Judit Szepessy
Canada
London
Canada
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Introduction

I grew up in a household where books and classical music were greatly valued and enjoyed. Especially my father loved opera and as a child I was always amazed at his extensive knowledge of operas. He particularly liked the aria, Nessum Dorma. During my primary and high school years I often visited opera plays with my class. I am not saying that that was my favourite past time activity to do with my friends and classmates, but I liked these occasions. These two, my upbringing and my schooling paved a way for me to grow to appreciate operas. (I also played the cello for five years). As a kid, I even loved to read the summaries of famous operas.
For all these reasons, I was very excited when I learned about the card game, Turandot. The theme is unique: players recruit singers and directors. The winner is who can hire the best of all of them. I love the idea of recruiting singers, costume designers and directors for your play, and of competing to collect the best of all of them. When setting out to learn and play the game I was hoping to get a feeling of going to the theatre and enjoy a great rehearsal for a wonderful show. Well, I was not disappointed, although, of course, the theme is abstracted, but while playing Turandot you still get the vibes of creating and enjoying an opera.
(La Boheme and Madame Butterfly are more accessible operas by Puccini, but the game was designed for a Nessum Dorma contest. Nessum Dorma is a main aria in Turandot in the final scene. The quotation in the subject line is from the main aria, Nessum Dorma)

Maria Callas as Turandot

Turandot is a fast playing bluffing card game with simultaneous action selection. The game is for 2-5 players.
The game was designed by Stefano Castelli.

Components

The artwork is charming and stylish and this definitely enhances the gameplay. You get number cards, singer, director cards, money cards, bluff cards, carpenter cards, designer cards , reference cards, plus one Puccini card that goes around clock wise among the players.
The cards are of excellent quality and will not wear off with repeated plays. The box is sturdy and the right size; not too big and holds the cards very well. Inside the box there is a plastic card holder for all the cards. I like this because this keeps the cards in a solid base. It would be even better if the back of the cards were of different colours for the different group of singers, but the publishers decided otherwise.


inside the box

Gameplay

You place the 6 characters in a row face up in the middle of the table from 1 to 6. These cards represent the six roles in the opera. The costume designer and the carpenter are face up beside the characters. If you are playing with 2 or 3 players, remove the carpenter from the game and use only the costume designer.
Each player chooses a color and takes the 11 matching cards that are the six number cards, three money cards, a bluff card, and a summary card.


set up for a five player game

You always use as many number cards as many players plus one. This gives the game a good scalability as you have a convenient number of cards that correspond well with the number of players. When bidding, there is always one extra card on the table.


money card and bluff card

You put down the deck that contains the singers face down beside the number cards, and you do the same with the deck with the directors. You use the director deck only once, during turn four when you hire directors.
The game lasts seven rounds. During the first three rounds players bid for singers, the fourth round for directors and the remaining three rounds for singers again.
You can bid a number card, a number card plus a money card, only a number card, and you can include a bluff card with your money card..


numbered character cards

The bids are revealed simultaneously and the cards are distributed according to the bids. The cards that are not taken after the bids are revealed are distributed by the player who has the Puccini card.
Each turn consists of three rounds:
1. Casting call – it is when players secretly bid
2. Hire cast – it is when players reveal their bids and recruits the singers and directors
3. Hire a director – this phase is executed only in the first three rounds. In this phase one director is removed from the director cards.

In the fourth round you do the same but except putting down face up singer cards players put down director cards.


director cards

At the end of the game you will have six singers and one director.


actors

You must assign each of your singers to one of the six roles in the opera.
Then, calculate your score: add up all the stars on your singers (each star is worth one point), then add the total number of elements of the scene (the stars on your money cards that you collected instead of singers ) add one point for each of your singers playing his or her favourite role.


the hired singers and the director

There is luck involved in the game, and a lot of guessing, but this is what makes the game fun. You can still use some tactics that help you get the possible best singers when bidding. It is good to spend your money cards earlier in the game while other players might want to spend them later in the game. Try to hire both male and female singers as you need both genders in your opera. After some plays you will get to know the cards better and will be able to prepare better for the forth turn when you have to hire a director.
Variant: you can use the variant that suggests you do not fire directors in the first three turns but use all of them in the fourth turn.
Another possible change in the rules is that when there is a tie the player who owns the Puccini card never resolves his own tie break.
In case he is involved in a tie, then the first player clockwise who is not involved in the tie break assigns the cards. Both variants seem sensible to me, although they are not in the published rulebook.

