BONUS.

Immediate bonus (with lightning symbol) are usually one time only that we need to resolve right away after the recruitment. These can be about getting resources, either Coin, Guard or VP, getting to advance the Pilgrim, Favor Tile or extra action, specifically for Phase F.

These bonuses have to be resolved immediately or we have to forfeit it. For resources, there is a limit to the amount that we can have at a time.

Phase C bonuses (with a letter C icon) are only from I-type or starting character card. These are bonuses that can be triggered every recruitment if we meet the requirement. It can be about the discount for recruiting or just getting extra resources.

Phase E bonuses (with a letter E icon) are the other bonuses that can be triggered every round. Some of them don’t have requirement like getting resources and advancing on one of the influence track. The others can have requirement like we need to draw the right color of dice in order to trigger the reward.

Two of them even allow players to trade excessive resources, which is very powerful because otherwise, we have to forfeit those resources.

The last type of bonus is the Game End Bonuses (with exclamation point icon) which will just give extra VP at the end of the game if we meet the requirements. Some can just give definite amount while we can increase the bonuses during the game from the others.

So, these bonuses are the other consideration when we are recruiting these characters. Ideally, we want those that can give ongoing bonus early so we can get full benefit throughout 4 rounds.

However, it is not going to be easy with the competition from other players and there are only a few of them compared to just the immediate one time bonuses. On the other hand, early in the game with limited income, we will need a few of those easy one time resources to afford the subsequent recruitment.

We also need to get those limited characters with game end bonuses. They could give us another 10 points or even more. 5 of them are from II-type and the other 2 are from III-type.

With the way the cards come out, 5 from the II-type can all come out during round 1. If players miss that, then they have to be prepared for the last 2.

Even if we do aware of that, there is still a chance that we might miss them because we get outbid by the other players or we also need another character from the same row of market.

From one of my play, I did win against my friend because my friend didn’t get any of these cards while I got several of them. I don’t know if this reflects every sessions but in that session, excluding the score from these cards, both players got almost the same score.

If that is what will always happen, this is probably my biggest criticism for the game. These few cards can actually decide who is going to win in a very small window of opportunity.

They also kind of force players to focus on them instead of offering actual different path to victories. If that is the case, then the game doesn’t seem to have a lot of replay value despite having a lot of setup variability.

The rulebook page 11 also mention some coloring scheme for the background of these bonuses. Mint Green means the bonuses that we can get.

The beige color background means the requirement and if it’s a red color it means the cost. There is also some symbols that are a bit small like Multiply, Infinite and Slash icon.

One of them use text like the purple one not having a purple dice to get the bonuses. If I didn’t really pay attention, I would assume that it is the same card as the other that gives bonus for having the purple dice.

Also, there are some symbols related to the influence track that, in my opinion, is not very clear. Mostly because if we look at all of the components, there are a lot of things related to the influence track. Some can be referring to the value of the track, or the space of the track.

Because of this, there are some that make me have to keep checking the rulebook for clarification. I remember the first time I played this game, my friend who owns the game keeps checking the rulebook himself that he had to hold it the entire session

Once we’ve played the game enough we can tell easily but I can see for first time players can just assume that both of them are the same.

Even though it is very nice that they have the glossary for every card but I wish they use a name or number on the card to make it easier to find that card. Otherwise, as I have mentioned before, we have to scan everything to find that specific card.

Another issue is how we put the card next to our Player Board. The rulebook only suggests an area as to where to put them in category based on the type of bonuses.

Based on my play with just 2 players, I will end up having a lot of cards of one type of bonuses. What will happen is that instead of displaying the cards, I ended up stacking them.

It’s not a big deal but when I got rare bonus based on previous cards, I have to scan every card. Since it may not happen every round, it is very easy to forget that the bonus is there.

Details of Character Cards

The order of this will follow the order on the rulebook which is based on different bonus types.

Character #1 – 4
Class: Gray / Orange / Cleric / Scholar
Bonus: Gain Depicted Rewards (4 Guard / 4 Coins / 1 Guard + 1 Pilgrim Movement / 1 Coin)
Bonus Type: Immediate Bonuses
Influence Power: 2
Era: I-type

Character #5 – 6
Class: Gray / Orange
Bonus: Whenever you acquire a Character card with a coin cost  / guard cost in Phase C, pay 1 coin / guard less for it. The Cost can be 0.
Bonus Type: Phase C Bonuses
Influence Power: 1
Era: I-type

Character #7
Class: Purple
Bonus: Whenever you acquire a Council Member in phase C, first, carry out any bonuses of that acquired card as usual. Then also gain 1 Guard, 1 VP and 1 Step with your Pilgrim
Bonus Type: Phase C Bonuses
Influence Power: 1
Era: I-type

Character #8
Class: Green
Bonus: Whenever you acquire a Merchant Member in phase C, first, carry out any bonuses of that acquired card as usual. Then also gain 1 Coin + 2 VP.
Bonus Type: Phase C Bonuses
Influence Power: 1
Era: I-type

Character #9 – 20
Class: Gray (9, 10, 17) / Orange (11, 12, 18) / Cleric (13 – 16, 19) / Scholar (20)
Cost: Guard (7 cards) / Coin (5 cards)
Bonus: Gain Depicted Rewards
Bonus Type: Immediate Bonuses
Influence Power: 2 or 3
Diploma:1 Brown(#17), 1 Green (#20)
Era: II (8 cards) and III -type (4 cards)

Character #21
Class: Gray
Cost: Guard
Bonus: Each of other players must give you either 1 Guard + 1 Coin or 2 VP.
Bonus Type: Immediate Bonuses
Influence Power: 3
Era: II-type

It is possible for VP to drop below 0 on the score track. If the player does not have resources, he must give you the VP.

This can be a very powerful card, especially with higher player count. The one player who has this can get a lot of resources or points. I think we definitely don’t want to give resources.

It is powerful, because this can come early like in round 1. At that point, players are still struggling with the low amount of resources. Giving the resources will just hurt ourselves twice and help a lot to the owner of this.

Character #22
Class: Purple
Cost: Guard
Bonus: Gain 5 VP. Each of other players must loses either 3 VP or 1 Cleric Card.
Bonus Type: Immediate Bonuses
Influence Power: 1
Era: III-type

If the player decides to lose Cleric card, they will also lose the influence value of that card on their Cleric track. Then, if the disk lands on a space with other player’s disk, that player has to put their disk on the top. If the player has no Cleric cards, they have to lose VP.

This is a bit problematic. The first time I played, my friend who own this didn’t remember the part about losing influence value. We assume that the only thing that matters is the VP value of having that card.

I think losing VP is the better choice, especially if this one comes out early like in round 3. Losing the influence could mean losing the end game bonus from the Influence scoring tile and the future movement of the Pilgrim.

There is also a consideration with the Voyage card. If we invest on something related to having Cleric cards, we might not want to let the card go.

Another consideration is if we want to get end game bonuses that requires a set of 4 different colors or classes. Forcing the other players to lose that 1 purple card making them having incomplete set is huge.

Character #23
Class: Purple
Cost: Guard
Bonus: Take the discard pile and choose 1 card to recruit. Pay 3 of the depicted resources. Gain the influence and bonuses as usual recruitment, and place it in its zone as you had acquired it the usual way.
Bonus Type: Immediate Bonuses
Diploma: 1 Blue
Influence Power: 1
Era: III-type

This is also a powerful one, especially if we have invested in the Voyage that will give higher score for having more character cards. The cost of that additional character is also rather cheap, just 3 of any type.

This gives a lot of choice since this will come out in round 3 or 4. We can always just pay with the other resources if we are short on one.

One good Combo that I did was combine this with another purple card that allow us to trigger one purple card with immediate bonus type. With that combo, I got additional 2 cards.

The influence value is also very strong. Players have to really compete to get this.

Character #24 – 25
Class: Gray
Cost: Coin / Guard
Bonus: In player order, any player whose disk are behind yours on the gray Council Influence track, must choose which of the two depicted icons to lose to you. It is possible to drop VP below 0 and players who don’t have that resources must lose the VP.
Bonus Type: Immediate Bonuses
Diploma: none
Influence Power: 2
Era: III-type

Another characters with annoying abilities. In general losing 3 VP is worse than losing 3 of the resources which is only worth 1.5 points. But it really depends on the situation.

If this card comes out in higher row or city, we may need the resources for the recruitment. So, if losing the resources means losing the chance for influence bonuses and other resources, we should just let go the VP.

This will become a threat if we don’t work on the Council or gray track. With 2 players, one player loses the 3 VP means the other gains 6 VP.

On the other hand, if this card come out in the lower low, which will be acquired in later turns, we have the chance to mitigate the effect. Like if we are not recruiting subsequently within the round, maybe it doesn’t matter if we lose the resources.

The exception would be the Voyage. But we can still choose the other type.

Character #26 & 28
Class: Gray / Orange
Cost: Coin / Guard
Bonus: For each of your Council / Merchant member card, including this one, gain 1 Guard + 1 Step for the Pilgrim / 1 Coin + 1 VP.
Bonus Type: Immediate Bonuses
Diploma: none
Influence Power: 1
Era: III-type

This can also be a powerful one, assuming we do collect a lot of Gray / Orange cards. If this card comes out in round 3, it is possible that we already have like 6 to 8 characters of that classes.

That #26 can give us about 8 Guards and 8 steps for the Pilgrim while #28 will give 8 Coins + 8 VP. It is very unlikely that we will get characters only from those two classes. However these 2 classes are crucial for the resources.

So, it is very situational. Maybe if this one come out late like round 4 and in the bottom row, we probably can get more bonuses. If we are not invested in the gray / orange track that much, then we probably should skip this.

However, maybe the other players who do invest in that track can get a lot of benefit from this. We may have to prevent that.

If we have to choose between the 2, maybe the gray one #26 is a better choice because the VP from #28 is not that ideal unless it is the last round.

Character #27
Class: Orange
Cost: Coin
Bonus: Take 1 of the Favor Tiles still available next to the Castle (if any). Place it in front of you and use it as usual.
Bonus Type: Immediate Bonuses
Diploma: none
Influence Power: 3
Era: II-type

This can be a powerful one as well. For one, the influence value itself is 3. Then we can choose one of the Favor tiles still left without losing one turn of the dice just to get Favor tiles.

If we don’t know what to do, the easiest choice would be to gain either 7 Coins or 7 Guards. That means even if we spend 6 Coins to recruit this character, we can get more than that and still gain the influence. So choosing high value dice during drafting for this is not a bad option.

The next option to pursue would be the extra Voyage action. Not only that, the Favor tiles will give the discount when we do the regular Voyage action at the end as well. That is like getting extra 4 resources.

Depending on the situation, we may also choose the one with the Dice Cap or the Pilgrim.

Character #29 – 30
Class: Orange
Cost: Guard / Coin
Bonus: Gain 4 Guard / 4 Coin and perform invest on  one Voyage with that same resources.
Bonus Type: Immediate Bonuses
Diploma: none
Influence Power: 2
Era: III-type

We can see the two bonuses in two ways. Either a discount for the Voyage or just take the resources without the invest action.

Combine this with one of the Favor tiles that gives discount for the Voyage, the amount of resources that we can save is big. But that means we really need to understand all of the Voyage card in play and really work on it.

The thing is that if this is not our last recruitment of the round, we might want to think about whether we can afford the subsequent recruitment with the same cost.

There is a chance that we may have invested in all of the Voyages for that resources when we have access to this character. The additional coin or guard is still good.

Character #31
Class: Green
Cost: Coin
Bonus: For each Monastery that has your disk above it, gain 1 VP.
Bonus Type: Immediate Bonuses
Diploma: 1 Brown and 1 Red
Influence Power: 1
Era: III-type

This one is good if we do invest in the Pilgrim and activate it a lot. If this come out late like in last round and last row, we can probably get a lot of points from this.

Otherwise, this one is not that powerful. The influence is also just 1.

Character #32 – 34
Class: Gray / Orange / Purple
Cost: Guard / Coin / Guard
Bonus: Use the immediate bonus of one of your character of the depicted class once more.
Bonus Type: Immediate Bonuses
Diploma: none
Influence Power: 3
Era: III-type

For starters, the influence is already strong with the value of 3. Then we get to activate cards that we already have with immediate bonus as well.

For the Purple one, I already mentioned how I combine this with another Purple that allows us to recruit from discard pile. That can give us 2 more characters which is also in rather cheap cost.

We can also choose to move Pilgrim with 4 steps, or to gain 5 VP and make other players loses either points or Cleric card.

For Orange, it’s either the one that give access to Favor Tiles or to invest in Voyages. As for Gray, the interesting one will force players to give us their resources or VP but any of them depends on the situation.

Specific for Gray, and if we do collect a lot of gray characters, we may as well go for #26 that give bonuses per gray cards.

Character #35 – 38
Class: Gray / Orange / Purple / Green
Cost: Coin / Guard / Guard / Coin
Bonus: Gain current income reward of the depicted track, as you would with a die of that color during Phase E.
Bonus Type: Immediate Bonuses
Diploma: Green and Red (#38)
Influence Power: 4
Era: III-type

These are cards with the highest influence value, each with a value of 4. That means, It will increase the income reward at least by one level higher.

This will also be useful for the bonus score from the influence tiles. Either we can catch up with the players above us or leave them behind.

I want to say that because of that reason, we should pursue these characters. Sadly, if we play with lower player, these will be the one to be discarded first by the dice tokens. We will have to pay a lot for these.

On top of that we get to activate and gain the reward that have been increased immediately, as if we have the dice of that color.

I guess if we do not really work on the track, it is not very powerful but still useful. The Purple is situational as where our Pilgrim is currently at. If we know that the purple card is coming, maybe we can try to increase the chance and move the Pilgrim closer to the target Monastery.

The Orange and Gray may not be that useful if they are the last character to be recruited. At least, we can still get more points. Definitely the green one is more useful during the last round.

Maybe it can even be combined with one of the character with end game bonuses that allows us to trigger green cards with immediate bonus like this.

Character #39
Class: Purple
Cost: Coin
Bonus: Pay 5 Guards to gain 5 Steps for your Pilgrim.
Bonus Type: Immediate Bonuses
Diploma: none
Influence Power: 2
Era: III-type

This one will be useful if by the time we acquire this card, we can afford the cost for the Pilgrim. Then the next thing we need is to make sure that the Pilgrim is in the right position or this will be a waste. 5 Steps is not even enough to reach the III Monastery from the nearby II-Monastery.

Maybe this can be a good combo with #34 with another purple that allows us to reactivate another purple’s immediate bonus. But we still need the Pilgrim to be in the right position.

Character #40
Class: Green
Cost: Coin
Bonus: Pay 5 Coins and Gain 7 VP
Bonus Type: Immediate Bonuses
Diploma: red or triangle
Influence Power: 3
Era: III-type

This can be useful toward the end of the game. If we are heavily investing in the Orange track and get  a lot of Coins, this is a good way to transfer some of the excess for VP.

Sadly, this is a one time only. If then we do not have enough Coin or we need the Coin for subsequent action, we have to forfeit the bonus. However, even without the bonus, we still get an influence value of 3 and the diploma icon.

Character #41 – 42
Class: Gray / Orange
Cost: Coin / Guard
Bonus: At the beginning of each Phase E, choose one Influence Track move your disk on that track 1 space up. Also gain the depicted resources.
Bonus Type: Phase E
Diploma: none
Influence Power: 1
Era: II-type

These two are very powerful to get early in the game. If we can get it from the first round and we will immediately gain the bonus during phase E.

In one of my play session, I got to activate the income on one track but I forgot to gain any influence on that track during first round. As it turns out, even that 1 influence up on any track we already get higher reward and these bonuses are great for that.

These will give us flexibility as the game progresses. Clearly we want to increase the track that with 1 additional bump will give higher bonuses, assuming we do activate the income.

In the long run, this can also help us for the scoring from influence track. Staying at 0 will not get us anything and if we are close enough, maybe we can become the farthest up ahead. Or just to stay within 3 spaces away for the 2 player mode.

The additional resources is small but it definitely can help. By the end 4 coins or 4 Guards is enough to pay some recruitments.

My issue with the icon is that in one game I assume that I can increase the influence of all tracks. While the icon has a number 1 but I thought it represents one space instead of 1 track.

Of course, after I read the rule, that interpretation will be too powerful. At the same time, there is one Monastery tile that allows us to do the same. If I didn’t read the rulebook, I would assume it will be the same.

Character #43 – 46
Class: Gray / Orange / Purple / Green
Cost: Coin / Guard / Guard / Guard
Bonus: In each Phase E, for each die of the depicted color that you have in your die holders on your shutter spaces, gain the depicted reward in addition to its regular income reward. The white die doesn’t count towards any of these bonuses.
Bonus Type: Phase E
Diploma: Green (#45) and Black (#46)
Influence Power: 3 / 3 / 1 / 3
Era: II-type

These can be a powerful one. But I would argue that maybe only between the gray and orange card. We still need those two die colors to generate resources for many different resources.

Getting green die only trigger VP, which only will be useful in the final round. I also don’t know why the influence value of the purple card is only 1 instead of 3.

The one for purple die is probably a better choice as we can invest in the Pilgrim and move a lot but it is still very limited. However, with just 2 players, we will have less number of purple and green dice. It gets worse since they do not count the white one.

I saw a thread that talks about how strong the purple track strategy but mostly in higher player count. So, the green character is a good option but not sure about the purple character with the green dice though.

Regardless, the three of them have influence value of 3, which is huge for that purpose only.

Character #47
Class: Purple
Cost: Guard
Bonus: At the beginning of each Phase E, gain 2 steps with your Pilgrim, if you have no purple dice in any of your die holder on your shutter space. The white also does not count as purple.
Bonus Type: Phase E
Diploma: none
Influence Power: 1
Era: II-type

This can be a good one if we do not pursue the purple track and will draw no purple die. Still, at most we can get a total of 8 steps from this card only.

We probably will get more steps and that is enough to visit 3 or 4 I-type Monasteries. This will be more useful with 2 players as there is only 1 purple dice.

Along the way we will still increase the purple track and the white die can be the one to trigger the income.

Character #48 – 49
Class: Gray / Orange
Cost: Guard / Coin
Bonus: At any time in each Phase E, you can exchange the depicted resource for VP at the rate of 2 to 1. This is especially helpful if your income reward of that resource frequently exceeds your storage limit.
Bonus Type: Phase E
Diploma: Red (#48) and Green (#49)
Influence Power: 1
Era: II-type

We may not need these early in the game as we are probably struggling to afford any recruitment. However, it does help during the final 2 rounds, especially the last one.

Since we have the flexibility of multiple exchanging and when to exchange, we can get the income first and exchange them everytime it exceeds the limit. What I didn’t realize was that the exchange rate is the same with the final scoring from the leftover resources.

That means, just exchanging it early, doesn’t helpful at all. If anything, we might need those resources for the Voyage even during final round.

It is nice to have these at least. However, they can come out early and during that time, we might not know which one to get. So, there is a chance that even if we do get one of these, we may not use them at all.

At most it will just give up to 5 points per resource.

Character #50 – 53
Class: Green
Cost: Coin
Bonus: Gain VP depending on where your disk sits on the track. If it is on space 7 – 9, gain 5 VP, 10 – 12, gain 7 VP, 13 -15, gain 10 VP. Lower than that, gain nothing.
Bonus Type: Game End Bonuses
Diploma: Wild (#50 and #51), Blue (#52) and brown (#53)
Influence Power: 2 / 2/ 1 / 1
Era: II-type

These 4 may come out early like in the first round. There are only 7 cards that will give Game end Bonuses and these are the first four. If we miss them, there are only 3 more cards.

What that means is, the game expect the players to pursue at least one of these early and work on it. The point is only up to 10 VP per card in a game where we can get probably more than 100 points in total.

It may not sound that much. There is a chance to double that if we also acquire another green card with game end bonus that trigger these cards again.

In one of my play, I managed to get all of these cards and ended up just getting VP from one card. Clearly, it doesn’t really helpful to pursue everything.

The thing is, maybe we can prevent the other players from getting those extra points. If we do work on green, these cards value is huge. At least the first two characters will give an influence value of 2 each and a wild diploma icon.

Character #54
Class: Green
Cost: Coin
Bonus: For each of your character cards that has an influence value of either 1 or 2, gain 1 VP.
Bonus Type: Game End Bonuses
Diploma: Red
Influence Power: 3
Era: II-type

If we go with buying cheap characters during the auction, we will usually end up with characters that has influence value of 1 or 2. Maybe about 10 characters that we have recruited will have these values and we will gain 10 points from this bonus.

So, compared to the previous four, this game end bonus is more flexible.  We can keep increasing it as the game progresses while the previous four will stuck.

The influence value from this alone is 3, so this character is good enough just for that.

Character #55
Class: Green
Cost: Coin
Bonus: For each 4-card set that includes one character card of each of the 4 classes, gain 5 VP.
Bonus Type: Game End Bonuses
Diploma: Blue
Influence Power: 2
Era: III-type

This is one of the 2 cards with end game scoring bonus that will come out during round 3 or 4. To get points from this, we really need to diversify the characters right from the start and make sure to recruit this when it come out.

Most of my plays, I manage to get more than 10 character cards, probably less than 15. If we can get all classes equally, we can get at most 3 sets which will give us 15 points. Also, if we can combine this with the next one, it is huge as the next one double the points.

So, I think having even 2 of each is not that difficult. The only problem is that I found was the purple one because there is a card that can force players to discard the purple card. The other classes do not have this. Missing just one type means losing 5 points.

This is a strong one if we can get it. Maybe it is easier to get it first and try to work around it afterwards. But then if we acquire this as the last, then we probably know how many points from this we can get.

Character #56
Class: Green
Cost: Coin
Bonus: Gain the End game bonus of one of your character cards once more, if you have any
Bonus Type: Game End Bonuses
Diploma: Black
Influence Power: 3
Era: III-type

On its own, this card will not give any points at all. We need one of the other 6 green card with end game bonuses.

One of the consideration is, if the other card is from the first 4 (#50 – 53), there is a chance that we may fail to get points from that. Since this last card is essentially double the points, if we get 0 from the other card, this will not change that.

So, either we really have to work on the other one, or try to get card number 54 or 55. Don’t forget that if we do not take this, we need to make sure that our opponent doesn’t get the benefit either.

Combine with the previous card, this can give 5, 10 or 15 points. Aside from that the influence value is also big, with 3 and we get a diploma icon.

That is it with all of the cards components of Coimbra.

Player Boards

In this game, each player will use 1 identical Player Boards. They are made of 2mm cardboard with linen finish with the same art on both sides.

We will only use one side while the back only has the illustrations without all of the symbol and color.  The shape is a long rectangular board with 27.5 x 9.7 cm as its size with horizontal orientation.

The illustration on the background seems to depict a castle wall on the background with some houses on the foreground. I guess that means, players who are the head of well known houses, are very wealthy that they have a castle?

The way we use the board, it basically has 2 parts. The first one is the resource track at the top row and the second one is more like player aid with icons that reminds us each phases of any round.

Actually, there is a third part of the Player Board and that is the ZONING area. On the right and bottom end, we can see a bit of a border line for several zones. In this game, after we acquire a character card, we are supposed to place them in the corresponding area based on their bonus type.

As mentioned before, the bonus can be either the PHASE C bonus, PHASE E bonus, END GAME bonus or IMMEDIATE bonus. The problem is that the rule doesn’t say how exactly are we supposed to place the card around this board. Should we stack them or should we spread them out?

Usually in a tableau building game, we have to lay the card neatly so every card is visible. In any point during the game, we can access or trigger action associated with any card, we can easily tell from that placement. That is not exactly the case with Coimbra.

