Despite nowadays the work of the gondolier has been greatly reduced in the tasks required, 500 years ago it had much more tasks to perform, especially as regards the transport of goods along the various canals that run through Venice. In Venice you will have to play exactly a merchant who, through his gondolas and gondoliers, will have to make his trade prosper and become the most influential person in the city, but let’s go now to see the review.
The life of the gondolier is full of intrigue
First of all, the table must be prepared: once the game board has been positioned, the various main buildings will also be randomly arranged, which will be used for the collection of materials and exchanges during the game. At this point each player gets 6 coins and draws three cards from the mission deck – which will vary according to the number of players present – but none will only choose 2 to be followed at the same time. The players following the first they will receive 2 extra coins. You then move on to the positioning of your gondolas on the map, in turn one at a time, and the game at this point can finally begin.
In Venice, during their turn each player can perform certain actions:
- play an influence card: These cards can have various effects, from promoting assistants to removing the Intrigue level. Normally you will never have them in the first turn, but they can be obtained by advancing buildings or completing missions.
- move a gondolier between their gondolas: each turn it will be possible to move your character between the two boats in order to decide which will be the active one during the turn. Note that although the move is free, if you decide to leave it where it is you will have to pay 3 coins.
- make the gondola: obviously you can also move your vehicle through the canal (a movement is always mandatory, the gondola cannot remain stationary in place). The first move will be totally free, while each of the following ones will cost coins, the amount of which is marked individually on each part of the channel. It should be noted that it is not possible to retrace the same route during the same shift, you will have to wait for the next one. There is also a different condition if you should go under a bridge, but we will consider this later.
- dock at a pier: staying close to a building will allow you to place your assistant above his first square at the top (if another player’s assistant is already present, he will be moved one square, making him advance in position). Note that the first to place all the assistants on a building will get 10 victory points (which as you imagine you will need at the end of the game). Depending on where it will be located, it will give you access to rewards, which can range from the simple collection of materials, the colored cubes that you will need to complete the mission (you can keep a maximum of 5 per gondola at the same time), to other combos in which you can exchange goods for money, or vice versa, or to get additional bonuses, such as Council points, which are used to end the game.
- complete a mission: if docked at the right building you can decide to complete a mission by paying the required materials. This will allow you to receive victory points, coins and the peculiar effect of your mission, to be permanently placed under your card, with a maximum of 3 at the same time.
In Venice there is too much traffic
If two gondolas find each other ad cross the same point of the canal two situations can occur: if the other boat is allied then you will have the possibility to exchange goods from one to another, while if it were an opponent you will be faced with a choice, pay a scroll, or get an intrigue. Another situation in which you will find yourself faced with a double chance is when you will have to go under a bridge: you will not pay any coins for the passage but, depending on the membership of the structure, two situations may arise: if the bridge were yours you will get a coin, while if it were an opponent you will get an intrigue. The bridges can be obtained through the advancement of the assistants in the various buildings.
A lot of Venice it can basically end in two ways: reaching the limit of Council points or finishing the mission deck, in both cases you will still have two more turns to try to scrape together the last points. At this point the player with the most level of Intrigue is automatically eliminated, preventing him from participating in the final scoring, while the others get victory points based on their position on the Council and the assistants used during the match. So always be very careful not to pull the rope too hard with the Intrigue.
Technical details on Venice and review conclusions
As we prepared the review, we calculated that a match up Venice, which we remember in Italy was published by Gamesx, on average it lasts About 20-25 minutes, and can be played from 1 to 5 players at the same time. The game, although it may be a bit difficult to understand at the beginning, and with too many particular mechanics, is easily framed once the first game is made, allowing you to learn all the rules very quickly. All the pieces are of good quality, both the pieces of cardboard, and the various wooden characters and tokens. Unfortunately however the game suffers from one objectively small map for the size of the gondolas, sometimes leading to somewhat unpleasant situations in which the various gondolas would be stacked – an action we advise against since they do not fit together very well and you risk dropping all the pieces.
Rather, we suggest that you combine them, perhaps even taking a part of the map outside the canal, since, although it may be uncomfortable, it will prevent you from overturning the various materials and gondoliers, preventing you from a lot of frustration. The game as a whole it’s very cute and inspiring also from the point of view of competitiveness, proving to be excellent both for casual gamers and for those who are a little more experienced. If, on the other hand, you are interested in a much more complex and competitive title, we recommend reading our review of Lawyer Up, a board game in which you will play a lawyer in an American court area.