how to play

Introduction / RulesNotes / Strategies  / Video

CATHEDRAL takes moments to learn, years to master. The rules are few which is one of its main attractions but as you will discover the possibilities are endless.

CATHEDRAL is based on the concept of a City surrounded by a wall. The board, divided into one hundred squares (10x10) represents the site of the city enclosed by the wall. The two sets of pieces, light (bright) and dark (brown) symbolize the buildings and the two opposing factions struggling to gain power and hence dictate the way the city will develop.

Then there is the CATHEDRAL the focal point of the city, a spiritual haven a place of sanctuary which mediates in the struggle and helps prevent one side from becoming too powerful and thus allows the city to develop in an orderly manner. But beware! There is still much to learn about cities and the forces which shaped them. Who knows what secrets lie hidden in this simple game waiting to be discovered.


Start by removing all the pieces from the board and splitting them into two camps, Dark and Light. The players decide which colour they will have (no arguing allowed).

1.    The object of the game is to place all your buildings within the walls of the city, while trying to prevent your opponent from doing so.

2.    A move consists of placing a building anywhere in the city so that it is lined up with the squares.

3.    If you are playing with the light buildings you commence the game by placing the Cathedral anywhere within the city. Your opponent playing with the dark pieces makes the first and each alternate move. The players then take turns starting, by placing the Cathedral at the beginning of each game.

4.    If you completely enclose a part of the city with your buildings alone or with your buildings and the wall, this part of the city becomes your property and your opponent may not place any of his buildings within it. The buildings must meet wall to wall, a corner to corner contact is not acceptable. Your opponent may claim space in the same way. You may not use the Cathedral as part of the boundary to enclose the claimed space. Neither you nor your opponent may claim space on your first move. (See notes 1, 2 & 6)

5.    If you enclose and therefore isolate one and only one of your opponent's buildings or the Cathedral you may remove it and claim the space enclosed. The building must be removed immediately after the move during which it was enclosed otherwise it must remain where it is and the space is still available to your opponent. Your opponent's building may be replayed in a later move but the Cathedral once removed is not replaced for the remainder of that game. If you enclose two or more buildings. one of which may be the Cathedral, then none of the buildings may be removed and the space is still available to your opponent (See notes 3,4 &5)

6.    The game ends when no further moves can be made by either player. Meaning if one player can no longer mkae a move the other player continues to place pieces until they run out of pieces or can also no longer place any.

7.    The winner is the player who succeeds in placing all their buildings within the city while preventing their opponent from doing so. If neither player succeeds in doing this then the player whose unplaced buildings would occupy the least number of squares is the winner otherwise the result is a draw.

8.    When a series of games is played, the players alternate placing the Cathedral and making the first move. At the end of each game players are awarded points equal to the number of squares their unplaced buildings would cover. The winner of the series is the player with the smallest total of points.

The Tom Lehman variant to the starting moves. "Instead of placing the neutral Cathedral piece before the first player's turn, the second players places the Catyhedral along with the second player's first piece. Continue play normally."


1/ The space is enclosed by and claimed for, the dark pieces only, light pieces may not play here.
2/ This space may not be claimed by the dark pieces as the Cathedral may not form part of a boundary.
3/ Although enclosed by light buildings these dark pieces are safe as you can only surround and capture a single piece. The spaces remain available to boith players.
4/ Although surrounded by dark pieces the Cathedral and Manor are secure, the remaining space can be used by both players.
5/ When the light piece (in dashed red outline) is played in the position indicated, the dark infirmery is enclosed, isolated and can be removed on the same move otherwise it stays. The infirmery can be re-+played at any point, the empty space is available for light pieces only.
6/ The space behind the two dark pieces (3) is not claimed as a corner to corner join does not form a boundary.


A / Concentrate on claiming space in the early stages of the game.
B / Play your largest buildings first.
C / Be careful not to let any of your buildings get captured.
D / Never play your buildings into your own space while there is still unclaimed space available.
E / Never give up until the last

VIDEO A video presentation by Hogwa5h Gaming ( youtube channel )