Cathedral – a very useful board game

By Rob Morgan

A little while before we were all forced to stay in, I bought a boxed game in the local charity shop. It cost me £1.99, about 3 Euros, or, what, $2.50-ish? Now I’ve had the chance to examine it critically. It’s a game for two players, set c1500 AD, and involves controlling space with red or grey pieces within the walls of the city. A basic game, a little like “Othello” perhaps. It’s American, manufactured by Mattel in California, so it may be well known as a game to some SWA members.

But, for me it’s the individual pieces that count:

There are some very useful buildings — 30 of them in all. First, the rigid board is a city wall with two gates, about twelve inches square, with a round tower at each corner, and gates. It would make a fort in 10mm or 15mm, or walled town in 6mm, and with little effort. The cathedral stands about 40mm tall and can be a big church in 6mm, and in the larger scales up to 20mm a decent towered church. I’m reminded how often churches were fortified in medieval times. In the Anarchy War between Stephen and Maud, Hereford Cathedral tower mounted a trebuchet!

You get four of everything else.

There are four smaller church buildings called Abbeys, rectangular and with smaller towers, each of these is on a small plinth, and could be “walled around” with lengths of thin plasticard, 3 or 4mm deep.

There are four castles, twin-towered and shaped like a bastion or gatehouse, again useful in 6mm or 10mm, as is the piece named a Tower, which sits neatly alongside the castle, and a town square, which could be walled to make a village — my thoughts were Blenheim in 6mm? All are basically rectangular, ‘L’ or ‘T’ or ‘I’ shaped. There are  4 small square taverns that would make add-on’s or fillers for the larger pieces, or farms or inns in 6mm or 10mm scale.

Standard, and attractive, buildings in a European style, and will fit in with any century from the 1200s onward, in my opinion. You could set up a decent town with them placed individually.

There are other  pieces — a small stable, a slightly larger inn, and T-shaped manor — that have an Eastern look, and might pass as thatched, again the multiple scale options apply. Two further, quite large pieces, are marked as the ‘Infirmary, that’s + shaped, and the ‘Academy’ a tall and large pair of oblongs. These are , well, frankly, suited to Science Fiction or Fantasy games, though unusual and very attractive, they are not c1500- unless found on the Klingon home planet!

I couldn’t find any use for the four far out of scale bridges, but they might fit in a 15mm, or 20mm game, even up to the present day — reminiscent of that frequently destroyed arc bridge in the Bosnia wars of the 1990’s, I thought.

They come as you see in two colours, and the grey pieces require very little to make them ready for the table-top.

Anyone else know this game?

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3 Responses to Cathedral – a very useful board game

  1. Nangwaya says:

    Neat looking game.

    Looks like there was another version of it (another company took it over?), where the pieces are wooden blocks.

    I popped a link to a pic below:

    http://web.ncf.ca/ex809/pic222018.jpg

    I prefer the plastic pieces that you got, Rob.

  2. jeremy s says:

    yes i had the wooden version in the late 80s or early 90s and played it a lot for a while. it’s a great strategy game … although once you work out the best tactics it loses its charm. the plastic pieces do look handy for other uses though!

  3. Phil Dutré says:

    I had a wooden version a long time ago, but sold it somewhere along the way.

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