I will preface this review with a quick explanation of my typical gaming group. My friends get together every Tuesday. We do different activities based upon the season. For instance, during the summer time, this Tuesday group usually plays volleyball and swims. In the winter and often the evenings, we play games. My point is this, my group has several people that are not traditional gamers. They want something fun, relatively light, and relatively quick to learn.
Lungarno was a hit with my group of non-traditional gamer friends. The game was quick enough to learn to play, and accessible enough for all that played to enjoy. Every player in the group agreed to play it again. After the first play-through, we were all comfortable enough with the rules and ease of play that Lungarno has become a game that regularly gets pulled off the shelf (a personal collection that is well over a hundred).
There were only a few rules that we didn't understand. We quickly made agreed upon house rules to allay the problem, and the game went smoothly afterwards. The next day I attempted to find the answers to our questions on the ol' BBG and found all the answers but one.
Here were the three biggest complaints about Lungarno:
1.)The theme. The theme didn't connect to any in our group, and the family shields seemed as though they could have been bigger and completely re-themed. We referred to the family crests (shields) by their appearance ("checkered shield", "Christmas shield", "Blue shield", etc.)
2.)Rule confusion and continual referencing. All players continually had to ask what each building did, as the visual cues on the buildings were not as self explanatory as they could be. Also, do we count all shields when closing a district, including the buildings that only count at the end of the game? Thus, double-dipping into their point total? These type of rules could be clearer.
3.)It was difficult for players to know how well they were doing compared to other players. The winning player was a bit of a surprise at the end. However, this isn't necessarily a complaint as much as it was an observation. Some players enjoyed that their strategy may surprise other players at endgame.
Here are the three biggest compliments about Lugarno:
1.) Accessibility. The females in the group (traditionally the hardest players to please) loved the style of meeples ("They're so cute!")and actually request to play the game. The theme and mechanics of the game are neutral enough to please (or at least not displease) all types of players.
2.) Turn length generally doesn't take too long. With a maximum of only two actions per turn, players usually know what they are going to do when it comes back to them. Certainly, if a player is taking more than a couple minutes per turn, they are taking too long. This keeps players frosty and engaged.
3.) Learn-ability. Often, what either brings a game off the shelf or keeps it there is how easy it is to relearn. If a game was complicated to learn the first time, it will likely be difficult to refresh players' memories on how to play each play session. Lungarno takes about 5-10 minutes to learn the first time, and a maximum of 3 minutes to relearn (if at all needed).
Overall, this is a solid game worthy of being brought to a motley crew of gamers.
Thanks for this nice review. I'm very pleased that my old game Lungarno (it was showed for the first time during Essen 2008) is still played and appreciated.
Let me know if you need some help with the rules (you're right when you say something is not so clear...).
Have fun and thanks again!