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reprint of The Traders of Genoa

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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 60-120 minutes 2-5

Designer(s): Rüdiger Dorn

Publisher(s): Rio Grande Games, Filosofia Editions

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Product Description

This is a reprint of the classic Traders of Genoa. It has a larger box and completely new graphics, but the important elements of gameplay remain the same.

This is a game of trading, wares, and negotiation. The players take the roles of traders in Genoa in the 16th century. They fulfill orders, deliver messages, and take ownership of buildings in the city. Of course, this is not possible without the help of the other traders -- thus, the need for clever negotiation. And that can cost money and other valuable goods! The player who earns the most in the game is the winner!

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Best Strategy Game Nominee, 2002
Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 2001
Deutscher Spiele Preis
3rd place, 2001

Product Information

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.8 in 22 reviews

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by Tom
Best with 5 players
March 28, 2004

We first played this last weekend with 5 of us and we had a blast. It was chaotic, it was exciting, and it was fun. The tower player was constantly being pulled in 4 different directions. The haggling and wheeling and dealing was non-stop. None of us even really knew if we were getting the best deal; we all just enjoyed being part of the action. Every tower movement and action came at a steep price, and the multiple offers given were often so varied, it was nearly impossible to gauge what the better deal would be. Also, there was really no down time between turns because everyone played such an integral part of every turn. I would literally jog into the kitchen to get another beer because I didnt want to miss out on a good deal. The game took about 2 and a half hours and we were all sorry to see it end. What a perfect game night!

With that said

The very next day, three of the five of us got together again to play because we enjoyed it so much the night before. The 3-player experience was not nearly as fun. I think its because the chaos factor was gone. Everything became more predictable and mechanical. There was a surplus of actions so they went cheap. As a result, the haggling and wheeling and dealing aspect of the game was greatly diminished. 5 ducats for an action was quite common simply because there were no other offers on the table. That never happened the night before. The game still had strategy but it was no longer exciting. I guess the best comparison I could give is Pit (the card game). Pit is a great game with 8 players and a lousy one with 3 players because it requires the constant chaos of deals flying left and right to be stimulating. That, of course, is the extent of the similarities between Traders of Genoa and Pit.

So, in conclusion, this game can be a lot of fun but it comes with requirements:

1) You need 4 or 5 (preferably 5) people to make it work.

2) Every player needs to be ready and willing to negotiate their butts off for 2 hours straight.

If you have those two ingredients then this game will not disappoint.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
It's always your turn -- brilliant, fun and exciting
January 06, 2004

On all levels, one of my very favorite games:

  • exciting (it's always your turn, see below for more explanations),
  • engaging (lots of decision-taking),
  • fun (plenty of discussions and negotiations),
  • and cooperative (the other players are your competitors, but not your ennemies).

For me, the key mechanism that makes this game so much fun is the following: on his or her turn, each player may determine a path consisting in five fields on the board. Most of the fields represent buildings in which different actions are possible. But the player-in-charge doesn't choose the five fields alone. He (or she) discusses the selection with the others and makes deals (you sell the actions that can be taken in the various places). In this way, it's always your turn. Everybody is always looking at the board and at her (or his) cards, trying to figure out and negotiate the best deal. A bit like Bohnanza.

If you don't have it already, don't wait any longer!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
December 30, 2003

I approached this one somewhat cautiously, in response to all the mention of SO MUCH negotiation. But it turned out that I LOVED the negotiation, and it didn't nearly bog down the game like I thought it would. In fact, it turns out that negotiating IS the game. Take this simple test: when you play Settlers (if you don't, stop now and go play that first), do you consider 'the game' to be a) choosing the right places to build, b) getting lucky with the dice, or c) negotiating the best trades. With a group of experienced players, a) becomes pretty mechanical, b) is out of your control, and c) is what the game is really about. If you agree with that, you will love Traders of Genoa. If not, then you probably haven't played enough Settlers. :-)

The beauty of the negotiations in ToG is that they're all small ones. No (well, let's say very few) big hold ups working on the 'uber trade' like you can see in Settlers, or even Monopoly if you play that way. This game succeeds with gamers as well as the Monopoly crowd, as long as the Monopoly players accept that only the negotiation is the interesting part of Monopoly. Back to the point I was making... the negotiations happen every turn (multiple times per turn, actually), and are so small, that single deals aren't what make or break you (which tends to be case in Settlers when trying to make a sweet play and you don't want to want a whole 'nother round before getting to play again). It's all the negotiations added up which determine the outcome.

Two nice effects: 1) there's very little individual thinking time necessary, i.e. thinking of what you're going to do when it's your turn. 2) It's not obvious who is winning just from looking at the state of the game. Money is kept secret. You *can* gang up and spurn whoever you *think* is winning, but most people don't keep careful enough track, and often it ends up being a surprise who wins after the game is over. With all the money that changed hands during the game, it downright shocked us how close the game ended up, and how far behind the person who we all thought was winning actually was.

The only people I can imagine this not appealing to are people who only play games with no communication necessary (for the actual game play, not just social talk), like Chess, Go, Scrabble, etc.

I wasn't sure whether I would really like a game so heavily based on negotiation. Now I am.

Highly recommended.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.

Show all 22 reviews >

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