These guidelines for zoning is more like suggestion that we do not need to follow. If we do want to follow, that means, each player needs to have additional space below the Player Board, one row for these cards and probably the right one as there are more cards with Immediate bonus type.

Alternatively, we can just stack them up in a single deck for all types, and pull some of them during the corresponding phases. In my opinion, this is a better way as players will scan every cards that they have and resolve the bonuses if they can.

I think the most important ones are cards for Phase C and E. We can stack the others.

From the insert, these 4 Player Boards will be placed in the same slot above where we place the cardboard pieces and the wooden disks. So, in a way, these boards are the ones to hold the pieces below it to stay in place.

The Resource Trackers

For the Resource Tracker part, each player will place their 2 Player Cubes on one of the 2 resources, Guards and Coins. Between the two there is a number from 1 up to 20. Players will all start with 7 on both.

As the game goes one, we will gain resources from various ways and spend them. We then have to adjust the tracker by constantly move the cubes accordingly. That number 20 is also the limit of both resources. We cannot have more than that.

There are some character cards that allows us to trade them into VP during the game but without that, we have to forfeit the bonus.

Regarding the usability, I have two minor issues with this form. The first one is I always mix up between the two different resources. Like when I have to spend a Coin, I instead move the Guard one.

But this only happens like during the first round. Maybe I kind of wish that instead of cube, the game comes with 2 components with the same shape as the resources.

The bigger issue that I have is sliding the cube correctly. Sometimes I didn’t properly move the cube and I forgot which of the two numbers the cube should land on.

The two issues become more problematic when we have to resolve a character card that gives several combos of bonuses. For example, a character card may give one of these resources as the bonus and it also give steps for the Pilgrim.

Then, from the Pilgrim, we will get additional resources bonuses. If then I mixed the two up, it is really difficult for me, to reset. So, if I have to change my decision when recruiting a character, I have to be sure before adjusting the tracker.

The Player Aid

As for the PLAYER AID part, I think the icons do a good job reminding how to resolve the round in general.

Each round in Coimbra consists of 6 phases from A to F, as shown by the board. Then on the bottom right corner, it shows the icons of how to resolve the SCORING PHASE after all 4 rounds.

PHASE A is the dice rolling phase, as shown by the two dice icon. In this game we will use up to 13 dice so, the icon is not completely accurate. I think they could have shown the number of dice being used for different player counts.

PHASE B is the dice drafting and dice placement phase. The icon only shows a dice being placed in a holder with an arrow that is supposed to indicate that we have to place the die and the holder to some place.

This player board doesn’t say that players will take turns taking 1 die in player order and place it on the main Game Board until each player has placed their 3 dice. How we place it also doesn’t say that if either the right side of the same or higher value of the dice.

This is when the bidding happens.

PHASE C is Retrieving Phase when we will take the dice back from the Game Board, as shown by the icon with a die and the holder with an arrow. That icon is supposed to say the die and the holder is taken from some place.

The problem is that it doesn’t say the order of how to resolve this phase. We have to start from the top row or the Castle area, from left to right then moving to the next row below it.

During this phase is when players can acquire a Favor Tile or a Character card or some resources from the same row as where we put the die on. This is also when we will be adjusting the resource tracker a lot as we gain and spend them.

Another thing that a player can get during this phase is the Crown tiles aside from Favor tiles. The player board doesn’t have a space to place these. To be fair, we will not keep them and have to return them before the next round. But that means, players will need more space around the board for these temporary things. We can also say the same to the die holder and they are rarely on the player board.

PHASE D is shown by the square area with the green Lion and flag icon. The flag has a number from 1 to 4, followed by a Crown icon that says MAX right below the flag.

This is the NEW PLAYER ORDER PHASE. In this game, the player order is in either clockwise or counterclockwise order. Instead, the position of the Lion Token on the main Game Board will determine who goes first.

The order will change depending on the number of Crown icons that the player has from either Crown Tiles, the Main Game Board or the Favor Tiles. Whoever has the most will go first.

The player order changes during a round. Resolving Phase E and F will follow the new player order.

Another issue that some players found was related to the end game scoring. During the scoring, the possession of the Crown icons will contribute to VP. Since the position of Lion changes in the middle of the round, the number of crown for the players can also change.

That means, during scoring, we have to recalculate the number of crown icons again because it can be different from Phase D.

Between icon of Phase D and E, there are 3 squares on the Player Board. These are called the SHUTTER SPACE where we are supposed to place the die holder and the die after Phase C.

We will take off the die from the holder after resolving it during Phase E. Personally, I have never placed the die holder and the die on these unless I’m consciously decide to do so. Most of the time, I just placed them outside the board.

Next is PHASE E icon from this Player Board. The icon shows a hand symbol to represent the INCOME phase. Getting income is mostly from the 4 Influence Tracks. Each of them will give different rewards.

We will not get all 4 of them but only with the corresponding die that we have drafted previously. The same color from the die will trigger the Influence track of that color with White die serves as wild or any color.

From the Influence track, we can either get Coins or Guards, VP or move the Pilgrim. So, this is where we will adjust the Resource Trackers and VP tracker. Pilgrim movement can also give resource to the player from the Monastery. During this phase, we also need to place the Player marker above the visited Monastery.

Then finally the PHASE F of any round. The icon has a Voyage Card icon with a disk icon shown to be placed on top of the Voyage Card. At the top there is a number that indicate 1x or once.

These are the reminder of the INVESTING phase. As mentioned above during the Voyage card, at the end of each round, players can choose to invest in one of the 6 Voyage cards in play.

The Voyage card will have a task and if we can fulfill the task along the way, we  can get VP at the end of it. Since there is only 4 rounds, investing in all 6 is possible but through other means.

Since this phase comes after the Income phase, as long as we have the die to trigger the resources, we can always afford to invest. The challenge is that we may need those resources for the next recruitment phase.

Now we get to the final part of the Player Board, the reminder for SCORING PHASE at the bottom right corner. As we can see that there are 3 columns and the first one has 3 scoring categories so the total is 5 categories.

The first one is scoring from VOYAGE CARDS, represented by that compass icon. Players will get score only from cards they have invested in and if they can fulfill the requirement.

Then the second scoring is from the INFLUENCE SCORING TILE, which is represented by the bell icon. These are based on the position of one player’s disk relative to the other player’s in the same track. Player whose disk is in farthest up on the track will get higher bonus.

The third scoring is from the CHARACTER with GAME END BONUSES. Players can gain score if they have acquired any of those characters and meet their requirements. It is possible that player has one but cannot score anything.

Then the next scoring category from the second row is from the DIPLOMA ICONS. The column will tell us the different reward we can get if we can have set of unique diploma icons.

What this Player Board didn’t remind us that we can have multiple sets as long as each icon is used only for one set.

The last category for scoring, as shown by the third column of this reminder is from the leftover resources plus crowns. For this we have to sum the leftover resources and crowns and divide the sum by 2 as the VP.

The board doesn’t say but the result should be rounded down.

That is it with the Player Board.

Game Board

This is the biggest component of Coimbra board game and it is actually the first one that we find after opening the box and below the rulebook. The Game Board is a huge board folded 4x so it can fit in the insert slot.

It will be placed above all of other slots so it will hold everything below it to stay in place. When folded the size is about 28.5 x 24.3 cm and the full size is 57 x 48.5 cm with 2mm thick.

The board itself only use one side. Other games may utilize the other side for different player count but that is not the case here. Regardless of the player count, we will always use the same side.

This Game Board itself has several parts: from the SCORING TRACKER, PILGRIM MAP, INFLUENCE TRACKER, VOYAGES, PLAYER TURN ORDER and the DICE PLACEMENT ROWS / CITY LOCATIONS.

That is not the only part. When playing the game, the top left end of the board is supposed to create market row for character cards. That means, we need to provide space of 4 columns of cards to the left of this board, adding at least 22.4 cm to the total length for the table space required.

Because of that we also cannot just rotate the board. If we don’t have tables that is big enough, the spaces for the cards cannot be left hanging outside the table. It should be the other end of the table.

Also, with 4 players, at least 2 of them will not be looking at the board in the right orientation. Even when I played with just 2 players, since the table is small, one player will have to suffer this issue.

Of course, the only problem would be that the other player will have a hard time looking at cards on the Voyage part. That player on the other end will have to keep asking which Voyage cards are they.

We also still need a room for the deck of cards for the subsequent rounds and discard pile aside from the game board and the extension market.

Score Track

The first part of this Game Board that I want to discuss is the Score Track. These are the number from 0 to 99 that surround the Pilgrim Map part and the 4 Influence Tracks.

Usually in other games, the number will occupy all edges of the entire board not just this smaller portion of it. But since they have an extension to the left for the Card Market Row, it is understandable.

On the track, each player will put one of their disk as the market on space 0 of this Score track. As the game goes on, with every Victory Points that the player can get or lose, they have to adjust the disk position, moving it to the next number.

The space 0 starts in the middle top edge of the game board, moving to right corner to the right edge and circle back.

In this game of Coimbra, most of the time each player will score more than 100 points. So, if the disk has reached the space 99, they can just continue with space 0 again.

In other games, usually, they will provide a piece of additional component to remind us that we already have more than 100 points. One of the solution would be using a disk with a number 100 on one side so we can flip it when we have reached 100 point mark.

Sadly, that is not the case here. I think it is very unlikely that one player will overlap the others but it can happen if the other players are playing poorly like if that player didn’t recruit at all.

On the other hand, there is also a possibility in this game where one player can lose VP and drop their score below 0. Even though it is also very unlikely that a a player will keep losing their score and their disk eventually counter circle the track and meet their opponent’s disk.

Another thing about this game is, while playing the game, players will get very low score like 25 points or less. But during the scoring at the end of the game, then, they will get like 100 points from various scoring categories.

We cannot tell while playing about who is going to win. Only during scoring, we will find out and at that point we can only accept the result.

I thought about maybe where they start with the space 0 will be better not on the outer edge but more in between the Pilgrim and Dice Placement spots. Since the board is big, if we sit on the bottom side, moving the disk on the top  edge is a bit out of reach. Of course if there is another player on the top end of the board, we can just ask that player to move it.

It is just, with limited table space where I have to put the board slightly hanging off the table, that corner with the score track is the one to be. That means, the disk will not be above the table for the most part of the session.

If then I accidentally bump the table, there is a good chance that the disk will fall off the table. Not to mention if we have to stack the disks from multiple players. If that happens, hopefully we can remember where to put it back.

Like the Resource Tracks on the Player Board, we also will be sliding the disk to adjust the score. However, this is more acceptable because we will not be adjusting that often. For some reason, maybe the circular shape is better for that system unlike the cube which is smaller than the space.

Voyages Area

This is the bottom most row of this Game Board. I think the reason why they put this area at the bottom is appropriate for the theme. That represents the location of the sea where the Sailing is going to happen.

But, as I have mentioned before, the player who will be sitting not on that side, will have issue looking at those cards. The task or scoring icons on the Voyage cards themselves is already too small for some, and now some players may have to look at it upside down.

We can find 6 card space where we will put 6 random Voyage cards that will be used in a session. Different set of cards already add some different setup varieties but that is not all.

Above each card space, there is a resource icon, either Coin or Guard. These indicate the required resources for players to invest on the given card. 3 of them will require coin and the other 3 with Guard.

So, the same Voyage card may require a Coin in one play and another with Guard. This adds another setup variability, which is nice but it doesn’t really significantly change the experience.

I guess the length of 6 card space is what defines the length of the board.

Influence Tracks

The next part of the Game Board is the 4 Influence Tracks on the right most column of the board. At the bottom of the track, we can see the symbol of each class: Council, Merchant, Cleric and Scholar. Or, we can just see the color.

At the top end, we can see 4 yellow rectangular space with a bell icon on each. These are where we will be placing the INFLUENCE SCORING TILES randomly.

Those tiles will define different value of each track. So, in every session of Coimbra, one track can be the most valuable one and be the least on the other.

