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David Roe
Ireland
Dublin
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This is a reasonably regular visitor to our gaming table, despite being a few years old now.

The map depicts regions in renaissance Italy, and the objective is for players to gain control of three connected areas. Control is contested by the play of cards, as players place soldier cards on the table in turn until all players pass and the battle ends with control going to player with the largest force. A player can drop out of the battle at any time, or indeed choose not to contest it from the start, but cannot re-enter the battle at later stage after having passed.
Play continues like this, with the winner of a battle choosing the site of the next one, until only one player has cards left. Then, new hands are dealt and play continues.
The cards are mainly mercanary soldiers, with a strength value of 1 to 10, randomly distributed. Interest and some strategy is added with special cards, which are worth listing. Firstly, there are heroine cards - worth 10, and this value cannot be altered by any other special cards - notably "Winter" which causes all Mercenary cards to be worth only one strength, regardless of the printed value.
The Bishop ends the battle immediatly in a draw, with all cards played so far being lost, and treachary ends the battle immediatly, with victory going to the player with the highest strength played so far. Finally, the scarecrow allows the player to pick a mercenary card back into their hand, effectively retreating from the battle.

Choice of which battles to fight is crucial to the game, since during a round of playeing, a player can really only hope to seriously contest one or two battles, depending on the number of players. This often leads to cries of "Stop him, he's winning.", countered by "You stop him, you have more cards" which is fun in itself but does require players to cooperate to some degree. The runnaway leader problem is compounded a little by the fact that plahyers gain extra cards in the re-deals according to how many provinces they have already won.

Play is best with five or more, leading to interesting problems with trying to get contiguous provinces without offering opportunities to other plaers who may be close to winning.

The cards are pretty and the map functional, and overall it's a pretty satisfying game for the time spent - under an hour with reasonably quick players, and fits pretty well into the meaty-enough-for-early-evening but not so taxing as to elicit groans from tired players if produced late.
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