Today, I want to talk about a recently released game that funded on Kickstarter called
Villages of Valeria is a 1-5 player game by Rick Holzgrafe and Isaias Vallejo that is published by Daily Magic Games. The game is set in the world of Valeria (as was Valeria: Card Kingdoms and Quests of Valeria), and is all about building your village. It’s a tableau building game in the vein of Race for the Galaxy, with some Glory to Rome mixed in. I talked about it when it was on Kickstarter (see Kickstarter Blitz #26), but here’s a larger preview.
VoV comes with 84 building cards, 16 adventurer cards, 5 castle cards, an action selection card, an action selection token, 30 gold coins, and 5 player aid cards (plus one solo play card). Each player starts with a castle and three gold. There will only be a total of 14-20-25-30 gold coins in the game with 2-3-4-5 players, so the supply is limited. Six building cards are dealt to each player, and a row of five building cards are dealt to the center right below a row of five adventurer cards. In turn order, each player chooses one card from their hand to turn upside down and use as a resource. It is placed under their castle with just the resource peeking out so it can be used later.
Your turn is very simple – first replenish by taking all gold off of your resource cards; then take one action. Choose one of the five actions I’ll describe in a moment. This is called “leading”. Once you’re done, the other players will get a chance to “follow”, which is the same basic action, just not quite as powerful. The five actions are as follows:
- Harvest: If you lead with this action, draw three cards in any combination from the top of any building pile or from the building deck. If you follow, draw only one.
- Develop: If you lead with this action, discard one card from your hand to the top of any building pile. Then you may add another card to your village as a resource, turning it upside down and tucking it under your castle. If you follow, you must discard two cards to do this action.
- Build: If you lead, pay the cost of one card in your hand to build it, then draw a card. To use resources, move gold onto each resource you want to use that has not already been blocked by another gold. You may use other players’ resources as well, but you’re basically giving them your gold for this. If you follow this action, you do the same thing but don’t draw a card. Buildings will often give you special powers that can be used throughout the game.
- Recruit: If you lead, pay one gold to add an adventurer to your village. You must have the symbols required by that adventurer represented on your village buildings. If you follow, you pay two gold.
- Tax: If you lead, take a gold from the bank and draw one card to your hand. If you follow, just draw a card.
When a player’s village has 12 buildings and adventurers (with 2-3 players) or 10 buildings and adventurers (4-5 players), the game ends immediately. Add up the score from your buildings, plus any special power points, plus one point per gold. The high score wins.
There are several things going on in this game that I wanted to point out. First, it’s a tableau-builder, much like Race for the Galaxy. However, rather than using cards as currency, you’re using resources and can use those of your opponents, a lot like in 7 Wonders. Then you have an action selection mechanism that can be led and followed, a lot like Glory to Rome. So it’s a game that seems reminiscent of several games that came before it, but it still manages to be its own thing. It looks like it plays pretty quickly, and there are a number of different strategies that one could use in order to succeed, and I always like checking out those game types. The art is quite nice, and this looks like a game that could be fun in a number of situations with a number of skill levels. So it’s one I wanted to highlight here and hopefully check out someday.
Thanks for reading!