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Stefano Castelli


No. of Players:
2 - 4



Gamebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

The Italian town Bomarzo is quite famous for its park of monsters. The sculptures are the work of Vicino who in the 16th century created the park. In the game by Stefano Castelli we go back in history and play the role of minor feuds who try to earn the esteem of their lord. For this we are asked to have interactions with the divinities, represented by the strange sculptures in the garden.

Easier said than done: We start the game with a small player board in front of us, five worker indicators - yes, it is a worker placement game - in their starting positions and an initial supply of action pawns and resources. In the middle of the table a bigger, general game board is placed on which we can find different scoring tracks and an image of the monster park. Around the game board eight divinity cards are laid out, each showing one of the strange sculptures.

Each round of the game begins with a production phase, in which all of our development cards in play and activated symbols on our player board contribute to our income of food, coins and wine. Of course wine is best, because - next to its intoxicating effect - in the game it is a special good and can substitute food and coins likewise. Quite useful, indeed.

The next phase is carried out in a clockwise order. One by one we have to choose an action until we have no more action pawns from our player board to spend. With these actions we can either harvest from three different areas (food, coins and wine) on the main board or send our pawns to one of the divinity cards, paying tribute to them by offering foods and/or coins as demanded by the card. Both possibilities can be chosen several times in a round by other players, but with decreasing harvest respectively higher requirements for the divinity card actions.

Paying tribute turns out to be quite useful, because next to achievements on our worker indicators that give us higher income in the production phase, it lets us take and play development cards that are added to the player's area and further expand the opportunities of a player. Last but not least some divinities contribute to our reputation. So paying tribute can let us advance on the different scoring tracks on the main board. Each divinity card has its own kind of actions. Both card types, development cards and divinity cards, can also be flipped over. Development cards must be developed for this (again with the help of our workers), making them much stronger. Divinity cards on the other hand are flipped to make them more attractive for players to choose. Whenever no player has placed an action pawn on a card after a round, the divinity card is flipped to its "cheaper" side to make it more attractive to go there.

The game ends after eight rounds with a final end game scoring that is quite variable for it can be influenced by the players during the game.

Like many other games by Giochix.it, Bomarzo turns out to be a deep strategy game for 2 to 4 players. You can find many of the typical game elements you know from other games by Giochix.it like the rotating of the cards, indicating that it was used this turn, the abstract, but very effective use of symbols on the cards and the upgrade mechanism of cards. This is not really astonishing, once you know that Michele Quondam himself was responsible for the further development of the game. The game duration is quite short (about 45 min), especially in comparison with most other games by GIOCHIX.IT.

On the other hand, casual players could have some problems with the game, because only after you are really familiar with all the symbols and special actions on most cards, you will be ready to master the game. And I know, also by former games by GIOCHIX.IT, that some people really have difficulties to understand and remember the various and abstract symbols. If you like Historia or Gladiatori you should have no problems at all and you probably will enjoy Bomarzo, too. Maybe Bomarzo is not the whole big thing, but I liked it likewise. I especially liked the further development of the traditional worker placement element, because you are able to choose the same action another player did before, only that you have to pay more. So you are rarely "blocked", there is always a good move to do. Last but not least the artwork is typical for Giochix.it, too. Some think it is weird, but I love it!!!

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Copyright © 2016 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany