Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Christian Fiore &
Knut Happel





In boardgames history, there already have been dozens of games dealing with Venice in one way or another, but if I remember correctly there has not been a game which actually has centered on the building of Venice. This now has changed with Die Säulen von Venedig, since this game focuses on the time when tar-coated trunks where driven into the ground of the Lagoon of Venice to get a basis to build the city upon. Thus, in the game the players take up the roles as builders trying to construct buildings in Venice after laying a proper foundation, and the game will be won by the player who has earned most victory points in this process.

At the beginning of the game, each player is equipped with a five randomly drawn profession cards which will form his starting hand of cards and a number of coloured trunk-markers which he may use to mark single trunks which form the foundation for the buildings. The trunks and buildings themselves are placed next to the gameboard, and here the building markers are divided into their respective shapes since different kinds of building markers may be acquired by the players during the game. To finish preparations, each player also receives a starting stock of two buildings and then the game may start.

At the beginning of each round of play, each player chooses one of the profession cards he has in his hand which he places face down in front of himself. After each player has chosen a card, all cards are revealed simultaneously and then - starting with the current start player - the player's in order may perform the action which their chosen profession allows.

To build in Venice, a player first needs to play a City Councillor which allows him to add building tiles up to a certain value to his stockpile. Then a player needs to play a Trunk Worker who prepares a trunk with tar and rams it into a free space in the Lagoon, and finally an Architect may be used to place buildings - once again up to a certain value - from a player's stockpile onto trunks on the gameboard. For the erection of a building a player receives the number of victory points which are printed on each building, but a number of additional rules needs to be observed during the building process so that other players may be influenced as well. Thus, a player who uses a trunk worker also is allowed to place some of his trunk markers on free trunks on the gameboard, and although all player's can build on any free trunk regardless of the presence of a trunk marker, the owner of such a marker also will receive victory points when another player covers his marker with a building. Furthermore, when using the architect it is also quite advisable to check the spaces adjacent to all available building sites, since a player may score bonus points if his the squares and buildings on his newly placed tile match squares and buildings on neighbouring tiles.

However, there is a number of other profession cards which may influence the game in other ways, and it is especially the use of this cards which introduces much variation and interesting changes into the course of a game. One of this professions is the Gondolier, and whenever a player uses his card he may take possession of the one and only Gondola waiting in the Canale Grande As long as that player is in possession of the Gondola, he will receive additional victory points each time a player builds a building directly adjacent to the Canale Grande. Another profession is the Advocate, and he may be used to place one of the cheaper buildings from a player's stock onto trunks already occupied by trunk markers without incurring victory points to the owners of these markers by contesting their legality. Still other characters are the Speculator, the Trader and the Inventor, since these professions do not conduct an action but instead are bets that an other player actually has played a City Councillor, Trunk Worker or Architect this round. If this should be the case, the player of such a profession will receive victory points as well. However, there also exist some low elements in the game, like the Saboteur who removes a building and allows his player to place trunk markers on some of the trunks re-appearing below the destroyed building, or the Beggar who does not have an action of his own but instead allows his player to duplicate the action an other player has gained from his position during this round.

An interesting feature which also needs to be told is that the used profession cards actually are not discarded but instead are handed over to a player's left neighbour so that the card now becomes available for that player. This effectively serves to keep all important cards in rotation between the players, and it both balances the game and offers some strategic potential when a player has to decide whether it would be more beneficial to use a card or keep it and make it not available for other players. However, of the cards associated with the construction process more than one card exist, so that hoarding is not very useful here, and furthermore the starting player of each round has the privilege to randomly a card from another player's hand and handing back another card for it, so that even a card which was meant to be hold back might get into circulation again.

The game comes to its end once the 60 trunks included with the game are used up, and the player with most victory points will have won the game. As described above, there are a number of possibilities in the game to get victory points, but the most important source to score a higher amount of points still is the placement of a building upon some free trunks. If the attributes of the adjacent building tiles are matching, a player's score may go up considerably by placing the right building at the right space, and such a high number of points cannot be scored with any of the other professions.

The strategic potential of the game is palpable, although the players need to play a game or two before the implications of the different actions will be fully understood. Also, the players need to learn that the ending may come quick without exhausting or even draining the stockpiles of buildings or the available Lagoon spaces. The available 60 trunks only serve to cover about two thirds of the Lagoon, so that in the end still a major part of the Lagoon remains untouched. These lessons learned, the players will keep a closer watch especially on the current leader and the stockpile of unused trunks, and this will enable them to organise their play in a way to make best use of the strategic possibilities the game offers.

[Gamebox Index]

Google Custom Search

Impressum / Contact Info / Disclaimer


Copyright © 2012 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany