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Notre Dame

4 customer reviews

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  • #11 ALBS English language edition
  • Age range: 10 and up / Number of players: 2 to 5 / Play time: 45 to 75 minutes
  • Manufacturer: Rio Grande Games
  • 5 game board sections, 3 Notre Dame Tiles, 45 action cards, 15 person cards, 70 influence markers, 5 rat markers, 5 trusted friend pawns, 5 wooden carriages, 1 bell ringer w/ stand, 20 message tokens, 25 gold coins, 84 prestige tokens, rulebook & supplement page
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Product Information

Technical Details
Item Weight862 g
Product Dimensions30.7 x 22.1 x 6.9 cm
Manufacturer recommended age:10 months and up
Item model numberRGG315
Main Language(s)English published, English original, English
Number of Game Players5
Assembly RequiredNo
Batteries Required?No
Batteries Included?No
Additional Information
Best Sellers Rank 288,149 in Toys & Games (See top 100)
Shipping Weight862 g
Delivery Destinations:Visit the Delivery Destinations Help page to see where this item can be delivered.
Date First Available1 Jan. 2007

Product Description

The players take on the roles of the heads of influential families in Paris at the end of the 14th century. In the shadow of the Notre Dame cathedral the players compete for prosperity and reputation. Each family controls one of the 3 -5 boroughs that surround the site of Notre Dame. As head of his family each player tries through clever use of his action cards to advance the power and prestige of his family but penalties are assessed those who do not take care of the health of the people who live in their borough. The player with the most prestige at the end is the winner. Difficulty: 4/10

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Giannis on 16 Jan. 2013
Format: Toy Verified Purchase
Before I actually played the game I was a bit sceptical, mainly because of the artwork. It seemed to me like washed away colors and too small illustrations.
After the first 2 plays however, the illustrations make sense and you can easily remember with a glance what everything does. Also I appreciate the few and light components that take only 2 minutes to set up the game. The theme is also not bad, and especially the plague feature adds to the feel of the game.
The gameplay is simple, and the game has a fast pace. However there are a lot of meaningful tactical choices to make that can help you and you can try to make the other players life a bit more difficullt.
There is some minor luck element that adds some fun, in the form of what characters are available each round, but winning or losing does not depend on luck, as it is your choises to adjust each round that actually matter.
When the 9 rounds of a session are over and the winner is declared, there is always in our group a feeling that we want another play. A simple, intutive game with enough tactical and strategic depth that can be enjoyed by a variety of people.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Green on 11 Mar. 2008
Format: Toy
I first reviewed Notre Dame in March 2008 and gave it a pretty average rating and an average review based on a few plays at a local games club. Three and a half years later I got a copy in The Works great 2011 games give away- mostly because my daughter might be able to play the game now and because I had the expansion cards for it in the Alea Treasure Chest.

When it came out this game was clearly overshadowed by other releases that were stronger in theme and mechanics and that is still the case- this is still a three star game. However, having played it a couple of times now with the expansion cards it is a lot more enjoyable, or rather: a lot less predictable.

Players take nine turns in three sets of three rounds. In each of those turns there is a draft for action cards, two of the three actions are performed and effects from cards in a central pool are bought. those central cards are fixed in the base game- every game will have the same effect, just the order will differ. With the expansion the central cards can change as you only play with nine from a larger pile. This appeals to me hugely, as your strategies cannot be fixed but must instead change with what will arise over the three turns. There is no longer one 'best' way to play and strategies that were stable in the base game are no longer so.

I like it and I'm happy to have it on the shelf. I suggest tracking down the expansion cards in the long term though.
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By ItalianBoy on 25 Mar. 2012
Format: Toy Verified Purchase
If you want to play with a good, easy and fun board game you must buy it. I like play with my friend and family every sunday night! Is very easy learn to play but not banal. Is great!!!!!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By DM on 5 Sept. 2007
Format: Toy
An interesting game, plays well for 2 to 5 people.
The rules are a little complicated at first (although not as bad as some games) but after a game or two you can have great fun trying different strategies.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Great game, especially if you don't have a lot of players 25 Sept. 2008
By Reverie - Published on
Format: Toy Durability:    Educational:    Fun:   
Although this one probably looks really complicated from the box, the number of pieces, and frankly the instructions... it's actually very intuitive.

