Commissioned is a doubled sided board game for 2-6 players ages 14 and older. With 5 unique scenario cards, various faith and trial cards, and the choice of 2 different degrees of difficulty game play is never the same. Everyone works together in the game, except there are a few situations where talking is not permitted, and everyone has the opportunity to be the Elder. Game play takes approximately one hour and is over when you have achieved victory conditions, all 5 of the candles are extinguished or the last trial card is drawn. Do expect for the game to take longer the first couple of times you play the game.
There is a learning curve to setting up and playing the game for the first time. Chara Games has created a ‘How to Play’ video (linked below) that explains how to set up and play the game. I found the video to be helpful and I was able to see the game in motion. Also, included with the game is a Theme Appendix which shares some of the historical background of the people, places, and events that you come across in the game.
How to Play Commissioned Video:
The game starts off by choosing the scenario card. The recommended scenario card for first time game players is “Acts of the Apostles” and then suggested the remaining scenarios be played in chronological order (“Peter’s Gentile Outreach”, “The First Missionary Journeys”, “Appeal to Caesar”, and “To the Ends of the Earth”. The scenario card determines which side of the board you will be using, the setup of the pieces, special rules, victory conditions, and what failure means. As you can see on “The First Missionary Journeys” scenario card to the right, we will use Board Side A, the Apostles that we must use, as well as where everything goes. There are no special rules. We achieve victory when we have a church established in red, orange, and yellow cities, we have collected the faith cards for Romans, Galatians, Thessalonians, & Luke, and all Apostles must return to Antioch. This all has to be completed before the 5 candle have been extinguished. Failure to do this means that the church never reaches Europe.
After you have selected the scenario card, every player choses an Apostle. Certain Apostles are required per rules on the scenario card. Every Apostle has their own set of Faith Cards which are different from each other. For instance if you have Barnabas his cards allow you to remove one growth stop from one church in the Elder’s region and with James you can make an additional move on the board. Also, every card are worth different faith points.
There are three phases of the order of play: Arm, Live, & Mature.
In Arm, you draw cards based on the number of players playing Commission and prepare for the Live phase.
In the Live Phase, there are five steps (Trials, Pray, Share, Move & Grow). The current Elder draws a trial card and applies the instructions on the card. The effect could be losing church members or a growth block (where you cannot add any new members until the block is removed). After applying the trials the play moves to Pray. In the Pray step every player chooses 2 cards from their hand to share and then the elder may choose 2 cards out of all of the cards that are face up. Unless otherwise specified players may offer advice to the Elder. Once the elder has made his/her choices they apply the steps on both cards. The final two steps are Move and Grow and they are based . The Elder may choose to make two moves either moving members to an existing church (Fellowship Move) or establishing a new church (Mission Move) as long as there are no blocks in place. You also want to make moves strategically as removing the last piece from a city during a Mission or Fellowship will cause the church to be extinguished. The final step is church growing. Any churches on the game board that have a minimum population of three will grow by one additional member. Once all of these steps are completed, the Elder stick is passed on to the next player and they become the new Elder. After the Live Phase is repeated a certain number of time (ours was 3x since we were playing with 5 players) the play moves on to the Mature Phase.
In the Mature phase, the players use the 2 remaining cards left in their hands to purchase new Faith Cards. The total number of faith points determines how many cards you can buy. You can choose to buy any combo of cards that total the number of faith points that you have or buy nothing at all.
Another round begins in the Arm phase and you continue until all of the Trial cards have been played or 5 candles have been extinguished.
While the game is designed for ages 14+, this game can be played with younger children. We played Commissioned with our oldest three children (8, 7, & 6) and they have enjoyed playing the game. I highly recommend playing Commissioned at least once before introducing younger children to the game. The very first time we played we had the kids join us and we didn’t expect it to take as long as it did. We also did tweak the game a little, including laying the cards face up on the table instead of holding them in our hands, to allow us to help the children. We are enjoying this game and are looking forward to introducing others to the game.
Chara Games has just released a new card game called 3 Seeds which I will be posting a review on it very soon but would like to give you a quick sneak peek. 3 Seeds is a 2-5 player strategic card game that takes about 30-45 minutes to play. In the game time, money, and labor seed cards are used to complete tasks.
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