Published by: Daily Magic Games
# of Players: 1 to 5
Villages of Valeria is a card game that requires very few components. There are only 2 major card types (buildings and adventurers). The 30 gold coins are represented by screen printed, yellow, wooden circles. They are tiny, but that works perfectly for the job they have to do in the game. The art on the cards is very eye catching and colorful. The game comes with player aids to help each player know what are the actions and what each icon means. The instructions are very detailed with illustrated help. There is also an online tutorial if you learn better by video. Daily Magic Games does a great job again at bringing functional, solid components and is a step above what you would see from other games of this type.
Villages of Valeria is a card game that has players taking a turn each round and performing one action. The other players may "follow" that player's action with a lighter or more expensive version of that action. The game ends when a player has filled up their village with a certain amount of building and adventurer cards combined. All the players will get to follow that last action and then the game will end.
At the start of the game, players will have 3 coins and 6 building cards in their hand. Each player will have a castle and then be able to select one of their 6 building cards to play as a free resource action. The middle of the table will have a section with 5 face up building cards and another section with 5 face up adventurers. Both remaining decks will be next to their sections.
Building cards are used in 2 ways. The first ways is as a building in your village that you build. The second way is to turn the card upside down and use the bottom of the card (before flipping) and add it to your castles as an available resource. At the start of the game you start with a wild resource from your castle and another available resource from the card you selected at the set up of the game. Buildings and Adventurer cards may have an action when placed in the village that is passive or must be taken immediately. You will find that under the name of the card. You can not have more than one of the same card name in your village.
During your turn you will be able to choose from one of 5 actions. As I said before, each action has a follow action that the other players can take before the next player takes their turn. The first action you can take is Harvest. During the Harvest action, you will draw 3 cards. The other players can follow and draw 1 card. The second action you can take is the Develop action. The current player will discard one card so that they can add a building card as a resource to their castle. The other players can follow but they must discard 2 cards to add a resource to their castle. The resources on your castle will be used for the next action, Build. The player who selects build will add a building from his hand to the village. They must use the required resources that are listed on the left side of the card. After they have added a building, they may have an ability that must be used immediately. Finally they will get to draw one card. The other players can follow and build a building using resources but will not draw card after. You will show that you used a resource by placing a gold coin on the resource to show it has been used. You must have enough gold coins to cover each resource used. You can cover up other player's resources with coins, but at the start of their turn they will remove the coin and keep it as their own.
The fourth action is Recruit. This action has the main player paying one coin and recruiting an adventurer to their village. Adventurers have their own requirements on the left side of the card. You must have buildings matching the icons on the Adventurer card. For example an Archer requires that you have a soldier and worker building so that it can be added to the village. Adventurer cards may have abilities that take effect instantly. After the main player has completed the action, the other players can follow but are required to pay 2 gold to add an adventurer to their village. The last action a player can take is called Tax. The main player will collect one gold and draw one card. The other players will be able to follow and draw a card.
When discarding building cards, you will be discarding them on top of one of the 5 face up cards. If one of the 5 spaces is empty, a card from the deck will be added to the space. Players will keep taking turns till one person meets the end game village requirements. After everyone has taken their follow action, players will total up all their victory points from buildings, adventurers, and special powers. Also add 1 victory point for each gold coin in your possession. The player with the most victory points wins the game and is the new Capital City of Valeria.
Villages of Valeria reminds me of San Juan the card game. The games have very similar flavor if you have played San Juan before. I really enjoyed Villages of Valeria. The engine building and trying to maximize the amount you can do by taking advantage of following other player's actions really helps the strategy and player interaction of the game. I found it to be simple enough that everyone will understand what they are doing in a few turns, but provides a decent amount of strategy for the hardcore gamer. Villages of Valeria does suffer a little from luck of the cards you draw and a possible run away leader. Though both of those elements are rare. The art is very entertaining and the icons all make sense once you look at your player aid. For being a small box game, Villages of Valeria provides a large amount of fun. If you are a fan of card games or games like Puerto Rico, then this will be worth checking out. Villages of Valeria will be staying in my collection and I look forward to bringing it to the table more often.
+Colorful and eye catching art
+Everyone is involved during each action
+Plays around an hour with up to 5 players
+You always have something to do on your turn
+Easy to learn and teach
-Possible to have a run away leader
-Some luck of what cards are available
-Could get confused with other games with Valeria name