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"The Game of The Medieval City"

The game of Cathedral is a design of Bob Moore's, a pilot in the Royal New Zeland Airforce. He is quoted to have found his inspiration for the game by flying aircraft over the city of Christchurch, where the 63-meter spire of the church at Cathedral Square is the city's most obvious landmark, especially from above. In 1979, Moore took his design of a boardgame that had interlocking architectural pieces, similar to a city's design, to a wooden game and toy manufacturer, Brightway Products. Flat and three dimensional games were produced, but the 3-D version immediately proved more popular with the initially handcrafted wood pieces. John Davidson saw the game while in New Zealand and brought it over to the US, and it has also now been marketed to Canada, the UK, parts of Eurpoe, Australia and Asia. A plastic version of the game was released but didn't compare to the quality of the wooden one. It has become so rare that the plastic version, ironically, is the collectors item. In 1983 Cathedral won the Designmark Award, for excellence in design and manufacture.

Cathedral is a game for two players, aged 8 and up. The object of the game is to capture as much of the city within the medieval walls surrounding it. Although the rules are simple, one player placing one piece after another, the strategy is quite complex. Things to keep in mind are that you never want your buildings to be captured, as they will have to be re-placed on the board, and you will fall behind. Claiming the largest amount of space possible is key, but you also have to do it cleverly enough to not allow your opponent to overcome you while you make your attempt. Playing the bigger pieces first can alow you to manipulate the remaing space later with smaller more 'agile' pieces. Keep in mind that the space you claim should be your fallback to place pieces there later. Capturing as much of the outer city as possible will win you the game.

The Contents:
  • One game board, the inner measurements of which are 200mm x 200mm, a 10 x 10 grid of 20mm squares. The overall board dimensions are: 240mm x 240mm
  • Two sets of 11 city pieces, see descriptions below
  • One cathedral piece
The Pieces:



       []       []       []         []       [][]       []
                []       [][]       []       [][]       [][]
                                    []                  []

     tavern    stable    inn      bridge    square     abbey

       []             []         []         []  []         []
     [][][]         [][]       [][][]       [][][]       [][]
                  [][]           []                        [][]

     manor        tower      infirmary      castle       academy

The following copied from: http://www.cathedral-game.co.nz/ please see info below


The game begins when a player places the Cathedral anywhere in the city, but aligned with the squares. Your objective in CATHEDRAL is to occupy as much space as possible, by then taking turns placing your buildings into the city and preventing your opponent from succeeding by carving off pieces of land called DEDICATING SPACE. A space once surrounded completely by your buildings cannot be occupied by your opponent, the wall may also form part of your capture. The more space you hold the less chance your opponent has to fit his buildings in the city, especially the larger odd shaped pieces.

The winner is the player who places all or most of their buildings within the city. If neither player fully succeeds in doing this, then the winner is determined by counting up the number of squares the remaining pieces would cover and the lowest score wins. An even number of games makes for a fair match.

Rules of Play:
  • Start by removing all the pieces from the board and splitting them into two camps, Dark and Light. The players decide which colour they will have (no arguing allowed).
  • The object of the game is to place all your buildings within the walls of the city, while trying to prevent your opponent from doing so.
  • A move consists of placing a building anywhere in the city so that it is lined up with the squares.
  • If you are playing with the bright buildings you commence the game by placing the Cathedral anywhere within the city. Your opponent playing with the brown pieces makes the first and each alternate move. The players then take turns placing the Cathedral at the beginning of each game.
  • If you completely enclose a part of the city with your buildings alone or with your buildings and the wall, this part of the city becomes your property and your opponent may not place any of his buildings within it. The buildings must meet wall to wall, a corner to corner contact is not acceptable. Your opponent may claim space in the same way. You may not use the Cathedral as part of the boundary to enclose the claimed space. Neither you nor your opponent may claim space on your first move.
  • If you enclose and therefore isolate one and only one of your opponent's buildings or the Cathedral you may remove it and claim the space enclosed. The building must be removed immediately after the move during which it was enclosed otherwise it must remain where it is and the space is still available to your opponent. Your opponent's building may be replayed in a later move but the Cathedral once removed is not replaced for the remainder of that game. If you enclose two or more buildings. one of which may be the Cathedral, then none of the buildings may be removed and the space is still available to your opponent.
  • The game ends when no further moves can be made by either player.
  • The winner is the player who succeeds in placing all his buildings within the city while preventing his opponent from doing so. If neither player succeeds in doing this then the player whose unplaced buildings would occupy the least number of squares is the winner otherwise the result is a draw.
  • When a series of games is played, the players alternate placing the Cathedral and making the first move. At the end of each game players are awarded points equal to the number of squares their unplaced buildings would cover. The winner of the series is the player with the smallest total of points.

One last note: Putting this game away can sometimes be more fun than actually playing it. The box it comes contained in is quite snug and it allows for every piece to be placed back on the board without having pieces sit on top of one another. The key is making it work, each team's pieces occupy 41 squares plus the cathedral is 88 squares, and there are 100 total on the board... good luck!

It is also insanely addictive!

The Introduction and Rules of play are used with permission granted the following appear:

"Cathedral - The game of the mediaeval city" Is property of and copyright © 1983 1997 Chrisbo I.P. Holdings limited. The intellectual rights in all parts, name, design and rules is protected by International copyright treaties. No parts may be copied or reproduced in any materials including electronic, multimedia and internet, without the express permission of the owner.