Even though the tiles are a nice system to randomize the setup, where they are placed on the board can be problematic as I probably have mentioned above. The number on the tile itself is already small. Combine that with the position where we will least likely to look from the entire board, it is easy to ignore them.

Sure, we can just pick it up, look at the tile and return it. However, if then they put the tile more at the bottom, switching with the class icons themselves, I think it will be better.

Each track has two parts. The left one is where we will put our disk on and move it from 0 up to 15. That part is the influence value.

The right side will tell us the amount of reward from that track that we can get if our disk is within that space. So, each track has 6 different level of rewards, including the space 0. Every three space up, we can get higher reward.

Most of the time, we can increase the influence power by recruiting character with the same classes. It can increase between 1 up to 4. There is a minor way where we can lose the influence but so far, only with the Cleric.

We still cannot drop the influence level below 0 and cannot go up more than 15. So, if we are already at the top, we might want to consider investing in the other track.

So, the Influence Scoring tile will introduce the area majority to this game. Whoever has the highest influential power or farthest up on the track will gain higher bonus points at the end of the game.

Since the size of each space on the track can only be occupied by a single disk, we are supposed to stack them up. The disk at the bottom will be considered as the first one to reach this space and be eligible for higher bonus.

I agree with the order of classes from left to right. The green one is the least likely and should be at the right most column, followed by the purple.

Player Order Flags

Within the Score track, the left part has the Pilgrim Map which will be discussed next. There is a small part on the top left corner of Pilgrim Map, in the sea part of the illustration with 4 flags.

This is where players will be placing their Lion Token to determine the player turn order. Player with the Lion on the top flag will go first, followed by the next player right below it.

As we can see that the second, third and fourth flag, each has crown icon or icons next to the flag. Having more crowns is how to determine who will go first in subsequent turns.

So, the player in the second, third and fourth position will already have 1 more Crown at least than the player in the first position. If then the first player didn’t get more Crown tiles, whether from characters or Favor tiles, the other players will take over their place.

The change will happen during Phase D of any given round. So, between Phase D of this round and Phase D of the next, players will follow the new turn order.

I also have mentioned that Crowns will be one of the scoring categories at the end of the game. The change of turn order during Phase D of the final round has taken that into account.

That means, even if during Phase D of final round, one player got push out to the fourth position, that player still can get score from the 2 Crown icons next to the flag.

It doesn’t give a lot of points significantly but some players were asking about this on the forum.

Between players in the third and fourth position, both of them have the same number of Crowns on this board. The rule says that if they have the same number, they will still switch position.

From what I understand, it seems that the game is suggesting that we place the Lion token standing on the Flag. While the token is capable for that, the board itself has enough space for us to lay down the lion.

Pilgrim Map

This is probably the biggest part of the Game Board. It is the focal point when we look at the entire board. Oddly enough, this is not exactly the main part of the game.

As we can see that this is a map of Portugal, at least the portion of. At the center, there is the Castle of, probably, the Portugal Empire. Sadly, the rule didn’t talk more about this setting.

The Castle is where we will be placing our Pilgrim Token. As the game progresses, we can move the Pilgrim and visit the surrounding Monasteries to gain bonus.

This Castle is surrounded by a number of Monasteries with 3 different types. 8 of them have the color of Blue or I-type of Monastery which is the closest one to the Castle.

Farther away from the Castle we can find 2 of the gray or II-type on each north and south of the Castle. Lastly, on each north and south end, we can find the purple or III-type Monastery.

These Monastery spots are where we will be placing the Monastery Tiles that I have mentioned above. Each game random tiles will be placed in different position as long as they match the type.

All of these spots are connected by a road path. There are also some dots in between these spots. If then we have access to bonus that allows us to move the Pilgrim with a number of steps, these dots will count in those steps.

Between most of Blue or I-type monastery will only have one or 2 dots. That means, we need 3 or 4 steps to move to the nearby Monastery of this same blue type. It is 3 dots between two II-type Monasteries and 7 dots between 2 III-type Monasteries.

Everytime a Pilgrim visit a Monastery, the player will have to place their disk above the Monastery tile to indicate that the bonus has been claimed. The player will have to accept or resolve the bonus immediately or forfeit it as it only works once per game.

If we try to visit every Monastery, probably in circular path without moving backwards, we probably need about 50 steps in total. The highest value of steps that we can get per die from the Influence track is only 6.

Even with the highest value, we need 8 activations from 8 purple and/or white dice. While it is possible to take always 2 purple dice per round or more in 4 players, it is very unlikely to happen. Even if we can, in the first and second round, the disk will still be in lower level.

Most of my play, I only managed to visit less than half. Of course, that is in 2 player game with only 1 purple die.

If we look at the Castle, it has 4 quadrants. As part of the setup, players can either choose between choosing the right set of Starting Character Cards or the quadrant of this.

Each quadrant has a single way path connecting to the entire pathways. This indicates that we are not supposed to return to the Castle ever.

The quadrant will also limit in certain way as where the Pilgrim can go early. It’s not like players can block the other Pilgrim by going to any Monastery first. The Monastery is always open and any spot can be occupied by all Pilgrims.

Although, I would argue that some spots are too close to each other and it will be very hard if there are even only 2 Pilgrims on the same spot. Not that there is an incentive for doing so.

The thing is that we may need to gain certain bonuses early. If the bonus from Monastery can increase the influence track early, we will get even bigger bonus along the way.

By not choosing the right quadrant, we have to accept that we may take longer to reach certain bonus or even never. What that tells us is that this Pilgrim Map can define the entire strategy for the player if the Player choose to work on the Pilgrim influence track.

Players will examine the map from the start and they will decide right from the start whether to pursue it or not. While it is not necessary but they can visualize the shortest and most efficient path to visit as many Monasteries as possible and gain the most result.

Of course, whether they can acquire or recruit enough Purple influence along the way or not is a different matter. So, while they have to be prepared with a strategy, this is still a tactical game because of random die roll and the auction.

it’s just that when they do have the chance, if they are prepared, then they can make decision easily.

I can see how people, especially the first time player will ignore this strategy immediately. The game has already a lot of info with colors and other things right from the start. Ignoring this portion is a way to make it easier.

Even I managed to win in my first play with so little advancing the Pilgrim.

From other player’s experience story for pursuing this strategy, the Pilgrim can be a powerful one. Even though it seems to be in higher player count with more purple dice.

Another consideration is that to get the highest point from this strategy, they need to visit the two most valuable Monasteries. Even one of them is already huge.

The way we place a disk above the visited Monastery is a nice idea. However, since we have to stack them, sometimes if we look from the right direction, the disk at the bottom of the stack will be covered.

It is not that big of a deal. I just wish there is an easier way to tell.

City Locations

This is the last part that we can find on the game board itself. It is the one at the top left column of the board. This area is called the CITY LOCATIONS where we will be placing our Dice for the bidding.

There are 4 areas in this section: THE CASTLE, UPPER CITY, CENTRAL CITY and LOWER CITY.

In this game, each round, after we roll all of the dice (Phase A), players will take turns drafting one dice and place it on one of these 4 areas (Phase B). The value shown by the die face will determine who gets to draw the cards or Favor Tiles first.

Other than illustration on the background of each area, which are not that different between the 3 city locations, we can also see some icons at the top of each section.

The Castle Area is a bit different but the three other locations are the same. For the Castle, we can see an icon that has a die with a value 1 then an arrow pointing to a die with a value 6.

This indicates that whoever has a low value die placed on this area gets to choose first. What the players are going to choose is shown by the second set of icons. The second set has an icon of FAVOR TILES or 2 GUARDS + 2 COINS.

If player choose to place their dice here, clearly the target is to get one of the 4 FAVOR TILES that we will always be using in every game. But then if there are more than 4 dice, then all of the Favor tiles would have been taken and the 5th one can only take the second bonus, which is the resources.

The lower locations have similar idea with two differences. One is that we will be choosing character cards. Two, is that whoever has the higher value die gets to choose first.

So, we want higher value die for these lower locations. But as mentioned before, the value of the die itself will be the cost that we have to pay to recruit or acquire the character.

At the left end of the board of these 3 lower locations, we can see a border line with a number 4 on each. This indicates that the extension Character Card Market areas. 4 means that each row will have 4 cards per round that players can choose from.

Similar to the Castle area if all 4 cards have been taken and there are more than 4 die on an area or row, the 5th and subsequent die can only take the resources, which is also 2 Guards + 2 Coins.

That is just for the bidding for who gets to resolve the action first during PHASE C. Aside from resolving the die from left to right per row, we also need to start from the top area, which is the Castle.

This will affect how we manage our resources. We definitely will have to spend the resources for Favor Tiles first before the characters. Maybe the card on the lower area is better but we cannot afford the cost if we also recruit character on the upper areas.

So, there will be some forward planning even before we place the die during Phase B. We definitely want to make sure that the two resources that we have are enough to acquire the cards.

Maybe this will happen even before choosing the die. Because even if we win the auction and go first but we cannot afford it, we won’t be able to get the card that we want. With that in mind, maybe going for low value die is not a bad choice.

Since there will be 4 character cards, we will consider what we can get if we get outbid by other players? So, maybe even if other players have taken the best card of the row, maybe the next one isn’t so bad. In that case, we manage to force the other players to pay a lot.

On the other hand, if we then keep getting outbid to the point where our die become the fifth of the row, then we are forced to take the resources. So, that is also another consideration.

We are not just examining each row on its own but also the entire market of the round because that can affect how the other players will place their dice. To some extent, also be aware of what the other players is trying to achieve based on their tableau, influence tracks and other things.

With lower player counts, we will be using the DICE TOKENS on these lower Locations as part of the bidding. Because of that, we may outbid the other players but the tokens can still go first. If that happens, the cards with higher influence value will be removed preventing us from acquiring them.

With all of that, this part of the Game Board is the main part of the game. This is where players will make their decision with the dice that can affect the other parts of the board and their own progress.

That is it with all of the components to play Coimbra, the board game. Now we can learn how to play the game.

How to Play

Coimbra is a competitive board game for 2 to 4 players. The estimated playtime, according to the box is between 75 -120 minutes.

Up to this point, there is no official variant for solo play but there are a lot of fan made variants which will not be discussed in this section. Regardless of the player count, the gameplay remains the same but a couple of tweaks in the setup.

This next video is a tutorial of how to play Coimbra by Branislav Berec from Nithrania channel.

Setup

1st. Place the GAME BOARD in the middle of the table. We have to make sure to leave enough rooms at the left side of the board for 4 columns of cards. The rule also suggests to leave a space above the board for the Character Deck and Discard Pile.

2nd. Sort all of the MONASTERY TILES based on their type (I, II, III). Shuffle each stack separately and place them face down next to the board.

Then, draw 1 tile from each stack and place it face up onto the Monastery Space from the Pilgrim map with the matching type. Each game should be using 8 Blue or I-type tiles, 4 Gray or II-type tiles and 2 Purple or III-type tiles.

We can then return the remaining unused Monastery Tiles to the game box.

3rd. Shuffle the 4 INFLUENCE SCORING TILES and place one randomly on each Influence Scoring Space above the 4 Influence Tracks. Make sure that the face up side match the player count. It is either 2/3 player or 4 player side.

The idea of these tiles is to create different value of each track for every game.

4th. Take all the 5 DICE TOKENS and depending on the player count, we may use none, some or all of them. Here are the details.

For 4 players: use NONE of them. We can return them back to the box.

For 3 players use 2 value 3 dice tokens and 1 value 4 dice token. Place one the value 3 on the UPPER CITY space of City Location part of the Game Board and the other one on the LOWER CITY space.

Then, place the value 4 dice token  onto the MIDDLE CITY space. The tiles should be facing up. We can return the value 5 and value 2 tokens to the box.

For 2 players, use all of the Dice Tokens. On Upper city Space, place 1 value 3 and 1 value 2 Dice tokens.

For the Middle City Space, place 1 value 4 and 1 value 3 dice tokens. That leaves us the value 5 which goes to the Lower City Space.

5th. Shuffle the VOYAGE CARDS and draw 6 randomly and place each of them face up on the card space on Voyage Area of the Game Board.

