Game Talks: Village

image by BGG user vittorioso

Village (Inka Brand/Markus Brand, Pegasus Spiele) is the Kennerspiel des Jahres award winner for 2012 that combines worker placement with time management.  The game plays best with 4 players and is on the heavy side in terms of rules and mechanics (complexity rating of 3.07/5 on BGG). The game is 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.

Presentation at Spiel ’11

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.

  • At the beginning of each round, each location on the board is seeded with various resource cubes.  On your turn, you’ll take a cube from a location and do the action – harvest grain, grow your family, craft goods, visit the market, travel the world, go to the council chamber, visit the church, or throw cubes in the well to take any of those actions.
  • At the end of each round, there will be mass where you have the opportunity to advance family members in the church scoring.  As time wears on, your family members will start to die, and will be either added to the village chronicle or buried in an unmarked grave.  When the village chronicle is filled, or the last unmarked grave is occupied, the game ends and everyone tallies scores.  High score wins.

This is a very intriguing game from start to finish.  There are elements of worker placement as you try to put various people in the right parts of the village, but actions are limited in the number of times they can be taken as you remove cubes from them.  Some of these cubes are plague cubes, which are not good but sometimes necessary to take.  The act of killing off your people as you go is probably what this game is most known for, but the whole is a great experience.

Main random element of this game (and, randomness is really important for replay value) is mostly tied to influence cubes that are put on different actions. This will not dramatically change anyone’s luck, but will definitely change how each game is played. Also, trading tiles are random, and will influence your crafting decisions. Anyway, this game has surprisingly nice replayability.

Check it out if you haven’t had an opportunity.