For once, build the Eternal City




Worker Placement in a Legacy game


Legacy games are an individual, separate and still rather new category of games. So far, I have kept away from those games, as - in my opinion - the high price is not justified in relation to the allure of the game and to its perishability. Usually, when the campaign has been played to its finish, the game is unusable. It would be different, when a Legacy game could be played again after the end of the campaign. Here is the answer: Charterstone.


Charterstone begins with very simple rules. During the campaign, which consists of twelve individual games, you get the feeling that you are contributing to the creation of the game, which in a way is true to a certain extent. You feel a bit like a game designer, somehow, and the allure to let the game evolve is rekindled from game to game again.


There are not that many preparations before the first game, the access is very easily achieved. The rules comprise a few pages, but those pages are still empty in part. So the game intensifies step by step during the campaign and the rulebook expands continuously.

However, even when the reading and understanding of the rules is quickly achieved, we cannot start to play immediately, as, at first, we must consult the Index box. This box comprises all cards in the game, which can be added permanently to the complete game, either during the campaign or afterwards; which cards are added is up to the decision of players. Those cards are, on the one hand, cards that really become part of the game, but, on the other hand, also cards, that expand the rules or tell the meta story of the game. Thus, we begin our game with reading of the start of the story of the Eternal City and the first additional rules, which are instantly glued into the rule book.


The starting rules compare, in their basic mechanisms, to the basic game rules of a worker placement game, combined with explanations on how to use the various elements of the game and state the end-of-game conditions. We are informed that every player has two workers of equal worth; in his turn, you can either place one of your workers on an action case on the game board or take back the workers already placed in previous rounds. Workers can also be placed on an action case where there is already another worker; in this case, the worker already present  in the case goes back to its owner; you can do this also with one of your own workers. If you place a worker into an action case, you must always pay eventual costs stated in the case and then instantly resolve at least part of the actions. Costs are either resources at the beginning - there are six different ones in the game - or money or influence markers.


The information on those influence markers tells us that their deployment is a deciding element of the game, as every player has exactly twelve personal influence markers for a game which you can, as already mentioned, spend to pay for action or use to mark the completion of certain tasks. This limited number of twelve influence marker is a limiting factor in most games and, at the same time, the indirect trigger for the end of the game.


Those core rules of the game remain unchanged until the end of the last game in the campaign and also in any further games. However, during the campaign, new game elements are added which create a more and more varied and variable course of the game. I will not go into details over those new elements as this would take away too much of the surprises.


The starting rules of the game inform us also about the deployment of cards in the game. At the beginning, role cards, development cards and target cards are in play, which we take from the Index box according to card numbers. All cards in that Index box are consecutively numbered and unique.

For the first game, each player receives the role card of his player color, this card has no special function. Only the role cards, which a player will receive during the game, will offer him an individual bonus during the game, often linked to a certain action.


Development cards come in several types, and new types are continuously added during the campaign, so that the game starts with three distinct types and you end up with seven different development card types by the end of the campaign. The cards form a pile on their own board, five of them are always displayed openly. We begin with the types of building cards, empty building cards and assistant cards. Many types offer options to players to receive advantages during the game or the upgrade actions or to collect victory points. However, the building cards and empty building cards are of essential importance as those cards are the basis for the evolvement of the board during the campaign.


The board, too, shows a lot of white areas at the start of the game, as we are tasked with building the Eternal City of City of Forever, as the King is not happy with his current capital. The basic area of the city exists already, as does its division into seven boroughs, called Charters. The central Charter already holds five buildings, and one other building is situated at the periphery of the city; those buildings are the first placement cases for our workers. The remaining Charters are completely empty, each charter offers room for six buildings and each charter belongs to one player, which means that this player is the only one who can construct new buildings in this charter and only in this charter. The central buildings offer the option to build buildings there to all players, but no opportunity to receive one of the seven resources. Therefore, before the first game starts, each player receives a certain individual building, which he constructs immediately, even in a Charter without a player in the game. Those six buildings are production buildings, each one offering one type of resource.


What does that mean for a player: He peals the building off the building card and sticks it onto the game board. For all other buildings but those first ones the rule is always that new buildings must either placed on an empty building site or must be placed to cover an already existing building. With those building actions, the game board is permanently changed, and the Eternal City evolves until it is complete at the end of the campaign.


To be only allowed to build in your own Charter seems very restrictive at first glance, as there are only six building sites in a Charter; there is, however, a solution for this in the course of the campaign, so that the construction of buildings remains an important action during the campaign and also afterwards.

Each new building in turn represents a new action case with its own costs and its own actions, each of them unique and for use of all players.


Thus, each player has, among other things, an empty building card at his disposal. What for? Well, this is the moment when the crates enter the game. On many building cards, that is, on all of them at the start, a crate with an individual number is depicted, which remains visible even when the building has been built. This crate can be opened using an action available in the central Charter. The effect? New components for the game! The Index tells you which game elements are added to the game from the Index box as an effect of opening the crate; the components might go to the active player or might become part of general stock. The crate always provides a new role card, which the player keeps in his Charter Chest for further games. Other elements are new development cards, maybe even cards of a new type, or completely new game elements, for instance the so-called assistants or helpers, which are used similar to workers. Only after the crate has been opened, the empty building card is taken out of play and placed into the archive.


