“The prosperous Kingdom of Greengully, ruled for centuries by the Forever King, has issued a decree to its citizens to colonize the vast lands beyond its borders. In an effort to start a new village, the Forever King has selected 6 citizens for the task, each of whom has a unique set of skills they use to build their charter.”
Charterstone is a Legacy-style worker placement game for 1-6 players featuring a streamlined rulebook (the Chronicle), board, and cards (with stickers!) that expand and permanently change through play. The players play through 12 different games over the course of the campaign to unveil the story of the village they’ve been constructing.
Charterstone begins as soon as you open the box and remove the Chronicle. While reading the basic rules contained within is encouraged for at least one player to do, it’s completely unnecessary as the game gently guides you into the core mechanics using the first few cards of the Index, the core cards of the game, during play. Your first game will introduce you to both the Legacy system, the basic worker-placement rules, the 6 main village buildings and their actions, the progression tracks, and how to score Victory Points.
Each turn a player make take 1 of 2 actions:
- Place a worker – Place a worker on a building, taking that building’s actions.
- Retrieve all workers – Take all your workers back to your hand.
Each building has its own action to take. Sometimes the action is free, and sometimes it has a cost. Players play through the game earning resources and coins that will allow them to take more advanced actions, build new buildings, open Crates that unlock more cards from the Index, and progress through several different paths to Victory Points.
The main 6 buildings contain the following actions:
- Zeppelin – Pay Influence and Resources to construct a new building in your Charter and earn 5 VP. Advance the Progress Track by 1.
- Charterstone – Pay $4 and 2 Influence to open a Crate from a constructed building card. Follow the Index Guide to see which cards are unlocked for the Crate number and earn 5 VP. Advance the Progress Track by 1.
- Grandstand – Pay 1 Influence on an Objective Card you’ve completed earning 5 VP. Advance the Progress Track by 1.
- Treasury – Pay 1 Resource to earn $1.
- Market – Pay any 1 Resource and $1 to buy a face-up card from the Advancement Mat.
- Cloud Port – Pay 1 Influence and the amount of whatever commodity you’re looking to upgrade the track to and earn 3 VP plus any bonuses listed on the Quota Track.
A game of Charterstone ends when the Progress Track reaches the end, at which point Victory Points are calculated using the current rules in the Chronicle.
At the end of your first game, you’ll be introduced to Guideposts and Glory. Guideposts are special rules that are put into place during games of Charterstone, while Glory is a currency earned that’s used to permanently upgrade your Charter.
There’s much more to get into, but I fear I’d get into spoiler territory.
For a bit more information about the start of the game, you can read the introductory Chronicle before any modifications have been made.
- Box ⭐
- Game Storage ⭐
- Rulebooks ⭐
- Meeples, Resources, Tokens 👍
- Coins ⭐
- Cards ⭐
(👍 = Good, 👎 = Bad, ⭐ = Exceptional)
As far as the game’s mechanics go, they’re pretty simple. I’ve been playing not only with A, my just-about-13-year-old son but with my 8-year-old also. The way Charterstone eases you into play was a perfect way to introduce him to the game and keep him from feeling like he was taking longer than everyone else to grok the rules. It wasn’t long, probably around Game 2, before all of us had our own strategies for how to earn Victory Points and to start planning how to spend our future Glory to further our Charters and try to ensure future victories.
At $70, Charterstone isn’t the cheapest game on the block but with its 12-game campaign, you’re really looking at $5.83 per game. Not only that, but the game is still playable once you’ve finished the campaign, you just won’t be making any more changes. There’s even a Recharge Pack you can purchase so you can play through the campaign a 2nd time (using the opposite side of the board.)
Overall I can’t give enough praise to Charterstone. It’s an excellent game combining simple mechanics, unique components, and a Legacy system that really feels like you’re molding the game into something bigger and better with every play.
A copy of Charterstone was provided free for review by Stonemaier Games
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.