Hot off Delicious Games’ first hit, Underwater Cities, comes Praga Caput Regni, a crunchy Euro game that revolves around an ever-changing action selection wheel. Read our Praga Caput Regni review to find out more.
Praga Caput Regni Overview
In Praga Caput Regni, each player assumes the role of a wealthy citizen in medieval Prague, trying to earn King Charles IV’s favor by participating in various projects around the city.
You’ll achieve this by performing 1 of 6 possible actions on your turn, cleverly timing your actions and creating synergies between technologies and other rewards you’ll gain throughout the game.
Praga Caput Regni Boards
Praga Caput Regni has 3 types of boards: the main board, the Player boards, and the Action boards.
The main board depicts Prague in medieval times. It may look busy, but there are only a few key areas to note:
- The Hunger Wall and St. Vitus Cathedral in the top left corner,
- The Action Crane in the top right,
- Charles Bridge and the tile display in the middle of the board, and
- The town (with the King’s Road) on the lower section.
The Hunger Wall and St. Vitus Cathedral
These two areas represent King Charles’ projects. During the game, players earn rewards that allow them to move their cube sideways along the grids.
As a result of this movement, players often earn bonuses — like more movement or points. Moreover, players can spend resources to move up a level.
At the end of the game, players earn additional points depending on how far and how high they have progressed on these 2 projects.
Player Board and Action Board
Each player receives their own Player board and Action board during setup.
The Action board depicts the game’s 6 actions and the Player board tracks your resources (gold and stone) andyourprogress on 4 tracks: stone production (quarry), gold production (mine), technology, and Charles University.
Quarry and Gold Mine
During the game, actions will allow you to progress on your quarry and gold mine tracks; when you produce, you’ll earn as much of that resource as the space you’ve reached on its track and any bonuses you’ve surpassed.
As you progress on this track, you’ll gain powerful technologies with an ongoing ability (level I and II Technology tiles) or a one-time benefit (level III and IV tiles).
Unlike the other tracks, Charles University doesn’t provide you with in-game rewards.
Instead, at the end of the game, your position on this track determines how many points you earn for your technological progress.
There are no rounds in Praga Caput Regni; instead, players take turns in clockwise order until the end of the game is triggered.
By the end of the game, each player will have taken 16 turns.
On your turn, you’ll do the following:
- Choose an Action tile from the Action Crane.
- Perform your action.
- Rotate the Action Crane and return the Action tile.
Action Crane and Tiles
The Action tiles on the Action Crane area of the board depict the 6 possible actions you can take.
Each Action tile shows 2 actions. However, you’ll only ever perform a single action — and thus will ignore the other action on the tile.
Depending on where the Action tile is, you may have to spend coins to perform it (in the red zone) or you might earn points for taking it (in the blue zone).
Additionally, when you take a tile, you gain a bonus printed on the Action Crane’s wheel. These bonuses might give you resources or points or allow you to spend resources to get a benefit.
As mentioned, you have 6 action options from which to choose. They are:
- Manage Mines
- Manage Quarries
- Upgrade an Action
- Construct a Wall
- Construct a Building
- Construct the King’s Road
Manage Mines and Quarries
Both these actions work similarly, but one affects gold while the other, stone.
When you choose to perform one of the “Manage” actions, you have 2 options: either gain 1 resource (gold or stone) and increase your production of it, or produce resources (gold or stone).
Upgrade an Action
This action allows you to improve your Action board by adding new tiles.
Upgraded tiles have a few elements depicted on them:
- You earn 1 or 2 advancements on your Charles University track and
- Whenever you perform the upgraded action, you’ll earn a bonus.
The tile could also have adjacency bonuses and/or corner bonus icons.
The corner and adjacency bonuses come into play when you take the following actions, Construct a Wall or Building.
Construct a Wall
You’ll also choose a Wall tile from the tile display when performing this action. However, each Wall tile has a resource cost to build (as shown in red).
After paying its cost, you gain any rewards — outlined in green — and any movement on the Hunger Wall or Cathedral if their icon is depicted.
Then, the Wall tile you constructed is placed adjacent to your Action board.
If, when you place the tile, two adjacency bonuses touch, you earn those rewards.
If the placed tile’s corner bonuses match those on an adjacent tile, you earn a token of that color.
Construct a Building
Like Upgrade and Wall tiles, Buildings are found on the main board and, similar to Wall tiles, they have a resource cost printed in red.
Constructed buildings are placed in the town on the main board — and you may earn tokens for matching corner bonuses.
You have some freedom as to where you place your Building tile, however, you’re trying to surround the town’s Plaza tiles to earn the most points and rewards.
The Building tiles either score immediately for every Building surrounding its Plaza (including itself) when you place it, or it will have a spot for you to add 1 of your cubes to represent ownership.
When all the spaces around a Plaza tile are occupied, the player with the most cubes surrounding it earns both depicted rewards; any other players with cubes around the Plaza only choose one of these rewards.
Construct the King’s Road
This last action, Construct the King’s Road, lets you move 1 space along the King’s Road that divides the town.
As you move along the road, you’ll unlock bonuses and opportunities like earning points when you construct a Wall or paying resources to gain rewards.
If you make it to the last 2 spaces on the road, you can pay Eggs to get Bridge tiles that you can use to gain resources and unlock final scoring objectives.
End of Turn
At the end of your turn, the Action Crane wheel is rotated 1 space clockwise, and then you move the Action tile you chose to the first space in the red zone.
Game-end and Final Scoring
Praga Caput Regni ends after each player has taken 16 turns.
Then, the unfinished Plaza tiles are resolved; each player with a claim on the Plaza gets the reward depicted on the lower part of the tile.
Next, you score:
- Points for academics (your position on the Charles University track multiplied by where you are on your Technology track).
- The Hunger Wall and St. Vitus Cathedral (the points listed on the row you’ve reached for each).
- Your blue and red Corner Bonus tokens (the value of each token is determined by the number on the column you’ve reached on the corresponding Hunger Wall or St. Vitus Cathedral).
- Any final-scoring abilities.
- Leftover Eggs.
The player with the most points wins!
Praga Caput Regni Review
Underwater Cities has been one of my favorite board games since its release, so naturally, I was excited for Vladimir Suchý and Delicious Games’ next title, Praga Caput Regni.
Like its predecessor, Praga Caput Regni is a crunchy Euro game with all its bits intricately connected and woven together so that you can create action synergies on your turn, firing off bonus after bonus.
The action selection and the use of the Action Crane are very clever, too, because you’re forced to consider how much an action is really worth at any given moment — and whether you can wait until it gets cheaper or is tied to a wheel bonus you can make better use of.
Often, in Suchý’s games, you are trying to puzzle out how best to pursue your strategy while constantly having to assess whether it is still viable — or if you need to pivot and abandon it.
Pushing players to make the best out of the game’s options and figuring out how to optimize each turn is what Suchý’s designs do best.
Now, as much as I have enjoyed Praga Caput Regni, I have cooled on it slightly after many plays. The game offers a ton of variability — yet I usually find myself doing much of the same thing from game to game.
There are certainly different paths to victory that you can follow in the game, but once you find one that works for you, it’s difficult not to just resort to it each time.
This isn’t necessarily “bad,” but it does mean that you feel like you’re doing a lot of the same after a while.
Praga Caput Regni is yet another fantastic Euro game by Vladimir Suchý and Delicious Games.
While I may not rank it as highly as his other title, Underwater Cities, it is still one I will happily play anytime.
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