A 2 player game from Pegasus Spiele for players aged 8+ Game design, graphic design and illustrations by Arve D Fühler
55 cards (11 of each of the 5 colours) 125 Wooden pieces (25 in each of the 5 colours)
25 Pagoda tiles (5 in each of the 5 colours) 12 Wooden markers (6 dark 6 light)
1 x start marker 2 x 50pt/100pt markers 2 x architect boards
The game is for 2 players who as ancient Chinese politicians are intent on building the best Pagodas in honour of the visiting Emperor. The Pagoda tiles
have various abilities which can be advantageous in the building, helping the players earn VPs (Victory Points) on the way. Like most games, the winner
is the player who has the most Victory Points.
The players take the light and dark markers, one taking light the other dark. One of these will be the players score tracker, the other 5 are placed on the
player’s architect boards, down the left side on the spaces provided.
PAGODA is very popular here when there are only two of us as it lasts around 30 minutes once you know what you are doing enabling you to play games
one after the other to develop and try new tactics. It looks like it should be a game you can master quite easily but once again the challenge is to make the
most of limited possibilities and opportunities; there is always something else you want to do in your turn but you do not generally have enough Actions.
During a turn you must construct at least one column and each column so erected has to be placed on to the correct (identical colour) corner of a Pagoda tile.
When all four corners have columns then a new Pagoda tile must be placed (depending on its current height) and then new columns placed on this (of the colour
shown on the new tile). Pagodas are built in several colours but always with similar coloured columns on each level.
The abilities on these Architect boards are available after you construct a Pagoda tile. You move your marker across the Architect board from left to
right to show you have the ability available for use. Once used you move your marker back to show that the ability is no l;onger available to you.
These boards are not secret and thus your opponent always has an idea of what you are capable of, but of course, is never sure at which point you will
bring the abilities into play. By pictogram the Architect boards describe the abilities which accompany the colours (and specific shape for each colour).
The shapes are for colourblind players and are thus very different as well as pertaining to the ancient Chinese theme of the game.
Playing Pagoda tiles and columns means playing cards of the matching colours. Once you are ready to place the fourth tile in a Pagoda you must also be
able to construct the Roof on the final floor. The cards you play may come from the two you hold as a hand or from the face up cards available to you, all
part of the setup and game-play mechanism.
Cards are played Vertical or Sideways depending on how they are brought into the game. Players can agree to speed the game up by allowing all cards to
be played first, and then construction and victory points can be gained. The game can also be quickened by playing to three floors instead of four for each
Pagoda, though we haven’t found any use for this variant as it makes the game end just as it is starting. New players to strategic board games and younger
players may want to play without using the special abilities and the Architect’s boards, but once again we have found that by having an experienced player
tutor newer players this amending the rules isn’t necessary.
Each time you construct a Pagoda you earn its special ability. . Purple cards (depicted by a Fan) allow for replenishing and expansion of your hand.
The Yellow (Dragon) card’s ability are used at the start of your turn to exchange and replenish cards prior to any first Action. Green (Rice) cards and
Blue (Buddha) cards are used in construction and the Red (Lantern) can be used anytime to add another construction Action.
The game ends after the construction of three Pagodas (Roofs) and both players have had equal turns. Games are usually both satisfactory and challenging
for players of equal experience and a fun learning adventure for younger/newer players. Pagoda is an admirable short game past-time.