That is the horizontal space at the bottom. We can return the remaining 9 cards to the game box.

6th. Take all 13 DICE to create a DICE POOL. Depending on the player count, we will have to return some of them. Here are the details.

For 4 players, we will be using all of the dice. In a 3-player game, REMOVE 1 Purple and 1 Green Dice so the dice pool will have 11 dice.

For 2 players: REMOVE 1 gray, 1 orange, 2 Purple and 2 Green dice and return them to the game box. That means we will be using 7 dice in the dice pool.

7th. Each player takes 1 PLAYER BOARD and place the board in front of them with the colorful side face up. Make sure to leave some space on the right side and the bottom side of the Player board for cards.

Each player probably need another space for their Disks and Tokens, next to their board.

8th. Each player choose a color and take the matching color of DIE HOLDERS, CUBES, DISKS and PILGRIM token. Place the Die Holders on the shutter space of the player board, which is the 3 square spaces between Phase D icon and Phase E icon.

Place the 2 CUBE MARKERS on the Player Board: one on the space 7 of Coin track and one on space 7 of Guard track. This means that the starting resources that the player has is 7 Coins and 7 Guards.

For now, the Pilgrim token should just be placed next to the player board. As for the DISK, each player will take one of theirs and place it on the space 0 of SCORE TRACK of the Game Board.

Each player also take 4 DISKS and place one on each space 0 of the 4 INFLUENCE TRACKS of the Game Board. We can stack the disks.

The remaining 20 Disks should be placed next to the Player Board.

9th. Determine the player order randomly. The 1st player will place their LION TOKEN on the PLAYER ORDER FLAG number 1 on the Game Board, the 2nd player on flag number 2, and the same goes with 3rd and 4th player.

10th. Sort the CHARACTER CARDS by their backs and form of each type (I, II, III). Shuffle them separately. Take the II-stack and place it face down on the face down III-stack.

The combined stack will create the CHARACTER STACK or Character Deck. Place the stack above the Game Board and leave enough space for the Discard Pile.

Regardless of the player count, we will always be using all 48 cards from II and III stack.

For the moment, keep the I-stack ready for later.

11th. Take all 4 FAVOR TILES and place them  in a row on the upper left area of the Game Board next to the CASTLE AREA. The order doesn’t matter.

Also, place the CAP TILE above the Favor Tile with 2 Crowns.

12th. Draw 12 cards from the CHARACTER STACK to create CHARACTER DISPLAY. To do that, we first draw 4 cards from the stack and display them face up at random to the left of the Upper City.

Next, draw 4 more cards from the stack but this time we put them to the left of the Middle City. Then, we do another 4 cards for the Lower City Area.

So, the display or market area will have 4 columns of cards in 3 rows.

13th. Take the 4 CROWN TILES and distributed on cards in the Character Display. Each crown tile should be placed on character card with the same color, starting from up to bottom of the right most column.

If no cards with the matching color is available, then move to the next or 3rd column, 2nd and 1st until we can find the matching one. If we still cannot find the matching one, the corresponding Crown Token is left unused.

14th. This is how to setup the starting condition for each player.

For each player, create a pair of character cards from I-stack randomly and return the rest to the box. With 4 players, we will be using all 8 cards, 6 cards for 3 players and 4 cards for 2 players.

In REVERSE PLAYER ORDER, starting with the player on the 4th of the Player Order Flag, player can either choose to take 1 PAIR OF CARDS or choose the STARTING CORNER of the CASTLE at the center of Pilgrim Map.

If the player choose to take the cards, just take both cards of the pair and place it next to the Player Board, following the Zoning area.

The Starting Corner can only be occupied by one Pilgrim. Player can the Pilgrim on the chosen corner.

After all players have done with doing one of the 2 choices, now, in PLAYER ORDER, players will resolve the other option. So, one player can choose the card first, then choose the starting corner later or vice versa.

After that, players will receive the INFLUENCE VALUE and IMMEDIATE BONUS from their chosen cards. They can adjust the position of their Disk on the corresponding Influence Track and/or adjust their Cube Markers on their resource tracks.

That’s the setup and we are ready to play the game.

Gameplay

The game of Coimbra is played over 4 rounds. Each round consists of 6 phases.

The 6 phases that players have to resolve each round are as follows.

A: Rolling Dice
B: Drafting and Placing Dice
C: Retrieving Dice
D: New Player Order
E: Influence Income
F: Invest in a Voyage

Afterwards, we prepare for the new round with 12 new character cards again, reset the Favor Tiles and Crown Tiles.

The game will end after 4 rounds, in which the Character Stack will run out of cards. At that point, we proceed to the scoring phase and whoever score the most point wins.

Phase A: Rolling Dice

In this phase, the rule suggests that the first player in Player Order Flag should roll all of the dice that being used in the game to create the Dice Pool.

The number of dice differs based on player count and will remain the same for 4 rounds. There will be no changing the dice face by flipping or rerolling so we need to make sure not to change the roll.

Phase B: Drafting and Placing Dice

Players will take turns drafting one die and place it on the 4 City Locations, starting with the first player. The player will take the die, put it on the Die Holder without ever changing the face. The result side should face up in the holder.

When placing a die and the holder on the City Location, they need to place it in either in ascending value for the Castle or in descending value for the 3 City Locations.

That is if there is already another die on the same row. This will define the activation order which should be from left to right of the given row. The die on the left will be activated first.

Each of Dice Tokens works as a regular die with the stated value.

If the die value matches the value of an existing die, the new one should be placed on the right side of the existing die. That means, if the value is the same, whichever comes first will be activated earlier.

The goal of the placement should be about acquiring either one of Favor Tiles or one of the character cards per die if any of them are still available. There are only 4 things that we can acquire per row but each row can have more than 4 dice, including the Dice Tokens.

So, the fifth die and afterwards may not be able to acquire anything and has to take 2 Guards + 2 Coins as the consolation prize.

Each player can have more than 1 die in the same row and acquire as many tiles or cards as long as there are still cards or tiles left.

At this point, what matters is only the value of each die. The color only matters during Phase E but we have to make decision now.

Aside from activation order, the value itself will become the cost for acquiring the cards. More about this next.

Phase C: Retrieving Dice

This phase is not played in turn order. Instead how we activate each die will start from the leftmost die moving to right, from the top area, which is the Castle, then moving down to the next area below it.

Each die will do one action. After resolving the action, the owner will take the die and the holder back to the Player Board. If it is a dice token, we flip the token to indicate that we have activated the die action.

The action that we can do per die in this phase is either ACQUIRING ONE AVAILABLE FAVOR TILE (in the Castle Area), ACQUIRING ONE AVAILABLE CHARACTER CARD ( in any of the 3 City Locations), or DISTRESS ACTION in any of the 4 areas.

Acquire one of available Favor tile simply means, we take the Favor Tile, place it next to our Player Board and gain the Bonus. Once taken, the other die cannot acquire it again until the next round.

Most of the Favor Tile will have Crown Icons. This will affect the New Player Order or Phase D.

For Character Cards, we first have to pay the Cost which is the value of our die. The Character Card will determine which resource to pay the cost with, indicated by the icon at the top left corner of the card, either Coin or Guard.

After we pay the cost, we take the card and put it in the corresponding zone next to our Player Board. We also take the Crown Tile if the card has it and take back the die and the holder and proceed with activation of the next die.

If we cannot acquire anything or choose not to acquire anything, we can take the DISTRESS ACTION. It simply means, taking 2 Guards and 2 Coins.

In that case, we just adjust the Cube Marker on our Resource Track and take back the die from the Game Board.

If there are still Character cards available in that row after all dice have been triggered, we simply discard those cards and place them on the Discard Pile. The remaining Favor Tiles will stay there.

Then, we can proceed with the next area or next row below it.

We keep doing this until all dice have been activated and taken back by the owner or flipped if it was a Dice Token.

Acquiring Character Cards

There are a two steps that we need to resolve right after we acquire a Character Card. The first one is gain Influence Value and the second one is resolving the Immediate Bonus.

If we gain Influence Value, we simply move up our disk of the corresponding track a number of space equal to the Influence Value. The Influence Value is the number below the classes icon next to the illustration of the character card.

The influence value can be between 1 up to 4. Our influence value cannot go higher than 15. Any excess we get must be forfeited. There are cards that will make us lose the Influence as an effect from another player’s action.

For the second part, we only need to immediately resolve this type of bonus or choose to forfeit it. Other type of bonuses should be resolved in each corresponding phase. Most of the time, from Immediate type Bonus we will gain one of the resources or VP, in which we just need to adjust the marker or disk of the corresponding track.

The bonus will be indicated by the green mint color. Some will have requirement with the beige background color to trigger the bonus and other may have a cost that we need to pay to gain the bonus in the red background color.

The bonus can have multiple choices that we can only get one, indicated by the slash icon between the choices. Without that, we simply take all of the bonuses.

NOTE. The Resources track cannot take more than 20 resources. If we gain more, it simply means we lose them.

There are also cards that will force other players to lose something. Usually if the other player cannot afford to pay the resources penalty, they will have to lose VP. Losing VP below 0 is possible.

One card can make us lose Cleric Card if we choose to. In that case, we discard the card from our Zone, and we lose the Influence Value of that card, moving down the disk on that Purple track.

Also, if our disk lands on a space with another disk on it, we place our disk on top. That indicates that our disk is the one behind.

NOTE: There are also 2 characters that can give us bonus based on the position of our disk relative to the other players’ of the same track. For that, we resolve the Influence value first, moving up our disk, then resolve this action. So, it is possible that it will change between getting no bonus into getting something.

Gain Phase C Bonuses

This only happens if we have one of the starting Characters with Phase C bonus. We also need to meet the requirement of that Character in order to gain the bonus.

It can either give us resource and VP bonus or discount from the recruiting cost if we recruit the matching characters. We acquire the character, resolve the bonus like in the previous section, then resolve this Phase C bonuses.

Phase D: New Player Order

After all players have retrieved all of their dice and resolve all of the actions and bonuses, it is time for Phase D. We will change the player order based on the number of Crowns owned by each player.

Whoever has the most crowns will be in the go first in player order. There are 3 ways any player can gain the Crown icons.

One. Crowns from Favor Tiles. This is only if a player acquire a Favor Tile with a crown icon on it. The number of Crown can be 0 up to 3 icons.

Two. Crowns from Crown Tokens that we can get by recruiting a Character that has this token. Each token is worth 2 Crown icons, so with 4 tokens the total possible number would be 8.

Three. Crowns from the Player Order Flag. So, the current position of the player order will also give fixed amount of Crown icons. The number can be 1 Crown for the second place, or 2 for the 3rd and 4th place.

So, each player count their Crown icons and whoever has the most, moves their Lion Token to the first flag or first position in Player Order. The second highest takes the second flag, and so on.

If between 2 players, they have the same number of Crown icons, the player order will be reversed. That means, if both players in the 3rd and 4th position, didn’t get additional Crown icons, they both have 2 icons and they will switch place.

After the new player order has been determined, players will follow this turn order until the next Phase D. Crown Tokens and Favor Tiles should be returned during the setup of the next round before Phase A. During the last round, as there is no next setup, players will count the Crowns from these two tokens and the new position for the VP.

Phase E: Income

This one should be resolved by following the new player order. Starting with the first player, they activate all of the income and then followed by the second players, third and lastly the fourth player.

The rule says that this is the phase of Influence Income. What that means is the color of the dice in our die holders will generate income from the corresponding track with the matching color.

If we have Orange die, we will get Coins, gray die for Guards, green die for VP and purple die for moving the Pilgrim a number of steps. White die is a wild color and can be considered any of the 4 colors.

The amount of reward that we can get is based on the reward stated by the Influence Tracks and the position of our disk on that track.

Each track will have 6 possible reward level and we can get higher by moving the disk up every 3 spaces, except from space 0 to space 1, which just need one level.

