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Arnak publisher’s new city-building board game asks if collective prosperity is worth its weight in silver

Burnish your sterling reputation.

Image credit: Czech Games Edition

The publisher behind Lost Ruins of Arnak and Codenames has announced an upcoming board game where players compete in a complex economic system to build a historic Czech city and the cathedral at its heart.

Kutná Hora: The City of Silver will combine both European architecture and tabletop design, sending two to four players into a bid to construct the eponymous city from the ground up - especially Saint Barbara’s Cathedral - by influencing the interlocking economic systems at the heart of its design. Expect market cards on the table and double-sided action cards in each player’s hand that will dictate their available strategies.

Published by Czech Games Edition and designed by Ondřej Bystroň, Petr Čáslava and Pavel Jarosch, Kutná Hora sounds like a contemporary euro-style board game even if the few components shown in the teaser trailer look more abstract and interpretive. A press release from the publisher described it as featuring a “real-life supply and demand experience” where “everything is connected, and sometimes the path to personal victory relies on the prosperity of the many.”

Kutná Hora will join a bevy of other board games we're excited to see land on the table this year.Watch on YouTube

Players will spend a significant amount of time mining silver and trading it through the different guilds that control aspects of the region’s economy. Building the city will require purchasing both land and permits for constructing buildings, and these are represented by tiles that gradually expand to represent the growing city. Once erected, structures will be affiliated with one of the guilds and earn profit for the player and influence with the specific guild.

What players do with this accumulated wealth seems to be one of the more complex questions at the heart of Kutná Hora. Do you pour money into the construction of St. Barbara’s Cathedral, thus clearing milestones and reaping perks along the way? Or do you instead reinvest funds in the city’s infrastructure - food, entertainment, craft and industry - and really boost your standing with all of the city’s guilds?

How those two imperatives play off each other during sessions is yet to be seen, but the idea of checking one player’s greed by incentivising cooperation and spreading of wealth is an intriguing one within the often dense and optimisation-focused design of euro board games. Each playthrough is estimated at half an hour, so this might end up falling on the more approachable end of that genre spectrum.

Kutná Hora: The City of Silver will launch in Europe at Essen Spiel 2023, followed shortly after by its appearance in US retail, according to CGE.

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