Friday, February 13, 2015

In Village, Death is all Part of the Game

If you were to take the Game of Life, set it in the middle ages and turn it *Euro, you might end up with something like Village. The family members in Village marry and give birth, choose various occupations, take trips to the market and go on journeys, just as they do in the Game of Life. However, they also die. Now that doesn't happen in Hasbro land.  

The idea of death as part of the game was what enticed me to buy Village. Even more intriguing, death is not a bad thing. In fact, players sometimes race to kill off a family member so as to score a resting place in the coveted village chronicle, where a player earns prestige points by having the loved ones registered there.

Here's the chronicle at game's end, full of tiny deceased villagers.

Another interesting thing is the game's mechanics. You don't just hop from square to square, you choose what you will do.

Here's the board after set up.
If you look closely you'll see small, colored cubes placed at various locations on the board. These are influence cubes. If, on your turn, you decide to travel, for instance, you take a cube near the travel section and place it on your farmyard. (Small board near the larger one). The influence cubes you collect will then be used to perform other actions in the future. The black ones are plague cubes. Death creeps a little closer for one of your family members every time you have to take one of those.

So, cool features aside, the bigger question looms--is it fun? Jeff and Alison's family thinks so. The rest of the crew has yet to play it, but we think they'll agree because it has many of the features we all enjoy. Be warned, though, the learning curve is a bit steep. Because there are so many choices of things you can do, it's sometimes hard to decide what's best to do. But that's life, right?

Given the choice between the Game of Life and Village, I'd pick Village every time. Even if I have to die to play it.

# Players . . . 2-4
Game time . . . . . . . . 60-90 minutes
Set up . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 minutes
Luck . . . . . . .  .  8 . . . Strategy
*Interplay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Visual Appeal . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Component Quality . .. . . . . 9
*Replayability . . . . . . . . . . . 8

*See "How we Rate" for a definition.

*For an explanation of Euro-style games, see this post.

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