In The Road to Canterbury you play a medieval pardoner traveling down the famous road selling pardons promising redemption to naughty Pilgrims. In order for you to make the most money the Pilgrims must also be tempted to commit sins. Pilgrims that commit too many sins will eventually perish so you have to milk them for all of their precious coins before they kick the bucket.
In the Box:
7 Pilgrim Cards – These are the Pilgrims that you will attempt to pardon. Each one has their own sin of choice which can help you score points when you pardon them.
44 Sin Cards – You play these from your hand in order to tempt the Pilgrims. If there are ever 7 sins on a Pilgrim they will die (7 Deadly Sins).
21 Pardon Cards – For every Sin card there is a Pardon Card. Pardon Cards are the main way to collect money. For every face up Sin in the area of a Pilgrim you pardon you get 1 Pardon Value. Pardon Values are then squared and that’s how many coins you get.
12 Relic Cards – These are your modifiers or action cards. They have silly names and give you really neat abilities that can be fun to play around with.
75 Corruption Cubes – Each player takes all the cubes of one color. You put these in the Circle of Sin when you play a Sin Card and you place one on a Pilgrim each time you pardon one of their sins.
90 Coins – This is the money you collect when you pardon the Pilgrims and various other bonuses.
1 Parson Pawn – The Parson Pawn represents the sin that is currently the hot topic among the Pilgrims. If the Parson Pawn is on the sin that you pardon on a turn you get an extra Pardon Value added to your score.
5 Last Rite Tokens – When a Pilgrim dies the active player receives 1 Last Rite Token. This lets you take another turn, or it can be saved and traded for coins at the end of the game.
1 Card Supply Board – This is a nice fully illustrated board that keeps your cards nice and organized while you play. And since you can see the top 3 Sin and Pardon cards it takes some of the luck out of the game.
1 Game Board – There is an area to put the Pilgrims, a Circle of Sin, as well as a map of The Road to Canterbury.
- Every time a Pilgrim dies you replace them with a new one. You then mark their death on The Road to Canterbury with the Corruption Cube of the player with the most on that particular Pilgrim. (That player gets a nice bonus as well).
- When you play a Sin card you place one Corruption Cube in the Circle of Sin. The first player to mark all 7 sins gets a 20 coin bonus from the Pardoners Guild.
You also get 3 coin bags to keep your coins hidden away from other players and 3 player guide boards.
Playing the game is pretty simple. All you do is play one card on your turn and draw back up to 5 if you have less than that in your hand. You can play a Sin Card, you can pardon a sin, or you can play a Relic Card. As soon as the last spot on The Road to Canterbury is marked, the game is over and you begin final scoring.
The Road to Canterbury has the most beautiful components I have ever seen in a standard edition board game. You can tell Gryphon Games spared no expense in the production process. The outside box itself is textured linen and sturdy. Almost everything in the box has a textured linen finish. The cards are sturdy, the board is fantastic, and the tiles are thick. Even the Corruption Cubes look like they were carefully smoothed and painted. The coins are shiny and have printed pictures on them. For the components alone this game is worth every single cent.
Fortunately the game itself is actually quite good and really fun. The game plays with 2 or 3 which seems like an odd number but makes sense since 4 would probably be a bit chaotic. The Road to Canterbury isn’t a very hard game to learn but it can be easy to forget to place your Corruption Cubes when you play or pardon a sin at first. But after a while it becomes second nature and you’ll definitely want to make sure you mark every accomplishment because games can be really tight. Just the other day I won a game by a single point.
It’s kind of hard for me to compare The Road to Canterbury to anything else given the unique mechanics at play. You have a hand of 5 cards and you play one card per turn so in that aspect it’s similar to other card games. There is a bit of area control when placing the Corruption Cubes in the Circle of Sin and on a Pilgrim each time you pardon one of their sins. There are huge bonuses to hand out during and after the game so you never really know who is in the lead until the final coin count. There are so many ways to collect coins it may overwhelm you at first. But all those avenues make it so that you always have a chance to make a great play and score big points.
I like The Road to Canterbury quite a bit and I am thrilled to have it in my collection. It is one of the most fun 2 player experiences I’ve had all year, and it plays just as great with 3 while adding an extra level of tension. If you are looking for a gift to give someone for the holidays or some other special occasion The Road to Canterbury makes an excellent choice. The theme, components, and game make for a fantastic package that will wow anyone lucky enough to receive it. If this is the quality I can expect from Gryphon Games then sign me up for anything else they have coming down the pipeline.