For Coin, Guards and VP, we simply adjust our Disk or Cubes on the corresponding track. Remember that we cannot have more than 20 Coins or 20 Guards. We will lose any excess.

If we gain steps for the Pilgrim, we just move the Pilgrim through dots in the connected line of the Pilgrim Map. Each step that we gain is to move either 1 dot or 1 Monastery. See MOVING THE PILGRIM below.

However, aside from getting income from the Influence track, we also gain Income or bonus from Character card with the Phase E type of bonuses.

There are 9 Character Cards with this Phase E Bonus. Most of them will just give us resources with cost or requirement. There are also two that allows us to move up our disk 1 space on the chosen single Influence track.

Players can choose with the order of how they resolve the income between dice and these Characters. Ideally, to get higher bonus from the Influence Track, we want to activate the bonus that will give us Influence Value first.

This could be from Characters with Phase E bonus or from Pilgrim and the Monastery. Also from white die if we choose to use it as Purple.

After all players are done gaining their Income, it’s time to proceed to the last phase or Phase F.

Pilgrim Movement and Monastery

Moving the Pilgrim can happen either in Phase C after acquiring cards or Favor tiles or in Phase E if the player has a white or purple die. The bonus, with the Pilgrim icon and a number on it, will state the maximum number of steps that the Pilgrim can move.

Players can choose to spend all, spend some or none at all. They don’t need to move in linear direction. It is possible to move back.

One step means we move the Pilgrim from the current location along the road to the next location. Locations can either be a stepover/ dot or Monastery Tile.

Pilgrim will start from the center of Pilgrim Map from their chosen Starting Corner. Notice that there is a road line with an arrow. The Pilgrim movement have to follow that arrow and the arrow indicates that there is no going back to that Starting Corner.

The first step from the center means reaching the first connected stepover or dots, not the intersection between that arrow and the line.

If the Pilgrim move to a stepover or dot, nothing happens. It will just take the number of step and we can just move on.

When the Pilgrim move into a Monastery, immediately place one of our disks above the Monastery Tile if there hasn’t any yet. If there are other player’s disk, we can stack the disk.

Placing the disk is to trigger or activate the bonus. Pilgrim can revisit the same Monastery but can only activate or trigger the bonus the first time.

The bonus can either be an Immediate bonus that we need to resolve right away or lose it. Another type of bonus is the ongoing bonus that will happen if the requirements are met after we have placed our disk.

Other player’s Pilgrim will not interfere or block our Pilgrim. Any number of Pilgrims can occupy the same location.

Phase F: Invest in a Voyage

This phase should be resolved in the player order. During this phase, players can choose whether to invest on a Voyage that they haven’t invested in previously. Or they can skip this phase.

If they choose to invest, they have to pay the indicated resources, adjust their Resource tracker. The required resources should be above the Voyage Card, either in Coin or Guards. The Voyage Card will tell the amount at the top left corner of the card.

After paying the cost, player places their disk on that Voyage card.

At the end of the game, the player who invested in the Voyage will gain VP depending on how good the player fulfill the task. Any number of players can invest in the same Voyage.

It is not a race between players. However, we have limited time as when we can invest. Players can only invest in 1 Voyage during Phase F, so we have up to 4 chances to invest.

The Invest action itself can also happen during Phase C or outside Phase F. There are character cards that if we acquire them, they allow us to do Invest Action.

Another one is by acquiring one of the Favor Tiles that will give bonus specifically to do extra Invest Action. With these 2 additional Invest chances, we can invest in all 6 Voyage Cards.

NOTE: The bonus from Favor Tiles will also give discounts for any Invest action as long as we have this Tile. That means, there can be 3 discounted Invest Actions in the same round when we acquire the tile.

The first one is from the Tile itself, the second one is from the Character and the last one is invest action during Phase F.

End of the Round

After Phase F of any round, we check whether there are still Character Cards in the Character Stack. If the stack is empty, that means we have reached the end of fourth round and we should proceed to the Scoring Phase.

Otherwise, we setup for the new round. We repeat the process from setting up Favor Tiles, the 12 cards for Character Display and distributing the Crown Tokens.

This is the time when every player needs to return any Favor Tiles and Crown Tokens back to the general supply.

End of the Game / Scoring Phase

After the fourth round, the game ends. Players then proceed with the final scoring phase.

In Coimbra, there are 5 scoring categories:
One. From VOYAGES
Two. From INFLUENCE SCORING TILES
Three. From DIPLOMAS
Four. From CHARACTER WITH GAME END BONUSES
Five. From LEFTOVER RESOURCES.

From VOYAGES, players will only gain score from Voyage Cards that they have invested in or that has the player’s disk on it. For each, gain VP depending on how well the player has fulfilled the card’s task.

From INFLUENCE SCORING TILES, players will compare their disk positions in each of 4 Influence Tracks. Player whose marker is farthest up on the track will gain the first place bonus stated by the tile above the track.

Then, player whose disk is at the second highest will gain the second place bonus and the third highest gains the third place bonus. That is with the 4 player variant.

With 3 players, the third one will not get any bonus. For the 2 player variant, the second player’s disk  must be within no more than 3 spaces from the player’s disk at the first place.

Otherwise, player at the second place will not get any bonuses. The idea is so that the second player has to compete for the second place.

If there several disks at the same space, the disk at the lower position in the stack is considered farther up.

NOTE: If the Player’s disk is still in space 0, they will not get any VP.

From DIPLOMAS, each player has to check their Character Cards and visited Monastery for any diploma icons. Then, players will create sets from those icons.

Each set can comprise up to 5 different colors of Diploma icons: red, green, brown, blue and black. There is also a Wild Diploma, indicated by 3 colors that can count as any diploma color.

No diploma icon can be used in more than one set.

Each set with 5 different diploma icons gives 12 VP to the owner. With 4 different diplomas, each set gives 8 VP,  each set with 3 gives 4 VP, each set with 2 gives 2 VP. A single diploma icon is worth 1 VP.

From CHARACTERS WITH GAME END BONUSES, only if the player has acquired any of the 7 cards in the game. For each card, gain VP depending on the stated bonus.

Most of them have requirements that we need to meet in order to trigger the bonus. So, it is possible that even a player has any of those cards, that player doesn’t score anything.

The last character card of this category that will trigger another card of this category won’t generate any points on its own. For this one, we need another card and make sure that other card will also trigger the bonus.

The last category is from the LEFTOVER RESOURCES owned by each player. Players will sum their Coins, Guards and the number of Crown icons. Then they have to divide the result by 2 and gains the result as VP, rounded down.

That means, if a player has full 20 Coins + 20 Guards still left during scoring, that player will get 20 VP. That player will also get from Crown icons if they have any.

The Crowns from the Player Order Flag is based on the result of Phase D of the final round. That means if the player is at 4th position as the result of Phase D, that player will have at least 2 Crown Icons during scoring.

Players tally their score from these 5 categories and whoever has the most points wins. In case of a tie, player who comes first the Player Order wins the tie.

That is it with how to play Coimbra.

My Experience and Thoughts

In this section I will discuss my experience in playing the game and what I think of it. This is one of the few games that I had the chance to play with other player. But that is just one time and for the other I tried to simulate two players on my own.

The first time I played this game, I feel like a bit overwhelmed with a lot of icons and colors. Combine that with how our decision at the start of every round can affect a couple of steps ahead, kind of confuses me at first.

The issue is about separating the die value and the die color. This is the first game to force player to do so, at least, that I have played so far. My first mistake was thinking that the color has to match the cost. Then the second is about the value as the cost not just the the bidding power.

Because of that I didn’t generate the right income or resources that I need. As the result of the second problem, I couldn’t afford to pay the recruitment cost, but almost.

It kind of nice that we can just switch to a different character with the resources that we have when that happens. The key is just to make sure that we are not the last turn of the row. Otherwise we won’t have any other options.

By the time I entered the third round, I no longer made that mistake. So, at least, for me, I can keep up quickly. This issue is not longer a problem in my subsequent play. I also won that game, so, maybe the game has a good built in catch up mechanism.

I already mentioned that I was overwhelmed with too many things at the start. By the time we entered the final round, the choices becomes easier. We have much better understanding of what to pursue. The game will keep narrowing our choice in every round.

This issue is still true even after a couple of plays. We will still feel a lot of choices at the start and somehow maybe we will try to get everything.

On the other hand, I keep forgetting that during the last round, we have to switch from the dice that will generate resources into die that generate VP or the green one.

Regarding the scoring,  already said that during the game we may increase the score to about 25 VP or so. But that final Scoring Phase can contribute up to 100 points. We will not know exactly whether we are winning, or we need to catch up.

I really don’t know how we can tell that we will have better score than our opponents. What that means is that this is a game where we really just need to do the our best for our own progress. We may win over the other players in one of the scoring categories, but it doesn’t mean we will win the game.

I think we can still do hate drafting but it is really hard to tell what our opponent is aiming for. We can probably just stop the opponent’s progress in some scoring sections here and there, like the Influence Tracks or so. But it’s like we can only hope that it will be enough to lower the score.

I feel like it is almost impossible for 2 players to get a tied score. It is still nice that they have a tie breaker but I’m not sure about aiming the 1st position in Player Order by collecting Crown Tokens as the main strategy.

If anything, somehow I have never tried to get any Crown Tokens. More like if I get it, it’s just a bonus. Maybe if the two cards will give similar result and the one with the token will give better bonus but that’s about it.

It will reset anyway in the next round. Maybe it is more crucial in higher player count? Because if we are the last one, the 3 other players probably have taken dice with the good value.  With 2 players, there is a good chance that I will still have good dice, even if I go as the second.

Also, with 4 players, there are only 3 dice of each color. That means one player will not be able to get the Orange or Gray for the resources. The white becomes trickier to use, probably mostly for replacing that one die.

In 2 player, the white becomes another boost as players can just share the same number of dice, at least for the two resources. The white becomes alternative for mostly purple but also green for the last round.

Also with 2 players, after we roll the dice, the first thing that I consider is the value. If the value of 2 dice of the same color are equal, then it can wait. But then if one of them is very low and the other is very high, we probably want to secure the lower value first.

Of course, if we need specific card, or later in the game where we can afford higher value, maybe we want to take the higher one first. With low value die, we may not win the bidding and just get the leftover cards. At least we don’t have to pay a lot, especially in the first 2 rounds.

With 2 players using the dice tokens, maybe the lowest row is the safest one for low value die.  The thing about low value die is that we can get outbid to the point where our die is the fifth one in a row. When that happens, we may not get any of the card as we get push out.

Even the weak or lowest value card can increase resources and the influence value. So, even if we are forced to take the high value die and pay a lot, there is still a chance to hit the other players back.

In general, the game gives a lot of random setup and variabilities to ensure that maybe it is not an obvious choice to get high value or low value die. Still, the player needs to be prepared with the resources so they can afford to outbid. Otherwise, the player with low value die will still get something.

Sometimes it is really hard to predict whether we have enough resources for the 3 dice or not. I don’t and probably can’t play that way. Most of the time, we have to be prepared to pivot to different card.

The best I can do is just aiming for the row with better set of cards, assume that I will lose the bid and have to take the leftover card. If it turns out, the first die didn’t work according to plan, it can probably affect whether we can afford the next two dice.

So, for players like me, why do we even make a plan in the first place? Clearly players who can do better planning will get better score. It seems that we need to pay attention to other player’s resources. The position of the cube and the color can help gives a rough idea but not the exact number.

I also cannot predict if it is about the first die placement. Only after all players are done placing the dice, we can have better prediction as which cards our opponent will take. It’s even clearer during the second or third die.

It is very suck to get outbid, even though it is probably our own fault. Players need to realize that there is no good fix after that. The Castle and some Favor Tiles clearly can help change the die value or give  resources.  Even that is not a guarantee.

It is very rare for me to place the die on the Castle. It feels like if we go there, we are playing poorly.

The idea of Pilgrim movement is probably the most interesting part. Some people say that it can be the most powerful one. I suspect that is the case with 4 players but not with 2. In 2 player mode, we only have 1 purple die while with 4 players, one player can take all 3 purple die. Of course, the other player should try to prevent that from happening.

