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The Traders of Genoa
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The Traders of Genoa

#6 ALBS, English language edition of Die Händler von Genua

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Product Awards:  

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

Designer(s): Rudiger Dorn

Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Alea

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Product Description

The players take the roles of traders in Genoa. They fulfill orders, deliver messages, and take ownership of important buildings in the city. Of course, this is not possible without the help of the other traders. And that can cost money... and other valuable goods!

The game takes 7 to 12 rounds, depending on the number of players. In each round, each player takes one turn. On his turn, a player may move the trader tower through Genoa. By moving the tower, the players may visit up to 5 spaces, most of them buildings. In each building, specific actions may be taken. On a player's turn, he may take only one of the five possible actions. But, he can sell the other actions, at a reasonable profit of course, to the other players. If he sets the price too high, the other players will refuse to buy and the actions will remain undone. If he sets the price too low, the other players will rejoice and he will lose possible profits.

Through skilled negotiations, the players try to get the actions that will bring them the orders and messages they want, and then they will try to fulfill or deliver them quickly. Clever players will also find that the ownership of buildings and special cards can be very important.

At game end, the player with the most ducats is the winner!

Difficulty: 5/10

Product Awards

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

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Rudiger Dorn

  • Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Alea

  • Artist(s): Franz Vohwinkel

  • Year: 2001

  • Players: 2 - 5

  • Time: 60 - 120 minutes

  • Ages: 12 and up

  • Weight: 906 grams

  • All-Time Sales Rank: #173

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item.


  • 1 game board
  • 40 ware markers (5 each in 8 colors)
  • 60 game cards:
    • 16 large Order
    • 16 small Order
    • 14 Message
    • 14 Privilege
  • 80 bank notes
  • 35 special markers
  • 28 special cards
  • 5 Trader Tower discs
  • 1 round marker
  • 2 8-sided dice

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.8 in 22 reviews

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!

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.

Interesting game with unique features
November 07, 2003

Game can be played seriously or lightly.

The tower movement mechanism is very unique.

Playing time is not very long, compared to older negotiation style games.

Very hard to know or figure out what a fair trade is.

The two player version of the game is pretty decent.

I like negotiation games and this is one of the best out there. Even my wife likes to play this game.

Show all 22 reviews >

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