In today’s product review, we delve into a medieval world where courting influence wins the day and the best players can move people like chess pieces. Welcome to Fidelitas, a card game created by Green Couch Games and distributed by the good folks at Game Salute.
In Fidelitas, each player tries to manipulate characters into position around the city in order to accomplish specific tasks and gain valuable allies.
There are two sets of cards in Fidelitas: Missio cards and Virtus cards. Virtus cards allow you to manipulate the cards and maneuver characters into place, while Missio cards detail the tasks you must complete in order to earn points.
Virtus cards can affect how many cards you play that turn, where you can play them, and sometimes, where other players can play their cards. (Regular players of Fluxx or one of its many variations will be familiar with this sort of short-term rule-shifting gameplay.)
Different Missio cards have different point values, reflecting how difficult that card’s given task is. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins, having proven him or herself the master manipulator at the table.
Seven cards make up the City, the setting of the game. There are nine guild alignments (which work almost like the suits in a standard deck of cards), and several of the locations are tied to specific guilds. With many location-specific Missio cards, a strong knowledge of the City is crucial to advantageous gameplay.
Fidelitas is reminiscent of another card game I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, Guillotine. But in Guillotine, you’re only manipulating the order of characters in a single line, whereas in Fidelitas, you’re dealing with numerous locations and plots in motion. It ratchets up the difficulty level somewhat, but the core mechanic remains simple and accessible, both key components to a great group card game.
It took me a few games to get the strategy of the game under my belt, since between trying to achieve my own Missio tasks and trying to hinder other players in their gambits, it was hard to be sure if the card I was playing would end up helping me or my opponents and their mysterious Missios.
If you’re hunting for a game with some historic flavor, look no further. This one will test your diplomatic skills as you try to sway people to your side, as well as your poker skills by seeing how well you can read your opponents and devise a plan to thwart their Missio cards from being completed.
Fidelitas incorporates a lot of quality gameplay elements in a small package, not only making it a great quick-play game, but one with more replay value than you’d expect.
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