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Subject: Impressions from a 2p Valletta demo rss

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Ben Johnson
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Note: this is my first Session post, so I'm a little new to this. I figure this is the right place to post my impressions from a recent play, but if not please let me know.

At GenCon this past August I had an opportunity to demo a 2p game of Valletta. The only change to my knowledge is that instead of starting with one of each resource (wood, stone, brick and gold/money) we started with two.

I was aware of the game from the GenCon preview and the combo of Klemens Franz and ZMan had me very interested, but that's all I knew. I will admit, based on that pairing I was expecting something like a Rosenberg, which this is not.

Valletta is effectively a deck builder where you acquire cards by building around the town. Each building has a resource cost and has a card on it that is added to your hand when you build it.

Each turn you will draw from your deck up to a hand of five cards and play 3 of them in any order [Edited, I had mistakenly thought you only draw 3] . There is one card for generating each of the 4 resources and one that produces any one resource of your choice. There are two builder cards, a copy card (copy the effect of a previously played card) and the Valletta card. When Valletta is played, you move up the game timer and acquire a hidden resource.

We played through about 3/4 of a game. I believe it ends when one player has built 8 buildings, and we played to 6.

I came into Valletta hoping for a medium Euro strategy game. While Valletta has some interesting decisions and you can definitely make a plan for where you want to build, in my opinion what you do on any given turn is not that thinky. Draw 3, play them, try to build if/when you can.

The cards didn't seem to have so much synergy that the order of play made much of a difference. At any given time I felt that I only had to think about where I want to build next, and then I just try to generate the necessary resources until my builder card comes up.

Overall this feels like a very good intro to deck building and euro ideas like resource generation and conversion. Players don't need to form big strategies, they can play turn to turn and do fine. There are buildings that are more attractive early game (resource generation) and those that are good for late game (points per resources) which can help give players short and long term goals, but it did not seem that you had to build any significant engine to generate the needed resources.

I found Valletta novel but not very deep. I would probably play again, but not any time soon. There are games that do deck building better, and those that do euro strategy better. While I don't think I've seen one that combined them like this, I was left feeling like the combination wasn't something I was particularly looking for.
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Thomas Leitner
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You seem to have played the game incorrectly. You do not draw three cards and play them on your turn. You start every turn with five cards, and play three, then draw back up to five at the end of your turn. Further, cards you acquire during your turn may be one of the three you play.
 
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Ben Johnson
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That sounds correct, my mistake.
 
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