Review: Era: Medieval Age

Era: Medieval Age is a twist on the roll and write genre; it’s a roll and build game. In Era, players compete to build the most prosperous city. As the game progresses, players develop their medieval cities with highly detailed miniatures of buildings and structures.  

How to Play: 

Era is played over a series of rounds made up of six steps. Each step is carried out completely by each player before the starting player announces the next step, using a black peg to keep track.  

The six steps are as follows: 

  1. ROLL – players simultaneously roll all their dice 
  1. COLLECT – add the resources and culture shown on your dice to your resource pool 
  1. FEED – subtract one food for each of your dice (your population) 
  1. DISASTERS – if a player’s dice show any skulls, a disaster occurs 
  1. BUILD – build walls and buildings to improve your city 
  1. EXTORT – demand resources from your weaker opponents  

As players add building to their boards, structures will run out. If you take the last building of a type from the supply, flip over a blank tracking token to its X side. When all the tracking tokens for your game (the number depends on the number of players) show an X, the game will end at the end of the current round. 

Players then add up their scores and the player with the highest score wins! 

Is It For Me? 

At its heart, Era is an engine building game. Players build structures to collect more resources and dice, more dice helps you collect more resources, and then you use the resources to build more structures and so the cycle continues. What sets Era apart is that you’re still having fun while doing so.      

Another aspect of the game is figuring out where to place your structures on the peg board. It’s very Tetris-like. Yet the physical components put a different spin on the genre. As players place the structures, they have to consider placement rules and the consequences of placing structures too close together. It’s an enjoyable puzzle.   

Era has plenty of player interaction, some of it negative. You have to worry about building scarcity and what engines your opponents are building. The negative interaction comes during the EXTORT phase. Having your resources stolen is not fun and one of the few quibbles I have with the game. However, resources are pretty easy to come by in Era, so it doesn’t hurt too much.  

Another quibble – depending on the die color, some of the symbols can be hard to see.  

Era has a great toy factor with tactile miniatures and a nostalgia-inducing peg board. Also, enough cannot be said on how fun it is to play with these pieces and see your city come alive on your peg board. The peg board is a great way to keep track of your resources – it’s definitely superior to tokens.  

Table-Takes 

Here are what some of my friends had to say about the game: 

  • “Tired theme.” 
  • “I find it boring that you have to devote so many resources to feed your dice.”  
  • “I like the machine building aspect of the game.”
  • “I really dislike the stealing element. 
  • “Great components.”

Beneeta’s Rating:  8.5 out of 10. City building, engine building, and 3D polyominoes – there was no way I wasn’t going to like this game. Era: Medieval Age is a fresh take on the roll and write genre and I’m looking forward to keep on playing it.

Era: Medieval Age is designed by Matt Leacock and published by Eggertspiele. A copy was provided by the publisher.