It is also very situational. I had one game where I moved the Pilgrim very little but I won while my opponent was focusing on the purple strategy. If the Monastery tiles in play are mostly good and they are in the right position, then maybe going for Pilgrim is a better plan.

At first, I don’t know why we should choose the starting corner over starting characters. But my other game session has shown me how that starting corner can be very important.

My question is, if the player choose the starting corner first, isn’t that like revealing their plan?

While I think any starting corner are equal in terms of how to reach the III-type Monastery, but I think the idea of this Pilgrim strategy is not to move back. We want to circle around without wasting the steps by moving backwards.

Eventually we can reach the nearest intersection to move to the II-type and then III-type. Because of this, where we start and the order of bonus that we can get can be very significantly impact the progress.

I thought the starting characters will be better with the Phase C bonus instead of just 1 time resources. That is not exactly true. There were sessions where  I only trigger those Phase C bonus very minimum and lost.

On the other hand, the extra resources can help us afford the recruitments during the first round while the other players are suffering. This can lead to better progression in the subsequent rounds.

My one concern with the die is probably the randomness during first round. Like, what if with that first roll, only the first player get the low value die while the other players have to suffer the higher one that they cannot afford?

Will that help the first player to win the game? So far, I have never been in that situation. I guess even if that happens, players can just agree to reroll.

I think another issue with Coimbra is the lack of cards. We will see every character cards from II and III stacks even from a single play. I agree that we will not get every card and the randomness of the market position with 3 rows are enough to create different experience from game to game.

In a play good cards of II stack can all come out in the first round. Other times it can be distributed evenly. That will affect how we manage our resources.

When they come out, it can be distributed in 3 rows or even a single one. That will affect the bidding. Not to mention the die roll can affect them as well.

With 2 players, the Dice Token will just discard all of the good cards if the die roll doesn’t really give higher value to outbid. I kind of think that there should be another randomizer so the 5 dice tokens in 2 players will be in different combination everytime.

But what do I know? This is not the designer’s first design. So, there must be a reason. it’s just that I feel like it kind of limits the decision space.

While the cards are unique. Some are just variants, a few are situational and the rest really stands out as a very strong one.

During my first play, I won because my friend didn’t acquire any Character with game end bonus while I did take a few. Clearly I cannot take or even gain points from all of those cards but it is possible that they are very essential.

Some can come very early so like those that give points based on a single Influence tracks. It’s like the game encourage us to make a choice from the start. Then, during the final 2 rounds or III cards, there are only 3 cards.

It is very easy to miss getting any of them. I feel like maybe the randomness in this part kind of hurts the experience. Like if that cards just lands on the wrong row or the dice just didn’t give a good value. Maybe this is not true, but I feel like I already lost the game in that case.

Knowing that certain cards is very valuable, I feel like the other cards just don’t give enough variability. I always look for those special cards and that will limit the strategy  to keep coming back to playing this game.

It’s a not a game to play like every week. More like maybe once every couple of months. Despite all of that, when I do play the game, I have a good time.

There are only 4 rounds but the decision space in every round is very deep. The gameplay is simple but maybe because we want to maximize the result of every part in every decision, the choices can be hard.

Because of the dice, some people say that this is more of a tactical game instead of strategic one. But I do feel some setup like Voyage and Pilgrim map can shape the overall strategy.

I’m not sure with how I feel about the tasks from Voyage cards. Some are very straight forward while others are a bit too complex to make decision. Sure, it’s another tough decision to make but it is not a satisfying result.

Influence tracks are definitely crucial part to win the game. We cannot just ignore it, especially with 2 players. One player can just win 3 or 4 tracks and gain a lot more points. This scoring category is like 4 mini games where one player can win 30 points or more with 2 players.

The diploma is just not necessary. Kind of confusing because we need to break the zoning area of character cards.

I also sometimes forget an ongoing ability that may not be triggered every time. Especially the one from Monastery. This still happens even after a couple of plays.

Overall, I think Coimbra is a great game. However, it kind of stuck? I mean like what can they add to this system? It seems like every change to the existing part and adding new element will affect a lot of things.

Of course it probably doesn’t need any expansion and that one expansion has shown that something can be done. I’m sure the designers know their games better than me.

As I said earlier, it’s not a game that I will repeatedly play in short time. However, when I do come back, I know I will have a good time, even with just the base game.

Expansion

Up to this point there is only one expansion for Coimbra and that is the Royal Treatment. We can buy it for about 15 USD from Plain B Games page, here.

I cannot find any digital file of the rulebook for this expansion on any of the publishers’ page. Luckily, somebody started a thread on this page, explaining how the expansion works.

What we will get first is the box itself which will serve as the dice tray to roll all of the dice which is a felt lined box. Other than that, we will get 4 custom wooden dice, 4 wooden bells and 1 rulebook.

The wooden dice will add the number of action by 1 per player. So, instead of drafting 3 dice per round, player will choose 1 additional dice.

The dice has a value between 0 to 4 and with two colors, either Gray/Orange or Purple/Blue. If we choose to draft these dice, we can do Special Trade action but not for the bidding or acquiring cards or Favor Tiles. So, we won’t be placing the die on the holder.

SPECIAL TRADE action allows us to trade resources. We can pay with either Coin, Guard or VP or any combination of them to get one of the resources stated by the color of the die we choose.

The die value becomes the total cost and the space for the income reward of the influence track, not the income reward itself. For example, if the die roll shows a 4, we get the reward from space 4 of the chosen track which is either 5 Guards, 5 Coins, 3 Steps or 4 VP.

That gives some flexibility to manage the resources while doing the bidding. Player can only choose this Influence die once per round.

That is just the first part. The second part is related to the WOODEN BELL TOKENS.

As a setup, we place one Wooden Bell of the matching color at the top of Influence Track. Everytime a player choose the Influence Die on that track, we have to move the Bell token down a number of space equal to the die value.

By the end of the game, the 4 bells will be in different space. What this does is that if the player’s disk on that track can reach the same level as the bell or over it, they can score an additional scoring category.

We will not get score based on the individual track but it will be similar to the diploma. If we have 1 disk that is higher than the bell, we get 0 VP. With 2 disks higher, 3 VP, 3 disks higher, gain 8 VP and 15 VP if all 4 disks are higher than the bells.

That means this adds another consideration for working on different tracks instead of just abandoning them. We may not get the bonus from Influence Scoring Tiles but if we can get higher than the bell, we still get something.

I cannot tell for sure but with only 4 dice and 4 wooden bell tokens, maybe we can put the expansion content into the base game. The box itself is unnecessary with an art from different artist.

According to BGG entry, the size of the box is about 12 x 17 x 4 cm. Several people complained that the box is not a two piece box but instead use a magnetic clasp that we cannot separate the lid and the base box. The box become to large on the table just to become a dice tray.

Below is the screenshot from the publisher’s page and a video covering this expansion from Brettspiel Dude YouTube channel.

Fan Made Solo Variant

So far, there is no official solo variant to play Coimbra. However, there were 4 fan made variants that we can find now on the file section of BGG, here. Because of the system of the game, regardless of the variant we choose, they always have a reference for how the bot will draft.

I have only tried one of them, which is the oldest entry by Michael Shell (username: Saco Gamer), which we can find it on this page.

In this variant, we will be using similar setup as in the 2 player variant. However, we will be rolling 2 of the unused dice to determine where the bot will place the dice and remove the cards.

This variant will use 2 tables that we probably need to print or constantly check on. The first table is for Phase B. We first roll a green die first to choose which die the bot will take from the regular dice pool.

Then we roll the purple die to determine where that chosen die will go in the bidding rows which can be either of 3 city locations or the Castle. It’s a combination of the chosen die’s value and the value of the purple die which creates 6 possible spots.

The next table is for the Phase C to decide which card or Favor Tiles that the bot will take. We roll the green die again and the value from 1 to 6 will determine how the bot will draft the card or tile. Mostly the bot will pick either the card that gives highest Influence value or helping the Bot’s most advanced track.

The bot will still collect cards but they will just do set collection based on color or classes. Each card in any class will become 1 VP at the end of the game.

When the Bot take a card or a favor tile, the Bot will still gain Influence value as in regular mode. However, for the bonus, depending on the classes, the Bot will always get the same reward per acquisition.

For example, if the bot takes a Gray card, they will always gain 3 Guards + 1 VP. If it is an orange, gain 3 Coins + 1 VP instead, 3 VP per green and 1 Monastery tile + 1 VP per purple.

As part of the setup, each Favor Tile will be assigned with one die each with 4 different color. So, for the Bot, if they take Favor tile, those tiles will be considered as cards with classes or colors. It’s just the tile doesn’t have Influence Value.

The variant assumes that the bot can always afford the cost but doesn’t pay the cost. As for resources, the Bot will collect them but every time the bot has more than 10 of the resources, we substract the 10 and trade it into 3 VP for the bot.

As for Pilgrim movement, the bot will only gain steps from the Influence Track during income. We divide the number of steps by 2 and this become the number of Monasteries that the bot is visiting.

For that, we place their disk on the Monastery tile, which it doesn’t matter which Monastery. The Bot will also gain 2 VP per visited Monastery. So, the Bot will not use the Pilgrim at all.

As for the Phase F or Invest in a Voyage, the Bot will invest in one Voyage based on the position of their disk on either gray or Orange track. If the disk has reached certain level or space, the bot can afford to invest in a voyage of corresponding resources, where the cost is equal or cheaper than the level the disk is on. The bot also don’t pay the cost.

For final scoring, the bot will gain points from Voyages, Influence Scoring Tiles, the green Influence track and Pilgrimage but not from diplomas, leftover resources and character with game end bonuses.

I’ve only tried this once. Unlike playing with the regular multiplayer mode, the Bot will gain score a lot during the play but not at the end. They will still reach similar scores as playing with another player.

It’s a bit complicated. How to read the tables is much easier than it looks. However, we will still constantly check the tie breaker between two equal dice during drafting.

Conclusion

Coimbra is one of the Euro type board game for 2 to 4 players, set in the City of Coimbra, in Portugal during the Age of Discovery.  The theme itself is just pasted on but I had fun learning the context.

The main mechanism is Dice Drafting. What makes it interesting is that the dice have two functions that work separately. The value and the color serves a different purpose and we will want to utilize both effectively.

Every round, players will take turns drafting one of the dice and then place them in one of the 3 rows up to 3 dice. The rows will either have Character Cards or Favor Tiles that we can acquire.

The value will determine the cost to acquire them and the turn order of who gets to acquire first out of 4 options in a single row. So, if our die has a value of 6, we need to pay 6 of the resources required by the Character cards.

Player whose die is higher of any given row gets to acquire character first. If there are 5 dice in a row, the fifth one may not have any cards left and has to take a consolation prize.

While players with low value dice get lower cost but they can get outbid even if they choose the row first. Because of that, there is no obvious good answer with either high value or low value dice.

Of course, since this is a resource management game, early in the game we want to save some resources preparing for the future rounds. One of the challenge is that maybe the dice roll result just doesn’t give the right value.

There is only one way to increase the value and that is from acquiring the one of the Favor Tiles. Even for that, we need to spend one of our dice and other players can take that tile first.

After we are done with the bidding using the 3 dice, then how we activate the dice to acquire the cards will give another challenge. We will always activate the dice from the top row and from the left most dice.

Ideally, we want to acquire 3 cards. But there is a chance that the first card will take all of the resources so that we cannot afford the third or even the second dice.

One way to mitigate that is to choose a different card that requires the other resources in the same row. The challenge is that maybe we need specific card of that row so we have to compromise the other row. That means, even if we get to go first for winning the bid, this is another layer of decision that might prevent us for acquiring that card.

The character cards that we can acquire may demand either Coin or Guards, the two resources for payments. They also come with 4 different classes, each with their own color which can increase our Influence power of the associated class.

