A downloadable game

Buy Now$6.00 USD or more

You are a member of the goblin Hut Barons Guild—purveyors of magical real estate for weefolk, bigfolk, and everyone in between. Use your wits and magic to amass the greatest wealth in the budding city of Cartref.

If you enjoy building a city as in Suburbia, or displaying and manipulating a tableau of cards as in Magic: The Gathering, then you'll probably enjoy Cartref, winner of the 2023 BoardGameGeek Two-Player Print-and-Play Contest.

The boxed edition of the game is on sale through Aug 8 at The Game Crafter. This crowdsale works differently than a Kickstarter. For a limited time, the manufacturer reduces the price as more people sign up (rather than adding more features as in a Kickstarter). Everybody will get the best price possible when the sale ends next week. Thereafter, the price will go up and keep rising.

Total of 16 pages of print-and-play (PNP) content:

  • 45 Building Permit cards/backs
  • 15 Mandate (objective) cards/backs
  • 3 Reference/information cards
  • Rules

“It is puzzly, replayable, and makes me feel quite clever at times.”

“It’s a unique, quick, easy-to-learn engine-building game.”

“The game was fun and easily understood by everyone.”

"I really like how the Automa works [solo mode]. It is very smooth. "

“It’s a competitive boardgame without being too mean! It’s easy to pick up, but it takes multiple attempts to develop good strategy.”

"It is an interesting card placement game that works well solo."

"The cards look Great! They are easy on the eyes and I can quickly identify icons and tokens. The drawings are especially nice. "

“I liked being able to invoke and that it didn’t take up the whole table. Because the game finishes quickly, you feel ready to play again and do better.”

I liked the synergy between many of the building types, their inhabitants and the mandates. It’s a dynamic game!”

“We liked the fact the rewards are ‘doubled’ and the potential strategy of getting early a mandate that is not so rewarding in the first moment but can prove very valuable when the game ends.”

"You get a real sense of progression with buildings improving future turns as the city forms in front of you."

"Cartref is a unique mixture of city building, card synergy, and more, all within the landscape of a fast-pace, dynamic board."

“Like the other games Fervent Workshop has developed, Cartref delivers a well-paced, nicely-balanced game suitable for anything from a relaxed game with friends to a fierce battle between rivals.”

“Individual strategy can vary widely; the routes to victory are limited only by the wit and creativity of the competitors."

"A player may win handily with a steady, straightforward strategy, but the game provides opportunities for those with devious minds who prefer to lie in wait and win (or lose) it all in a single, risky, long-plotted, game-ending trap. Whatever your preferred play style.”

“Cartref delivers a fun, memorable experience and will make a great addition to any board game collection.”

You and your opponents construct and manipulate a shared city. On your turn, you take 2 actions from the options below (Build/Achieve/Impel/Purify). You may take the same action twice.

Ending the game

When a player reaches a score of 53 gold, or the Mandate draw pile runs out, the other players each get 1 more turn. Then all players score their Mandates again and determine the winner.


A detailed video that includes setup and gameplay for solo mode...

Solo mode

Cartref includes an automa that plays a simple set of rules. Build a city and practice your crafty ways even when playing on your own. Player feedback about the solo mode has been just as positive as for the game as a whole. It feels like playing against a very challenging opponent that you can try to manipulate in ways not possible with a human.

Limits on spamming

Invoking a card creates pollution (karma) that prevents using a building's magic. This creates a need to purify before re-invoking, serving as a “burn down” mechanic to limit spamming. It also indirectly generates wealth, as the guild rewards players for cleaning up pollution.

Score mandates twice

Players score Mandates (objective cards) twice–once when initially achieved and again at the game’s end. This creates the tension of a race while also providing a framework for strategic planning through the very last turn.

The boxed version will crowd-sale from July 24-Aug 8 at TheGameCrafterI'm going this route because The Game Crafter saves people money by decreasing the price as more people sign up (rather than adding more features as in a Kickstarter). The physical edition might be minimalist, fancy, or somewhere in between.

Physical prototype of the game from The Game Crafter

If you'd like a notification when the crowdsale launches, either sign up for my monthly newsletter, or if you don't want monthly emails, then sign up here for 1 single announcement email.

To get a taste of the game's mechanisms and art:

My prior work includes:

Designing for Stonemaier was a real blast, but I'm also excited about doing smaller games like Cartref. For example, I've recently started a choose-your-own-misadventure game. Even though it's formatted like those books from our childhood, it's a game with challenging choices and unique mechanics (screenshots here).

I really enjoy creating and sharing games. Making them look cool is particularly satisfying. I also love watching peoples' eyes light up, especially when a game nears its end because the players have figured out how they're going to win.

-Chris Scaffidi


Buy Now$6.00 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $6 USD. You will get access to the following files:

PNP-lowink-cards.pdf 10 MB
pnp-rules.pdf 7 MB
pnp-rules-lowink.pdf 4 MB
PNP-standard-cards.pdf 15 MB
pnp-upcoming.pdf 2 MB

Development log

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