The flow of the game is pretty simple. It's split up in to 9 rounds. Each round you can do two actions and then hire a helper. There are three major resources in the game:
- Influence markers. These are the core of the game. Each player has a limited number, and you need them to gain the benefits of various buildings.
- Gold. This is used to hire helpers, and also can be donated to Notre Dame to gain Prestige.
- Prestige. This is basically points, you need to have the most at the end of 9 rounds to win.

There is also a Plague aspect where each round, your plague level goes up. You can control it by having influence at hospitals, but the punishment for maxing out plague is low, so it's usually not worth paying that much attention to.

There are some interesting aspects to the game. There are very few cards. You are in fact guaranteed to see every card every 3 rounds (after 3 rounds, you reshuffle, and that's repeated three times), so even though there is some randomness, you have a high degree of control over what you are able to do.

The game plays really fast, and like I said, it's really easy to learn. There are picture descriptions of what everything does, and the game has a really excellent manual with quick-reference material as needed.

It also plays great with 2-players, so if you don't have a full group, this is a great bet. This is one of my favorite 2-player strategy board games.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Great Strategy Game 19 Sept. 2009
By Atma Weapon - Published on
Verified Purchase Durability:    Educational:    Fun:   
Product Description:

Notre Dame comes in the box pictured. Inside the box are included an attractive 8 page set of instructions and one reference insert (all printed in color on glossy letter-sized paper), 5 game board sections (more on this below), 3 Notre Dame tiles, 45 action cards, 15 person cards, 70 influence markers, 5 black markers, 5 trusted friends, 5 carriages, 1 bell-ringer, 20 messages, 25 gold coins, and 84 prestige tokens. There is also a black plastic item and card organizer that occupies the box. This organizer has two obvious compartments for cards and five other compartments (one in each corner as well as one large compartment in the center). I'm not really sure how exactly the organizer is intended to be used, though, and the plastic it is made out of is very thin and non-durable. My organizer had two cracks in the corners upon arrival (probably not too important). In terms of the game boards, each player gets one and you assemble them into the overall game board depending on how many players you have (and the Notre Dame tiles always go in the middle). The boards are irregular octagons made from cardboard with attractive designs and a nice glossy finish (the boards are a large part of what attracted me to the game in the first place). The cards are about the same size as regular playing cards and have attractive illustrations, and are probably a bit less durable than regular playing cards (they feel more cardboard-like and less plastic but I don't really know and it's not extremely noticeable). The influence markers and rat markers are small (maybe 1/4" cubed), colored wooden cubes. The trusted friends and carriages are made of the same wooden material but are in more complex shapes. The gold coins (circular), messages (regular octagons), and prestige tokens (regular hexagons) are all cardboard (and you actually have to punch them out of the same cardboard that you punch the game boards out from).

Game Mechanics:

The object of the game is to compete to collect the most prestige points by the end of nine rounds. The nine rounds are divided into three phases, and each phase is divided into three rounds. In each round three person cards are chosen semi-randomly (two from the brown person cards and one from the grey person cards). All players shuffle their color-coded action cards and draw three cards. Then, each player must choose which two of the three cards to pass to the player to the left. Then, each player must choose one of the two cards passed from the player on their right and once again pass that along to the player on the left. Then, play commences and it goes around twice giving each player an opportunity to play two of his or her three action cards. The action cards are always played on your part of the game board (which is divided up into sections). The strategy revolves around deciding which sections to play in (the different sections all provide different advantages). Finally, if a player has any gold at the end of the round, he or she may use it to hire one of the people shown on the person cards (each one has a different effect). So, that's the basic structure. If you want to know all of the details on the effects of the different sections and person cards, then you need to read the instructions, but I will describe it a little bit more so that you can get a feel for how the theme relates to the mechanics (which is part of the game's charm). OK, so, in addition to playing a card on a section, you must use an influence cube from your immediate supply (you have an ultimate supply too and playing in one of the sections allows you to move cubes from that supply into the immediate supply). There is also the rat marker in each area that moves up along a path each round based on the number of rats shown on the bottom of all three person cards (so it's effectively random). If the rat moves all the way up the path, you get "plagued" and lose prestige points as well as a supply cube (there are several sections you can play in that allow you to counter the rat's progress). There is also a carriage section that let's you move around the board (even to other players' areas) to collect messages (tokens that are worth prestige points and other miscellaneous effects). Finally, there is the bank and Notre Dame. The bank section lets you collect gold, which is primarily useful for hiring people at the end of each round. However, if you have a surplus of gold (and have the Notre Dame action card) you can use it to place influence cubes into Notre Dame (in the center of the board). This instantly gives you a certain number of prestige points depending on how much gold you spend. Then, at the end of three rounds (i.e. the end of each phase), you collect an amount of prestige points from Notre Dame based on how many influence cubes you have there relative to how many influence cubes other people have there.


