List Price: $49.95
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(Worth 3,999 Funagain Points!)
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Life in the village is hard – but life here also allows the inhabitants to grow and prosper as they please. One villager might want to become a friar. Another might feel ambitious and strive for a career in public office. A third one might want to seek his luck in distant lands.
Each player will take the reins of a family and have them find fame and glory in many different ways. There is one thing you must not forget, however: Time will not stop for anyone and with time people will vanish. Those who will find themselves immortalized in the village chronicles will bring honor to their family and be one step closer to victory.
The Village is a game full of tactical challenges. A smart and unique new action mechanism is responsible for keeping turns short and yet still tactically rich and full of difficult decisions. Also unique is the way this game deals with the delicate subject of death; as a natural and perpetual part of life in the village, thoughts of death will keep you focused on smart time-management.
Life is hard in the Village....and then you die! But dying is part of an overall winning strategy! Much like sacrificing a pawn or two in a game of chess, Gramps gets worked to the bone, then given what is hoped for a burial and an entry into the annals of Village history.
Each turn, various action spaces are populated with a variety of infamous wooden cubes, representing one's negotiating skills, general skills, faith, etc and...some black ones that inflict the plague upon your family. Each player has a small game board that is the 'farm' but also has the sands of time in hourglass units around the perimeter....time becomes both a commodity and also a limit on the actions of some of your more elderly folks. Each turn, players can take a cube from one of the action spaces, then carry out the action if they choose...one can send someone off to the hinterlands to gain fame, fortune or influence cubes, at a cost of a wagon, some cubes and...some time...each action that consumes time is tracked on the player's board...when the marker goes past the bridge (at the twelve o'clock position), someone must 'check out.' The action can be completed before the funeral begins. One can also reap a harvest, produce a family member (to replace those who have gone on to greener pastures) or summon one back from the town to start plowing the south forty again. In front of the various craft shops, one can spend cubes to buy wagons, plows and 'scrolls' (an official looking document) which are then used to enhance the harvest, provide a means of travel, gain a more influential position in the city hall or become a used (or unused) asset to sell off in the marketplace. At the craft shops, you could instead send a family member to be 'trained' as a blacksmith, and after the training is complete, spend some more time (but not cubes) to build a wagon, a plow or even raise a horse or oxen (these also enhance harvests but can and will be sold at the market later). In front of city hall, one spends time in boring meetings plus some influence to gain the right to be the first player, or grab some cubes, or one of a desirable items like a wagon, ox, horse, etc, or finally, use that age old medium of influence, money, to buy the ever popular fame (victory) points one needs to win the game. At the church, you can toss a family member into 'purgatory' and when a mass is held at a cycle's end (when there are no more cubes to be taken from the board), well, to release said family member from never never land, one can hope he (or she) is drawn by the hand of some deity (actually, an opponent) to stand at one of the church, ready to hopefully move close to said deity by a donation of grain, or, like in real life, an indulgence can be gifted to the church (gold coins!) to buy one's freedom from the netherworld.. (there are four neural black meeples already in the purgatory bag, and since only 4 meeples are drawn prior to mass, one's chances of being raised from the semi-dead is modest (and there may be other family members stuffed in the bag as well)...at the market place, unused or over used horses, plows, oxen or moldy grain can be sold...whoever enters the market first gets to sell without commision; others in turn must pay an influence cube (negotiation!) and spend a bit of time haggling in order to consumate the sale.
There are limited spots in the most favored burial sites, allocated to each of the five areas on the board (farm, travel, city hall, craft halls and the church) and if by chance or poor decision making, one of your less fortunate sons, daughters or grandparents is too busy hammering out a wagon before the heart attack occurs, one could be buried in 'Potter's Field'...a handful of unmarked graves that bring no fame (and thus, no victory points) to a family.
At game's end, the ever popular 'who's got the most in each place' scoring takes place, with bonuses paid for having the most family members lying in rest in the favored cemetery plots, for having others nearer to the altar in the church, for traveling to the most cities and exerting the most influence at city hall...and your unspent coins can be converted 1 for 1 into VPs.
Strategical dying is the key to long term success in the Village...and the banter that flows around the table as poor grandpa staggers home from the fields only to suffer an untimely demise before dinner.
The Village scales reasonably well from 2-4, though playing with a foursome means careful choices must be made at every time in order to make the most efficient use of time and cubes.
A truly amusing game, with a novel mechanic, the Village deserves a spot on one's game shelf. Easy to teach, plays in about 45-90 minutes (2-4 players) and generates loads of laughs.
There is an expansion on the horizon, The Inn, which apparently will add a brewery, a hotel and a cast of influential townfolks who can help you get ahead...can't wait to add this to an already excellent and enjoyable game.