Villages of Valeria Review

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A royal herald arrives in your court. Unrolls a large scroll and begins to read:

‘You have been chosen to compete for the title of Valeria’s capital city. In four weeks the King will send a royal envoy to assess yours and four other cities, the winner will replace Shilina as the capital city of Valeria.’

Turning on his heels the herald leaves. You gather your court as much will need to be prepared, buildings erected, resources mined and grown.  Hopefully you’ll even be able to entice an adventurer or two. Let the planning begin!

Give each player a Castle card and a Player Aid card. Return unused Castle and Player Aid cards to the box; they will not be used. Give each player 3 Gold coins; the remaining coins form the bank. Each player places their Castle card face-up in front of them on the table, as the first card in their Village.

Separate the remaining cards into two decks, putting Adventurers into one deck and Buildings into the other. Shuffle each deck separately. Deal 6 random cards from the Buildings deck to each player. These cards form the players’ opening hands, which they keep secret.

Create 5 pool piles by dealing one card from the Buildings deck to each pile, face up in the center of the table. Place the rest of the Buildings deck face down next to the pool. Similarly, deal 5 random cards from the Adventurers deck face up in the center of the table (near the Buildings pool), to form the Adventurers pool. Deal 5 more Adventurers face down and unseen into a draw pile, and place it near the Adventurers pool. If any Adventurers are left over, place them back in the box unseen; they will not be used.

Select a player in any way you wish to be the starting Active Player. In turn order (starting with the Active Player and going clockwise) each player selects one Building card from his hand to develop as a Resource, at no cost. This special round happens only once, at the start of the game. (Note: place the selected card face-up and upside down, and tucked under your Castle card, as explained below under Developing Resources on page 4 and as shown in the Village Layout diagram on page 3.) Thus, each player will have one Wild Resource (provided by their Castle) and one ordinary Resource of their choice already available on their first normal turn.

Now begin taking normal turns (again starting with the Active Player and going clockwise). During a turn, the Active Player will select one of five Actions to perform. After the Active Player has performed their selected Action, each player will have a chance to follow that same action but at a slight disadvantage. The possible Actions are:

HARVEST: Draw 3 Cards.
Follow: Draw 1 Card.

DEVELOP: Discard 1 card to add a Card to your Castle as a Resource.
Follow: You may discard 2 cards to add a Card to your Castle as a Resource.

BUILD: Place Gold on Resources to add a building to your village and draw 1 card.
Follow: You may place Gold on Resources to add a building to your village.

RECRUIT: Pay 1 Gold to add an Adventurer to your village.
Follow: Pay 2 Gold to add an Adventurer to your village.

TAX: Collect 1 Gold and draw 1 Card.
Follow: Draw 1 Card.

Some Buildings and adventurers provide special powers, after they have been built or recruited. This section explains those powers and their effects. Powers that apply to specific actions, such as Recruit, Harvest, etc., apply when you are either taking or following the action. They do not apply in the turn when the Building or Adventurer granting the power is first built or recruited. Powers are additive: for example, if you have two cards with the Tax + Coin power, then you may take 3 Gold coins from the bank whenever you take or follow the Tax action.

In a four-player game, the game ends after the turn in which any player’s Village contains a total of 10 Buildings and/or Adventurers, or more in a three- or two-player game (see below). This can happen either because the Active Player has built a Building or recruited an Adventurer, or because another player following the action has done so. The entire action is played out, so even if the active player has triggered the end of the game, all other players still get a chance to follow the action and add to their own Villages.The Resources and the Castle do not count toward the total. Count only Buildings and Adventurers.

Players Total Buildings and Adventurers

  • 2 Players – 14
  • 3 Players – 12
  • 4 Players – 10

Add up the Victory Points shown in the upper-right corner of each Building and Adventurer in your Village. Resources and cards in hand do not count. Then add Victory Points granted by any special powers that your Buildings and/or Adventurers might have. Finally, add one Victory Point for each Gold coin in your possession (including those on your Resource cards and Castle).

The player with the most Victory Points wins! In the event of a tie, the tied player with the most Buildings and Adventurers wins. If there is still a tie, the tied player with the most Gold coins wins. If there is still a tie, the tied player with the most developed Resources wins.

The Valeria series is something I have been hearing so much about, not just from fellow gamers, but from several trusted reviewers and designers. There is some super high praise for this series. So when Daily Magic reached out to me I jumped on the opportunity to check it out. I must say, I had extremely high hopes for this game as several of the reviewers I had discussed this with had been ones I followed before trying my hand at reviewing myself.  They couldn’t have been more right, wow is this game super fun.

Villages of Valeria is a 1-5 player game, and though I haven’t played it solo I have played it with 2 & 5 players and the versatility of this game is amazing. I am shocked by how different this game is when played with 2 or 5 players. I have played several games where a game has a sweet spot for the number of players, and though it works when played with less or more the game lacks a lot. Villages of Valeria is not one of those games, it is clever and smart and for what looks like a small card game there is a lot of strategy involved. The number of choices you have, do I follow and pay the extra gold or do I wait and pay less on my turn; do I use player 1’s resource and give them a gold or do I wait and have someone else take that building.

I brought Villages to Valeria to a games night I had with a group of friends that are only getting into board games, along with several other games. I found it was very easy to teach and only the first game actually went over the 45 min mark, but this could have been because of a party foul and beer being spilt on several of the cards. That being said, the quality of these cards is amazing. The beer beaded on top of the card and didn’t do any damage to it.

They really enjoyed it and I personally loved the follow rule, as there is little down time. As they are new players I did try to bring games that I know were quick or that wouldn’t have people sit around and wait for 5 others to have their turns. Even if you aren’t going to follow a player, you still have a decision to make so I found this kept everyone’s attention and helped their newbie mind’s from wandering.

 

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Mihajilo Dimitrievski really does deserve an award for his Illustrations. The art in this game is purely stunning, and I wasn’t the only person in the group that thought so. Every time an adventurer was flipped or put in to play, everyone had to comment on how amazing it was. I personally loved the subtle differences of the starting castles. It would have been quite easy and gone unnoticed if they had all been the same and just used the different colors to make them look different. But each castle has been given subtle characteristics and settings to give them even more individuality and beauty.

Villages of Valeria for me really did take my breath away and for those Reviewers and Designers that told me how good it was, I must bow down to your knowledge. This game will be on my top 10 list of 2017, I have no doubt. It is clever, versatile and smart, the art is so stunning and I love that the learning curve for this game is so good.

If this, like me, is your first time hearing of the Valeria series, do yourself the favor and go out and get a copy, you really won’t be disappointed.

You can get your copy of Villages of Valeria here. (https://www.dailymagicgames.com/villages-of-valeria/)

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