Florenza the Card Game is my first review in which the game is a reimplementation of a game I have already reviewed, Florenza. The premise of Florenza the Card Game is the same as Florenza; become the most influential family in Florence by commissioning the greatest works of art. My dilemma when writing this review was how much I should compare the two games. After all, Florezna the Card Game takes the basic mechanics of Florezna the board game and condenses it. So comparisons would make sense, right? Yes, but, I didn’t want to distract from the card game by constantly bringing up the board game. I decided to write this review with the main focus on Florenza the Card Game and write a follow up review comparing and contrasting the two games. This way, gamers interested in reading about Florenza the Card Game can read a focused review while gamers seeking out comparisons can find all the information about both in one conveniently located review. Now, let’s take a look at Florenza the Card Game.
In order to be the most influential family in Florence you will have to manage your resources as well as the cards in your hand to secure the best artists and build the greatest monuments. Florenza the Card Game setup is quick and straight forward. The rule book is fantastic and lays out everything very clearly. Once setup is complete you will have a top row of seven monument cards, followed by 2 rows of 10 cards containing locations, generic artists, and a captain of the people card, a bottom row of 6 to 10 (depending on the number of players) named artist cards, six decks of resources cards (spice, fabric, marble, wood, gold, and metal), three decks of Florenza cards separated by Roman numerals, and three Fiorini (money) decks (50, 100, and 500). Each player chooses a family card and is then dealt 5 Florenza cards from deck 1, given 300 Fiorini and 1of each resource card.
Florenza the Card Game is played over five rounds that are separated into 4 phases; Draw Artists and Monument Cards, Draw Florenza Cards, Take Actions, and End of the Round. The Draw Artists and Monuments Cards phase, skipped in round one, replenishes the Artists and Monuments Cards which have been depleted in the last round. In the Draw Florenza Cards phase, also skipped in round 1 as this step is included in the setup, each player draws 4 Florenza cards plus an additional card for each Residence card they have built. Each round additional cards will be available to the players. In round 1 only deck 1 cards are available. In round 2 all cards left over from deck 1 get shuffled into deck 2. In round 3 all cards left over from round 2 get shuffled into deck 3. In round 4 all cards from the discard pile get shuffled into the cards remaining from round 3 and in round 5 only the cards that remain from round 4 are available. The Take Actions phase is the main phase in Florenza the Card Game. This is the phase where the players take turns choosing from the games eight available actions; Play a Florenza Card, Complete a Monument, Reserve a Monument, Reserve an Artist, Activate a Location Card, Send Out Workers, Go to Market, and Search for Inspiration. End of the Round phase is where Monument and Artist cards not used are discarded as well as all but one card from your hand, end of round resources and income are collected and the location cards are reset.
In the Take Action Phase players will be able to choose at least 4 of these actions:
Play A Florenza Card: This allows a player to play a card from their hand such as a Workshop, Church, Residence, Family Palace, etc, as long as the player as the required resources.
Complete a Monument: This allows a player to take any of the Monuments cards in play or ones the player has reserved as long as the player has the resources, money, and ability to hire an artist.
Reserve a Monument: A player may take 1 Monument Card from the Monument Cards in play to play at a later time.
Reserve an Artist: A player may take 1 Artist Card from the available artists and place it in front of them. They may hire this artist by paying the cost when an artist is needed at a later time.
Activate a Location Card: You can activate and turn over an available location. This is how the player can acquire resources, money, or become Captain of the People (which allows you to go first in the next round).
Send Out Workers: Allows a player to take 50 Fiorini from the supply.
Go To Market: A player may choose to sell 1 resource for 100 Fiorini, buy 1 resource for 100 Fiorini, or exchange two resources for one resource.
Search for Inspiration: This allows a player to draw one Florenza Card from the deck.
After five rounds prestige points are tallied up and the player with the most points wins.
I would label Florenza the Card Game as a medium complexity card game which is easy to setup and learn but is a little tricky to truly master. The game is a combination of resource management, hand management, and action selection with a little gambling/luck tossed in. The luck aspect of the game may not sit well with some hard-core euro gamers but I think it gives the game an exciting feel as well as adding to the replayability. I like the risk/reward of reserving artist and monument cards. You can reserve a monument or artist card without having to immediately play it but you get penalized if you haven’t played it by the end of the game. This lets you snag a good card early and gives you time to acquire the necessary resources to play it. At the same time though you don’t know the prestige points of each artist until they are played. The backs of the artist cards have numbers that represent how many of that artist are in the deck and the prestige value each card. So you never know how many prestige points you will actually get until it is time to hire them and flip them over. For example, Leonardo da Vinci has two cards, one worth three prestige points and one worth seven prestige points. Reserving him early without knowing which card he is can be a gamble that pays off if you are lucky. The cards you are dealt each round is completely random which also adds to the luck element of the game. An early hand that includes Residences and Preachers which give you extra actions can go a long way in gaining an early lead.
Overall, I enjoyed playing Florenza the Card Game. The art is fantastic and there are a lot of decisions to make each round. With two players, a game can easily be finished under an hour yet there is plenty of time to make up for an unlucky first draw. The luck of the draw, as well as the luck of selecting Artist Cards added nice variety to the game. This is a game where you have to adapt to your hand each round which made for some exciting game play. If you are fan of long thought out strategies then this one may not be for you.
Tony’s Pros and Cons
Pros: Easy setup, great rulebook, great art, great quality, plays under an hour for two, lots of decisions, new challenges each round.
Cons: I personally don’t have any cons but the luck of the draw and luck in selecting artist cards probably will not make this enjoyable for everybody.
Tony’s Epic Scale: 2 (Lots of cards and a unique setup but the rulebook leaves players with little to question)
*Epic Scale is on a scale of 1 to 5 and is a combination of number of components and ruleset*
Value: 8 (Priced at most places for around $30 makes this a great value for the quality and quantity.)
Art: 7 (Very unique and historic look with amazing detail in each card.)
Setup/Teardown: 7 (The first time is a little intimidating but the rulebook holds your hand through it.)
Re-playability: 7 (Enough combination of luck and strategy to keep coming back to it.)
Fun Factor: 7 (It is a fun game but drags a little with higher play count.)
For pictures of FLorenza the Card Game and other reviews please check out http://firsttimethrough.weebly.com
I really like this game - plays well with 2p, so that's always a perk for me.
I agree totally. I really liked it at 2P and since most of the time I play 2P this was a bonus! I thought 3P was good too. Our 4P game seemed to take too long.
I've played this game over 20 times and really enjoy it at all player counts. Our 4 player games usually clock in at under 90 minutes including set up and tear down, so it hits a nice sweet spot for a medium complexity game that can be played in well under 2 hours.
In all the times I've played the game I've never seen someone reserve an artist. Seems like a bad bet to me since you aren't sure it's worth the effort. I've seen many people reserve monuments especially if a goodly number of high VP valued monuments come up early, knowing they'll get swept.
I've replaced the card money with mini poker chips and the resource cards with small wooden cubes (similar to the board game). This vastly reduces the table footprint of the game and makes hand management of cards easier. We supply silicone muffin cups to each player to hide cubes and coins.
Cool idea with the cubes and chips! I imagine the more familiar we get the faster a 4 player game will go. Ours clocked in around 2 hours! At that time I would rather play FLorenza the board game. We will have to give it another go and see if we can drop the time. Under 90 would be awesome!