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Store:  Strategy Games
Theme:  Nautical/Aquatic
Genre:  Trading
Format:  Board Games


English language edition

Funagain Games does not stock this edition of this title [], usually because it's out of print.

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Product Awards:  
Deutscher Spiele Preis
6th place, 1997

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 120 minutes 2-4

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Product Description


In the 14th century, the Atlantic was an ocean without end and America was yet to be discovered. The Mediterranean was a great sea of prosperity--the majot trade route between East and West. The greatest fleets of the era battled over the most lucrative trade routes. Venetians, Genoese, Spanish and Turks fought to sieze strategic ports on the trade routes of spices, precious gems and gold. Serenissima recreates this era--the golden age, when the Mediterranean was the center of world trade.

Goal of the Game

The ultimate game of Victory through Economics! In the course of a game players must build galleys, hire crew and buy commodoties. Their galleys sail to other ports to sell their cargo to earn money. The winner is the person with the most money combined with the most prosperous trading routes. The rules are simple and quick to learn. The game can be enjoyed by both new and experienced players, who will appreciate the depth of thought required to execute the perfect strategy.

Product Awards

Deutscher Spiele Preis
6th place, 1997

Product Information

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Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.3 in 20 reviews

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by Lloyd
Great first half, poor second half
January 11, 2004

I think that the board looks good, and the pieces are good too, although they do require some work. You could not open the new box and play straight away in an evening, because it takes a fair while to take all the pieces off the sprues and construct the flags.

The first half of the game is great. There are many things to consider. Should one rush to monopolise gold, but leave one's capital weakly defended? Should one concentrate on filling up the warehouses of one's capital, or seek to conquer ports far away? Players have many options, one of which is bloody conflict, but usually conflict at this stage is too costly and the opportunities for making money too great.

The second half of the game is a different matter, however. The winner of the game is the one with most points, and the only way to get points is to own ports. It is possible to do a quick count-up of who is in the lead with port points. If a player is behind, his only option is to go to war. The second half of the game lacks the balance of the first. The player in the lead is almost impossible to catch up, unless perhaps the other players gang up on him.

Also, combat in the system is too predictable. There is a die roll involved, but the system is such that, for example, in a fight between an attacker with 5 units against a defender with 3, the attacker will ALWAYS win, although the casualties he suffers vary slightly.

I have tried a couple of variations. One is to change the combat system to something more unpredictable (I've tried two systems so far, one a bit like Risk), and this makes the end game a bit more interesting. The other was to give people income from ports that have full warehouses. The effect of this was to make people richer in the end-game, but all this meant was that the battles in the second half were bigger, so this variation was not a success.

Conclusion: a pretty game, with a great first half to it, but catching up a leader is too hard, and the second half forces players into bloody and rather predictable conflict.

Having now read the reviews on this site, I may try giving players points for galleys and forts at the end, as these would indicate the potential for future success of the players' cities. This might, I hope, stop the all-out bloody scrum that has occured at the end of every game so far. At the end of my first game, only one ship remained afloat.

Recommended tactic: your first priority is to build more ships.

by Jeff
One More Word
July 16, 2003

I personally would strongly advise against making house rules for scoring. Some have suggested adding points for the number of sailors and ships you control at the end of the game, which is a fair suggestion because they are a big part of the game. However, doing this makes the game become too combat oriented and actually takes away from the game balance. With the official rules, one generally must be shrewed about combat, waiting for the proper time, if they are trying to win.

I now see the logic behind the official scoring values and think that the scoring system is genius, and serves to make the game more dynamic. Tinker at your own risk.

by Jeff
June 24, 2003

After a few plays I've got to write a review of this remarkable game!

Serenissima, as much as any game I've ever played, rewards well-timed combat and trade dealing. Each time I play it I learn two or three new strategies that I should implement in my game play.

What's great about this game is that it does not favor combat, nor does it penalize you for letting your pirate out. Balancing combat and trade is the best way to victory, but TIMING IS EVERYTHING.

I've begun to see the value in determining turn order, so the initial bidding phase can be esssential. There's so much to this game, but it's not too complicated to make it feel like work.

Right now I can't think of a game I prefer over Serenissima. The mechanics are smooth and give you lots of cool options on each turn. There is a ton of interaction, but not lots of frustrating down time. And the game board is the most beautiful, or bellissima, that I've ever seen. And, to me, the art is part of the game.

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