What is this game all about?
Charterstone: Digital Edition is based on a board game of the same name. Charterstone was developed by Acram Digital and Mobo Studio, and published by Acram Digital. You have the options to play offline or online, against CPU players or players in real life. You also have the option of playing a single game or a campaign. The game’s objective is for your charter to be successful enough for the Forever King to declare it the Forever City.
Learning To Play Charterstone
I have never played the board game version of this game, so I came to the digital version of this board game completely fresh. I was very overwhelmed when I first started a new local game. The game play isn’t intuitive in the least bit. I was really confused when I went through these options the first time and found myself on the game board, looking at the different icons and numbers all over the screen. The game doesn’t have a tutorial in the traditional sense. It has a players handbook. This covers the basics, and should be required reading before proceeding to the game. I understand that this game is supposed to be very faithful to the source board game. However, by not having an interactive tutorial it raises the barrier to entry.
Starting a new game
When you first start a new game, you can choose from a number of people who represent the tone of the charter you will taken on. The person you choose will be your avatar, and each with their own qualities. The charters qualities range from cooking and comfort, technology, hard work, wealth and fine things, mining, and leadership. Once you confirm your settings you can then get started with the actual gameplay.
Setting the Difficulty
I would suggest that for your first several playthroughs you choose the AI to be on the easy setting. I am losing all of the games I have played so far, and those AIs have been set to be on the easy setting, so I can’t imagine what they would be like on a harder level.
The games basic mechanics revolve on harvesting resources, then trading resources for gold and victory points. You will have to trade with neighboring charters, and you only start out with two workers. Once you deploy those two workers, you must then spend a turn gathering them back in order to take another action. Your charter will have buildings that will function in different ways. Buildings will all typically have costs and benefits associated with it. In order to meet the requirements you will have to gather resources from the game board with your workers.
Graphics and Presentation
This game is very crisp and clear, though in handheld mode the layout is small. It is here you can definitely see that it started its life on a PC. Luckily the game lets you zoom in and out so you can see the various elements in the game. It just takes some adjustment, especially if your eyesight isn’t the best to begin with. But once I was able to get over that small issue, I was treated to a clean and crisp presentation. The graphics in the game won’t blow you away, but they definitely convey a definite board game feel to it.
The sound will not blow you away with its score or sound effects. Charterstone’s sound seems to be just right for what the game is, a board game. The sound is far enough in the background where it won’t grate on your nerves during long play sessions.
A keyboard and mouse is the way Charterstone was designed to be played. That being said, the controls are fine, and once you start playing the game they don’t really present as either good or bad, merely getting the job done. It does also feature touch controls and they seem to be responsive. This is a good option if you prefer the mouse input on these kind of games.
I have only dipped my toes into a few single games and I can already tell this is going to occupy a lot of my time. The maps in the game are randomly generated so you won’t get the exact same map twice. Also the turn order is determined by a dice roll so that will change the outcome of the game. This is on top of the different choices you will make during each game.
Charterstone is a complex game that will require the player to put a bit more energy into learning the flow of the game and its mechanics. However for the player that is looking for a game with lots of replay value, and detailed game mechanics, I think it is worth the list price of 24.99. At this moment it is on sale for 14.99, so even if you are not sure if this is going to be your sort of game, it is definitely worth the purchase.
Charterstone: Digital Edition for Nintendo Switch is truly a board game come to life. If you are like me in any way you have likely never heard of the board game until now. This game has a lot of complicated mechanics and variables, all of which will lend itself to hours upon hours of fun, if you take the time to learn how to play. As good as this game is, the barrier to entry is high since you have to read a manual in order to understand what you are supposed to do. It isn’t a deal breaker, but it sure is intimidating for anyone just picking up the game. I want to thank Acram Digital for supplying Handheld Gaming Community with the review code. You can purchase this game on the Nintendo Switch eShop.