I think this game is really fun and has a ton of strategic angles to it from managing supply bricks, gold, rats, and your carriage if you choose to use it, to deciding what cards to pass and what people to hire. It always feels like you're starved of some resource or another and it's so hard deciding which cards to pass when you have three that all look so useful that it kills you to give them up. The game naturally tempts you to play extreme strategies due to the nature of certain multipliers but at the same time it throws enough wrenches at you that you might get screwed if you neglect a certain dimension of the game (e.g. the rat). It is a complex game to learn and may take two or three full games before you understand it, but it is a short game for 2 to 5 players, taking anywhere from 45 minutes to 75 minutes, and the complexity and chaos keep it interesting and fun. The artistic and thematic elements also add to the overall experience and make it more accessible. It's just a really cool game.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Why I love Notre Dame, and you should too 23 Jan. 2012
By Godly Gadfly - Published on
Format: Toy Durability:    Educational:    Fun:   
Notre Dame is and remains an outstanding euro, and several years after graduating off the production line as part of the class of 2007, has to be considered one of the highest achievers of the light-medium games from that year, by typifying some of the best that the genre can offer. It doesn't quite have the depth of classics like Puerto Rico or Caylus, but compensates for this by being more accessible, and serves well as a somewhat lighter and quicker game that is both intuitive and elegant. Yet it's not to be underestimated or considered as a game of luck - far from it, because Notre Dame offers tense and interesting decisions that require you to manage risk and manipulate a very tight economy, and carefully construct long range plans for your point-scoring objectives. There's just the right balance between tactical choices and strategic options, and the card drafting keeps the game interactive without being overly confrontational, while the finite number of possibilities keep the game from bogging down with analysis paralysis.

It's not too heavy, and yet there's also not a sense that so much strategic fat has been trimmed from the design that the end result is muddied by excessive randomness or that game-play becomes a mere shuffling of cardboard and wood with no real flavour, as is the case with some euros we've seen over the years. In many respects I suppose it is an exercise in efficiency, as many euros are, but the random draw of the cards forces you to plan different paths each game, the draft mechanic adds elements of fun and indirect interaction, and the risk management associated with the rats adds tension, all of which prevent it from being categorized with the mundane or blase. In the final analysis, this is no ordinary cube-pushing euro, and while it doesn't pretend to compete with the heavier games in the genre and won't please everyone's tastes, it remains one of the more shining examples of how good a lighter and medium weight euro really can be.

There are those who have developed a strategic `system' in how they play the game, much of which revolves around maximizing the grey person cards. The good news is that a small expansion of nine additional grey person cards gives the game a complete makeover, without changing the core mechanics or feel. For any serious fan of Notre Dame, these new grey person cards are an absolute must have, and I highly, highly recommend them. Notre Dame has always performed strongly in our house, and the replay value and freshness offered by these expansion cards only makes it better. It's amazing what swapping in and mixing nine different cards can do! Notre Dame - highly recommended for fans of euro games. - EndersGame @ BGG
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
One of the Best Strategy Boardgames out there 1 Mar. 2010
By John Hathorn - Published on
Format: Toy Durability:    Educational:    Fun:   
Notre Dame deftly weaves together a drafting mechanic (take one card and pass the rest to the next player), limited resources forcing players make tough choices, relatively short play time (about an hour, maybe a little longer with 5 players), and multiple ways to earn victory points to create a smart and elegant game. It also scales very well from 2 to 5 players. I highly recommend this!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Good game 21 Nov. 2011
By some luser - Published on
Format: Toy Verified Purchase Durability:    Educational:    Fun:   
Pretty good game has some elements that set it apart and make it a different exp from say Puerto Rico or agricola. Makes it a worthy addition to your boardgame collection.
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