The higher our influence of that class will generate higher rewards during income phase subsequently. There are Gray or Council class that will generate Guards, Orange or Merchants that will generate Coins, Cleric or Purple for Pilgrim Movement and Green or Scholar for Victory Points.

Sometimes we want to focus on probably two of these 4 tracks. However, since we have to pivot with how we acquire cards, diversify in 4 can be a better plan.

Aside from the Influence power itself, the Character can give additional bonus. Most of them will give one time immediate bonus which can be any of the resources with a few that can force other players to lose theirs.

The other type of bonus can be an ongoing ability or end game bonuses for points. On going ability can be handy but there is a chance that we may not trigger it at all. Those with end game bonuses can be crucial and there are only 7 cards in the entire 56 cards.

After the acquiring phase, we proceed to the income phase. This is where the color of the dice we chose previously become matters. The color of the dice will only trigger the income from the corresponding track with the matching color.

So, if we want to get specific income, we need to choose the right color. But maybe that color only gives higher value and we have to pay a lot for the cost. Because of that, deciding which dice to choose becomes more complicated.

Most of the time, we want to get Coins and Guards as income because we need them for acquiring phase. The green one that will give VP is only useful during the final round as we have nothing else to spend the resources on.

That leaves us with the purple dice that will advance the Pilgrim. So, the game comes with a Pilgrim Map with a starting Castle in the middle. The castle is surrounded by Monasteries. We will want to move our Pilgrim token to those Monasteries and get bonuses.

The purple track will define how far the Pilgrim can move. The map will be filled with random Monastery tiles with 3 different levels. The highest level will give stronger bonus but there are only 2 of them each game. They are also the farthest from the starting position.

So, this Pilgrim Map and purple track become its own mini game. With the right setup, the bonus can be very powerful to the point where players cannot allow one of them to monopolize the purple dice.

Aside from the bonuses, at the end of the game we can also gain points from having our disks farthest up on the Influence tracks.

The last thing that players have to decide each round is the Investment element on Voyages. Each game will have 6 Voyages that we can invest in. The Voyage will have a task that if we can fulfill we will get more points than the cost can give.

Some of them can give incremental bonuses that we can increase the bonus by doing more. So these 6 will define the overall strategy. The interesting part is that we can decide later whether to invest in or not depending on our progress of the game. But we have so limited time as when we can invest in them.

The game will end after 4 rounds with those decision space and players will count their score from 5 categories. With that system, during the game we probably can only get 1/6 of the total score but the final scoring will trigger most of our total score.

That means players really cannot tell for sure if they already winning or not. They might score more in some categories but only after we are done with all categories, we will find out the winner.

From the components that come in the game, we will see pretty much everything within a couple of plays. The randomness of setup variables will change the experience in tactical level. There are a few different strategies that we can pursue but very situational or not that different.

Playing with different player counts will also give different experience with the number of dice we use but the cards are the same.

The gameplay is simple and yet very deep decision space. During the first play, we can get overwhelmed by a lot of colors and icons and takes 2 hours in playing. But after a couple of plays, it gets easier and faster.

While I think Coimbra is a great game, maybe it is not the game that I will play often like multiple times in a row within short period of time. Despite all of the criticism that I have for it, when I do come back, so far I have a great time playing it.

More Similar Games

There are many tabletop games out there whether a board or card game that might share some similarities to Coimbra. Some people may look for those similarities that they enjoy. It can be the mechanism or even just the same theme or setting.

From what I’ve read so far, some people suggest Grand Austria Hotel and Lorenzo il Magnifico from the same designer as recommendation if we are looking for similar games. I haven’t tried any of them at this point so I cannot tell for sure.

Both of these games are currently in the top 100 Overall Ranking on BGG which is higher than Coimbra with similar complexity weight.

I have to admit that most of games that I have played are smaller in size than Coimbra. So, I can only point out the partial similarities not the overall.

These next games are just some games that I have tried, played and written a review for them, up to this point.  Check out the link to each article to find out more and also check this Complete list for more games.

Dice Drafting for Multiple Features

What makes Coimbra unique is probably the Dice Drafting. Of course, this is not the only one. At least, this is probably the first one to utilize the dice differently from their color and their value that I have played.

The value becomes the cost and bidding power while the color will trigger the income and resources that we can get. It’s a bit different than the idea of multi use dice or multi use cards. Usually in a game with multi use cards, we have a lot of choice of how to use the card but we can only choose one, ignoring the others.

In this one, those two things are like separate features that we need to consider. So, it is more like the package drafting as in Cascadia. We may need one of the feature but we have to deal with the other feature that we do not necessarily need.

This encourages players to do a bit of forward planning or to be a bit creative as how to utilize that other part. We will be trying to maximize the use of both things.

For that reason, the similar games that I have played is Kingdomino Duel. This is also a dice drafting game but only for 2 players in roll and write genre. The die itself only has one feature and that is the face with icons.

However, then the two dice that we take will create a domino tile with 2 parts that we need to consider when laying or drawing the tile on our board. If the second icon is not an icon that we are collecting, then we need to find a way so that it will not block the progress of the first icon and at the same time create new opportunity for this second one.

Aside from the idea of expanding the territory, the dice can also help us gain access to the one time ability if we don’t get the X icon that will give points.

Another game where we have to draw multiple things and figure out how to utilize them is Tumble Town. In this one, each round we have to draw a card and 3 dice. This one also use dice with multiple colors for different purposes.

Ideally, those 3 dice should help us build that building card. Most of the time, that is not the case.

However, we can keep the dice and use it for different cards in subsequent turns. This one is also more forgiving than Coimbra as there are a lot of ways to change the die value and/or the color.

Another drafting game with this feature is Ankh’or, in which we have to draw a tiles instead of dice. While we only draw 1 tile at a time, the tile itself can have a color and an icon and we will try to place the tile so the tile is adjacent with other tiles with one or both features to get higher points.

Even the connection between tiles can be upwards or with tile from different level. But this is a much smaller game than Coimbra.

I think card games with melding and splaying mechanisms also can also give this experience. The cards will have several icons and ideally, we want to utilize at least more than one icon so that those with same icons will be adjacent to each other.

For that type of game, I have played Circle the Wagons which is a micro game only for 2 players. The card in this one has a 2 x 2 grid or 4 quadrants. Each quadrant has symbol and also color that we want to collect. Similar game with this would be Sprawlopolis that is more popular from the same designer.

Walking in Burano is another card game that can also give this experience during the drafting but not always. In this game, we have a chance to draw up to 3 building cards in a single turn if all 3 cards are good.

The chances are, that won’t be the case. Of course we can choose to just draw one but the opponents will trigger the end game first if they can draw and utilize more cards faster. Aside from that, each card also has multiple features like color and objects that if we can place them in the same building, we can get higher points.

Maybe Peloponnes Card Game also have this. The card in this game that we can bid on also has multiple features aside from points like Mitigation for catastrophic events, Citizens and Resources. We will try to get card with the best set for our progress.

However, we may need the bonus but we also need to pay the resources cost. The citizen might help us now but we have to feed them eventually or lose the card. So, we cannot just take anything even though one of the icon can really help us.

Auction / Bidding / Dynamic Market Value

In Coimbra, after the dice drafting phase, we will enter the Auction or Bidding to decide who will be the first one to draft the card first. Of course this should be part of the consideration during the dice drafting.

But this auction system creates another consideration because of the chance to get outbid by the other players. If that happens, we will not get card but instead take resources as consolation prize. This is way weaker compared of getting cards so we want to avoid that.

On the other hand, the die we just drafted itself is not strong enough so we may need to choose different row or consider taking a different card from the row.

What happened in this kind of game is a dynamic value of the Market because of the other players. We want to bid high but then the other dice in this round is not going to outbid.

Sometimes we want to let the other players to take the card by paying a lot as it may hurt them subsequently.

So, for games with auction and bidding mechanism, I have played Fleet, the card game version. In this one, we can choose to bid higher just so the other player have to pay a lot for that license card while we can settle for the other one.

The bidding is always between 2 players before moving to bid with different player if they want. Players can choose which license to bid first and because of that, we really need to consider how likely the opponent wants the license.

Another game with auction that I already mentioned is Peloponnes Card Game. In this one we can actually choose not to engage the bidding and immediately pay the higher cost.

If we do participate, even if we get outbid, we have the chance to get the other cards with the same price. Sometimes the bidding is just to force the other player to pay more.

For games with just dynamic value of the market that I have played and mentioned is Ankh’or. That Ankh token allows us to move the tile to the cheaper spot.

Another game where the value of the market will constantly change is Quests of Valeria. If we take the card from the market, the more expensive one will slide down to a cheaper spot. Either we pay a lot to get it first or the other player will get it next for cheaper price.

The theme is totally different from Coimbra. Hero Realms, a deck building game also has this mechanism for the market.

The last game that I can think with this experience is Mandala. It is more like an area majority where we can keep adding card to our side in order to be the first to choose the card from the center.

It is only for 2 players. The opponent may not care to play their card for one Mandala area and choose to increase the value on the other. Players can choose to just increase their majority or close it.

Forward Planning for Activating Actions

In Coimbra, after the players are done with the dice drafting and placement for bidding, the next interesting part is how we activate the actions of those 3 dice.

We want to make sure that the first one we activate can help the subsequent actions or at least make sure that it will not get in the way of the next. In a way, we will do a bit of forward planning for all actions of any given round.

This can happen in two phases of Coimbra, whether the phase C (acquiring character cards or favor tiles) or Phase E (Income). Sometimes we also consider how action in Phase C can help during Phase E.

For phase C, we just want to make sure that we have enough resources. Maybe the first one is just to get the resources to pay the recruitment by the next dice. In this part we don’t have to control as the order of which dice but we know the order of our dice.

Phase E or income is where we have a total control as which die to be activated first. Usually we just want to make sure that the resources we gain will not hit over the limit. However if this includes moving the Pilgrim, usually we can increase the bonus of the next activation.

Usually, we can get this similar experience from games with Action Point system or Worker Placement mechanism. We will have an exact number of actions or worker and we can try to assign them to multiple different actions that can help each other.

I think the first game with the closest similarities would be Targi, which is only for 2 players. Similar to Coimbra we have to assign 3 of our workers to 3 different spots instead of dice.

Then, during the activation, we can choose the order of those 3 workers. Most of the time, we can get even 5 from the intersection between workers. Like in Coimbra, maybe the first one should be to gain resources to pay the next workers.

Another similar game with Worker Placement idea is Maquis, which is only for 1 player. In this one, we also assign up to 5 workers to various places in the city either to gain resources or convert them. Or, the worker is just to help secure an escape route in this World War II setting.

For games with Action point system that I have played are Café and Tiny Epic Defenders. In Café, we start with just 1 Action Point but as the game progresses, we can increase the number of actions or the benefit of a single action by melding and splaying the grid cards.

As for Tiny Epic Defenders, it is a tower defense game in medieval fantasy setting where each character can have between 3 or 4 AP. We can be spent those AP for multiple different actions like Fight, Defend, Secure or use Ability or Move.

Some of the ability can change like when the next character will get their turns or give additional AP for the other character. It is a totally different game compared to Coimbra, but still with this forward planning.

Final Words

That is all I can share with you about a board game called Coimbra. This may not be my first dice drafting game but this is the first one to use multi use dice system.

I may have missed something that I should have discussed regarding the game. Please don’t hesitate to point that out and share what you know related to this game and I will update this article.

I keep saying that these tabletop games can be a good way to spend some time without looking at the screen of our gadget. If we do have someone close, that we can play with, there are other games where we can play cooperatively or competitively but with a lot of player interaction.

The game can be very fast or like a filler type or it can take hours to play. Some games can also be played in solitaire mode and they are still more engaging than other entertainment activity. Some may say, it’s like a workout for the gray matter of our brain.

So, what is your experience on playing this game? If you know other games similar or even better than this, please do share via the comment section below. I would love to learn and play that game, assuming I can get a copy.

This article is just my notes about what I can find from the internet. Hopefully this can help anybody who reads it.

Thanks for reading.

 

Mark M.

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