Recommendation

As I said earlier, the theme is abstracted. However, when players bid for the singer or director they want to recruit, they bid for the ones they like but asking them to be in the opera is not always guaranteed, the singers and directors can always say no. In this sense, we do get a feel of the theme. There is a competition among the singers and directors in a sense who will get hired by whom. Of course, the thematic elements are not as well incorporated as in deeper games due to the nature of the game, but it still comes through in the artwork and the hiring process.
The game works well with all player account, although it is best with four and five. The more competition is out there the more tense and exciting the hiring process is. However, do not rule out the two and three player games as they all have their appeal as well. We do not always have the opportunity to play with four and five players, and if you still want to play Turandot, the game is enjoyable with lower player accounts too. Although I do not really like to use a dummy player it works well in this game.
Some criticism I have seen about the game spoke about the complexity of symbols and that you have to match symbols at the end and it is tedious; it does not bother us at all. I think, you can get used to these symbols fast and matching the cards is easy. If you do not like fillers that involve quite a bit of luck and randomness, this game will not meet your requirements.
Turandot performs what it promises: a light bluffing game that is entertaining to play like either more games in a row or at a game night before playing a meatier game. I enjoy a great variety of light games of which a few of them are card games like Turandot.
[Disclaimer: I got the game as a review copy.]
13 
 Thumb up
0.10
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stefano Castelli
Italy
Rome
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Great review, thanks!

Just a note: you should replace the "hire a director" phase the "Fire a director" when you talk about removing one of the directors from the game (rounds 1, 2 and 3 according to the official rules).

However, as you pointed out, the original rules did not contain this rule (which has been added by the publisher). I think that firing the directors somehow damages the flow of the game, so My suggestion is to skip the "fire a director" phase and just draw the directors in the fourth round of a game using the whole set.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kimberly Orr
United States
Houston
Texas
flag msg tools
P52
mbmbmbmbmb
As a classically trained musician and an avid opera lover, I am SO looking forward to playing this game!!!! Thanks!

4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Flying Dutchman
Canada
London
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
You have done it again Judit -- another interesting and well written review of an interesting game. I wish that I had a more extensive knowledge of opera -- although I have seen and enjoyed La Boheme and Nessum Dorma is one of my favourite pieces as well. This looks like a neat concept and theme and we'll have to add it to the list of games that we need to get to in the future. Although Tinner's Trail is still at the top of my too play list in terms of your collection !
Cheers,
JT
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Edwin Nealley
United States
Ardmore
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
For those less informed about grand opera, "Nessun Dorma" is the justifiably famous tenor aria sung by Calaf, the Prince, at the start of the 3rd Act, just after he has won the Princess Turandot's riddle game and her hand in the process (at the risk of his life).

He is awaiting the coming of morning and the dawn in the gardens, and the Princess's spies are up and about trying to dig up the answer to his counter riddle- if she can name him, he will offer up his life to her, despite having won the contest in the Court.

I associate it with Luciano Pavarotti, though others have also sung it beautifully. If you recall the Three Tenors concert(s), it was featured prominently in them.

Glorious music- fun game, and a nice review too!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Edwin Nealley
United States
Ardmore
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for sharing that, Stefano.

My daughter and I both love opera, and we will try it that way next time!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Gray
United States
Glenwood Springs
Colorado
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Now we need a "Ring" game.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stefano Castelli
Italy
Rome
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Marcus de Bassus wrote:
Now we need a "Ring" game.


Uh?

[


(oh, wait, maybe you mean the OTHER Ring, right?)
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Yoki Erdtman
Sweden
Södertälje
flag msg tools
Handsome devil huh?
mbmbmbmbmb
Great review Judit, nicely done!

Edit: I just noticed that the pictures were yours, good job! I enjoy pictures when reading reviews.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Berg
United States
South Carolina
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Do you have to hire someone to complete the opera? (Puccini died before finishing the score . . .). I once designed an opera game: BYE BYE VERDI.

Let's face it, opera scribes mined and manhandled the depths and breadth of history for scripts . . . maybe we can return the favor. Maybe a Meyerbeer Monster Game . . . gotta check my Donizettis for some good stuff . .


rhb
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Judit Szepessy
Canada
London
Canada
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Yes, Puccini died before he finished Turandot, but another musician finished it so we do not have to hire anyone else, the game is complete and ready for a great performance as it is.
Yes, we would love to have a Monster Game with a monster theme with one of the great operas! There are lots of great and monumental themes from various operas.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stefano Castelli
Italy
Rome
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
BROG wrote:
(Puccini died before finishing the score . . .)


Yep, I avoided the issue by setting the game in just a single aria of the opera.

Also, I guess Puccini would appreciate the cat card too...ninja
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.