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Store:  Strategy Games
Edition:  Doge
Format:  Board Games


English language edition

List Price: $39.95
Your Price: $31.95
(20% savings!)
(Worth 3,195 Funagain Points!)

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Ages Play Time Players
12+ 60-80 minutes 3-4

Designer(s): Leo Colovini

Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Goldsieber

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Product Description

Venice, also called Serenissima, the most venerable, flourished in the late middle ages as a merchant center. The old established families competed for political power and influence in this city state. As the heads of these families, the players use their power and influence to build the most magnificent buildings and palaces along the Grand Canal. Those that move swiftly and cleverly may attain the highest office in Venice: the office of the Doge!

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Leo Colovini

  • Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Goldsieber

  • Artist(s): Franz Vohwinkel

  • Year: 2000

  • Players: 3 - 4

  • Time: 60 - 80 minutes

  • Ages: 12 and up

  • Weight: 1,405 grams

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.


  • 1 board
  • 60 houses
  • 32 palaces
  • 9 advisors
  • 28 ballot boxes
  • 24 influence markers
  • 42 cards
  • 1 rule booklet
  • 1 rule summary

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.6 in 9 reviews

Thought-provoking game that plays in an hour.
April 08, 2001

Unlike the last two reviewers, our group really enjoyed Doge. I found Doge to be exciting and fun. The game played quickly, and prompted careful thought. As long as you like a game with some bluffing, I give this one a thumbs-up.

I suppose some might complain about 'blind-bidding' in this game. But I felt there was a lot of information to process around the decisions. You always know what the next seven elections will be. Consideration for whether or not an advisor will be in place at any given election must be given. We frequently abstained from claiming advisors in order to move houses across town.

We expect to be enjoying Doge for quite some time!

by Jake
Neither here nor there.
April 02, 2003

Doge is a neat little game. Its great for non-competitive players and families because of its above-average luck factor. The luck isnt so overt as in Settlers, but it lies in the guessing of your opponents moves. Nobody is ever sure of whats happening due to the blind bidding. So its hard for beginners to implement a strategy, but not impossible. In fact, there is more strategy happening on peoples faces than the game board. This I like.

While comparisons have been drawn to El Grande and Taj Mahal (two games I quite enjoy), I saw the parallel, but I didnt feel it. I think Doge is much more reminiscent of Knizias Royal Turf (another light strategy game thats high on luck, high on fun) especially with that 0 betting chip.

The theme works. It doesnt make me feel like Im in Venice, but it does make me feel like Im in a political battle. And this game does a wonderful job of solving the downtime problem so unmistakably avoidable in other games. For this reason, it plays fast. Very few games can boast this kind of tension in such a quick duration. I originally passed on this game because of my ignorance of the designer, but Colovini has done well. Not groundbreaking, but unique.

by Ryan
Political Intrigue in Venice Lives Again
June 19, 2001

Doge is the type of game that gives you a lot of choices on each turn, and for me, this is what makes the game so much fun. On each turn players must decide how many districts and which districts they wish to compete in, how many votes each district is going to get, and the respective value for each of these votes--and this is just phase one. In phase two, the elections are resolved and further questions arise related to moving houses or controlling representatives (this is further complicated by the order in which the elections are held for the current round as well as the known order for the elections for next round). Factor in the ever-increasing cost of building palaces and the parliamentary district and you've got quite a game on your hands. You'll find your head swimming with options as new situations arise requiring new decisions and new strategies.

Doge has a lot going for it. First, I find the setting of the game--Medieval Venice--fascinating (sorry, I'm an historian). The Doge was one of the great power-brokers of the Middle Ages as he controlled Europe's major trading center with the East. Second, Doge is beautifully produced with a colorful map and solid wooden pieces. Third, despite the fact that there are so many options on each turn, the game is fairly easy to play. The rules are simple and clear, with little abiguity. Fourth, the game is playable in about one hour. The turns play quickly (all players play phase one simultaniously and phase two involves all players at various times) and the interest level usually remains high. Fifth, because of the way all players reveal their districts in phase one simultaniously and the way the elections are resolved in phase two, each turn is full of tension. Lastly, since there are no dice involved, the game relies more on players' actions than on pure luck (this is not to say that chance plays no role whatsoever).

Doge has its drawbacks too. The early part of the game (when all the districts are open and no palaces have been built) seems to rely much more on chance than later rounds. If someone runs unopposed in a few districts early on, he/she is virtually guaranteed a couple of easy palaces while the other players are going tooth-and-nail over three or four tightly contested districts. This can lead to one player building up a solid lead while the others scramble to catch-up. Personally, I like the way the game develops. Since each player is responsible for where they place their own votes, it gives some sense of control but also allows an acceptable amount of chance. Plus, it's interesting to see if someone who jumps out to an early lead can capitalize and exploit their advantage. The second drawback to the game is related to this, however. If one player gets a lead, and knows the subtleties of the game, it's almost impossible to overtake them. This doesn't necessarily mean whoever gets the early lead will always win, but if they know what they're doing, they probably will.

Still, despite the aforementioned issues, I find the game very worthwhile. Doge is challenging, fast-moving, beautiful, and very re-playable. In fact, as I was teaching a friend how to play the game, he asked me what the overall strategy of the game was. I knew I liked the game and would be playing it for a while when I realized that I couldn't give him a general formula for victory. There are just too many variables. While it's true that certain patterns appear (like using advisors early and moving houses later on) and strategies become apparent, specific situations demand different strategies that may run contrary to those patterns (e.g., the last time I won, I won because of a crucial late-game advisor move to break a tie in a key district). If all of this sounds too confusing, don't let it scare you. As I said earlier, the game is simple to learn, but the strategies are complex. If you like strategy games that give you a lot of options each turn but are playable in about an hour, you'll enjoy figuring out the subtle, yet elegant, nature of Doge.

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