Another action available from the central Charter is the completion of a target card, the third type of cards in the game. In each game, three target cards are displayed openly. The always carry a condition; if a player meets this condition, he uses the corresponding action case and marks the completed target card with one of his influence markers. This allows all players to complete all targets independently.


The action of completing a target card is, at the start of the game, one of four action cases which earn you victory points during the game. Three of those action cases have another characteristic - they advance the marker on the progress track. This progress track is a determining factor for the game end. Depending on the number of players, the marker starts in a different position and moves forward to the last position. If it has arrived there, the round is completed and then the game ends. Towards the end of the game the marker usually advances faster, as the marker advances by one step towards the final position also for active players who are out of influence markers.

On the progress track there are also cases which trigger an action; this can be the case for all players for “income” or only for the active player in case of the “Prestige” track. The prestige track is a track which is scored in the final scoring. Players place influence markers there and whoever has the majority there at the end scores most victory points, etc.


After this final scoring, the game ends, and each player resolves his victory points by marking all his achievements on his Charter Chest. The winner may fill in a cup there, all other players can upgrade the capacity of their Charter Chest. This capacity determines, how much and which game components the player may carry over to the next game of the campaign. Finally, all players may fill in one Fame point on their Charter Chest for every ten victory points they scored. This might result in receiving additional game components at the start of the next game. The filled-in cups and Fame points are also a central part of the victory points which players are awarded at the end of the campaign to determine the overall winner of the campaign.


Charterstone can be played with maximum six players, indicated by the six Charters on the game board, however, you do not need six players to play the campaign. I have played the campaign with three players - the rules are written in a way that the Charters who are not owned by a player, are evolving parallel to the other Charters, which results in only minor restrictions, which are not key factors. The game also offers a set of rules for virtual players in case you want to use them. According to my experience, they are not necessary. I would, however, like to recommend that you do NOT change your Charter during the campaign; it is best to stick to your Charter and your color from Game One to Game Twelve, as you would lose the advantages that you have acquired during the campaign.


At the end of Game Twelve the campaign ends, and you determine the total score for each player for the complete campaign and the winner is the new ruler of the Eternal City.


Can the game be played again in a meaningful way? Yes, definitely! At the end of the campaign, you are left with a complete worker placement game with all the extensions that have been added during the campaign. All action cases, too, are available afterwards, even those for constructing buildings or opening of crates. Those crates can now be used without an empty building card. And as the Index box is not empty either at the end of the campaign, new buildings and new cards can be added after the campaign. The only thing lacking after the campaign is, of course, the integration of a game into the meta story of the Eternal City, but this has no influence on a game itself.


All in all, Charter Stone was an interesting contrast to a Non-Legacy game. Of course, you must take the time to play all twelve games of the campaign to experience it properly. The individual games are rather short for playing time, so that you can easily manage to play two games during one evening, which is fun, too! And this is, for me, a bit of a disadvantage for games after the campaign, as the duration of games does not change and so you feel that the games are too short! But this can easily be remedied with a house rules, you only need to let the progress marker start further back on the track, and, lo and behold, you have a longer game. The player who is administrating the Index box is the one who is a bit to be pitied; despite the Index box being very sturdy and equipped with a magnetic closing mechanism, the searching and taking out of cards after every new crate is a bit tedious and causes an interruption in the game.


For fans of the campaign, there is now a Recharge Pack on offer, with which you can play the campaign a second time.

Bernhard Czermak

(c) Images Henk Rolleman


Players: 1-6

Age: 14+

Time: 60+

Designer: Jamey Stegmaier

Artist: David Forest, Lina Cossette, Gong Studios

Price: ca. 70 Euro

Publisher: Feuerland Spiele 2017


Genre: Worker placement, Legacy

Users: For experts

Special: 1 player

Version: de

Rules: de + cn en es fr it pt ru

In-game text: yes



Legacy game

Can be played also after the campaign is finished

Recharge Pack available


Compares to:

Ein Fest für Odin, Russian Railroads


Other editions:

Stonemaier Games (en), Ghenos Games (it), Lavka Games (ru), Ludofiy Creative (pt), Maldito Games (es), Matagot (fr), Surfin’ Meeple China (cn)


My rating: 6


Bernhard Czermak:

Due to the plethora of placement cases and the numerous different game elements Charterstone remains, even when the campaign is finished, a varied, not overly  complex and entertaining worker placement game.


Chance (pink): 1

Tactic (turquoise): 3

Strategy (blue): 1

Creativity (dark blue): 0

Knowledge (yellow): 0

Memory (orange): 0

Communication (red): 0

Interaction (brown): 3

Dexterity (green): 0

Action (dark green): 0