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Die Säulen von Venedig» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Why I REALLY like this game. rss

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Justin Moore
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Louisville
Kentucky
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I first heard about this game on a podcast somewhere, maybe Garrett's Games and Geekiness. It sounded intriguing and I had been waiting a long time for it to hit American shores. Since it had been out for 2 years, and there didn't seem to be any momentum for an English release, I decided to order it from Amazon.de. Boy, am I glad I did.

Säulen von Venedig is a game for 2-6 players. So far I have played it with 4 once and 5 twice and it played great both times.

Components

The components are high quality. The board is a simple single fold board that depicts the grand canal in Venice and a lot of squares on the rest of the board. 60 orange pillars come with the game, enough to fill roughly half of the squares displayed on the board. Players get 9 pillar markers in their color, one of which is their scoring token. There are 31 cards for the various roles in the game and then a number of different shaped buildings that will be placed in Venice.

Setup

Take the cards that show the same number of players you have or fewer in the lower right hand corner of the cards. You should end up with 5 cards per player. These cards are shuffled and dealt out completely to all the players. Each player then receives one 2x2 building and one 2x1 building. These buildings show two values, one is how many stones it takes to build or acquire and a quantity of victory points you get when the building is built.

Playing the game


Rounds are pretty easy. Each player picks a role and places it face down. when each person has selected a role, they are all flipped over and then the roles are resolved starting with the Start Player and moving clockwise. Once everyone has completed their role, they pass the role card they played to their left.

If anyone played a Master Builder or councilor the start player card passes left as well. Then a new round starts.

The game ends when all pillars get placed or someone gets to 80, whichever comes first. The player with the most points wins.

The Roles


The basics of the game involve putting pillars on the board, acquiring new buildings, or building the buildings you have acquired. There are 3 basic roles to accomplish this. The Pitch Dipper for placing pillars, the Councilor to acquire new buildings, and the Master Builder to build the buildings on the board.

When playing the Pitch-Dipper you get to place a certain number of pillars on the board and then a lesser number of pillar markers on empty pillars on the board.

With the Master Builder, you can build as many building as you can as long as the total stone value of the buildings is equal to or less than the value shown on the Master Builder card. In fact you must build as much as you can on your turn.

When building, you will get the victory points shown on the card. You must place a building so that every space on the tile is supported by a pillar already on the board, even if that pillar has someone else's pillar marker on it. Any pillar markers that are covered are removed from the pillar and their owners get 3 points for each of the markers removed. If you can manage to match similar sides on adjacent building tiles, you get additional points.

With the councilor, you get to acquire new buildings up to the stone limit shown on the card.

There are multiple copies of these cards with varying values on each. Then there are a series of cards for which there are usually only one or two.

The Speculator, Inventor, and Trader will score a potential 6 points depending on if someone else plays either a Master Builder, Pitch Dipper, or Councilor respectively.

The Beggar allows you to mimic a card someone else played.
The Spy lets you pick a card from someone else's hand of unplayed cards.
The Gondolier let's you put your marker on the gondolier. When you have control of the gondolier you get 2 points every time someone builds adjacent to the grand canal.
The Arsonist will let you remove a building and claim two pillars on the board.

Overall Impressions


I really like this game. It is very easy to learn and very easy to teach, yet I've seen some very interesting strategic moves happen during the game. In a game tonight, my wife played the arsonist right before I played my Master Builder. There had been no place to play before she tore a building down, but by tearing it down she forced me to build on two pillars where she had put pillar markers. Since she also controlled the gondolier, she netted 8 points by recognizing the situation at hand. This move won her a closely contested game.

So to address the subject of this review. I think this is a great game. It can be used as a gateway game but there are also many things going on. We played twice tonight. The first game ended with the winner having around 45-50 points. The second game my wife won with 76 points, so it was a much higher scoring game the second time around. I think this growth shows there is much to learn about the game as you play it.

There are many options for scoring points. From scoring with the pillar markers, to the cards that pay 6 points if you gamble correctly, to the nickel and dime gondolier, there are always ways to score and finding the best method given the cards in your hand is the key to the game.
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Henrik Lantz
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Very interesting, great review! I have been interested in this game for quite some time, but as noone is talking about it I was hesitant to order. But I also heard the good comments about this game on Garrets games and geekiness, and now you also are saying it is a great game. I guess that for some reason it didn't get that very important "good buzz" upon its release, and it was never picked up by most. But after reading this, it is definitely a possible future buy for me.

By the way, did you try playing it with two? Very interested to hear how it plays with two.
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Justin Moore
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Louisville
Kentucky
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Bolger wrote:
Very interesting, great review! I have been interested in this game for quite some time, but as noone is talking about it I was hesitant to order. But I also heard the good comments about this game on Garrets games and geekiness, and now you also are saying it is a great game. I guess that for some reason it didn't get that very important "good buzz" upon its release, and it was never picked up by most. But after reading this, it is definitely a possible future buy for me.

By the way, did you try playing it with two? Very interested to hear how it plays with two.


Have not played with 2, but I think if the players don't just stick to their own ends of the board it could be interesting.
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