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Valeria: Card Kingdoms Review



Quick Look:

Info:
Designer: Isaias Vallejo
Artists: Mihajlo Dimitriebski
Publisher: Daily Magic Games
Year Published: 2016
No. of Players: 1-5
Ages: 13+
Playing Time: 30-45 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

Isaias served in the US Marine Corps, and after his service went to technical school for digital video production and 3D animation. With desires to get into the video game industry he moved to Seattle and got a job at Big Fish Games doing graphics for their website and newsletter. One thing led to another and Isaias helped develop many companies from 2-3 people into 300 professionals. He wanted this for himself and started designing his own board games. Isaias calls himself a tinkerer and loves thinking how games are made to help with his own game design. Isaias is very proud of Valeria: Card Kingdoms and has been blown away from the support everyone has given toward the game.

Review:


Rules and Setup:
To setup you will started by choosing the cards you want to use and play with. The monster cards, citizen cards, and domain cards all can be cycled through play during different play times to helps with variety. There are 8 different locations for monster cards to come from. To setup, you will choose from 5 different locations and leave 3 in the box. You will organize the monsters to face the weakest on top with the strongest on the bottom. You will place them side by side, and will be on top of the other cards. The citizen cards will be set up below the monster cards and you will choose to have 1 type of citizen for each number and place them in separate stacks. Randomly shuffle the domain cards, deal 2 face down cards on 5 stacks and place 1 face up card on top of each stack. Each player starts with starting citizen cards, 2 duke cards (pick one), and reference cards.



The starting player will roll the dice and will look to see if any of the citizen cards match the numbers rolled individually and the combination of the 2 numbers. If there is a citizen of that card, you receive resource tokens depending on if you rolled the dice or if someone else rolled the dice. You then will take 2 actions and the next player will then have their turn.

The game can end in many ways. You will have twice as many exhausted cards as there are players. If these all are placed when the citizen cards run out, the game will end. If all the monsters are killed, the game ends. If all the domain cards are taken, the game ends. Players will count their points from the monsters they killed, the domain cards they have, and points from their duke card. The player with the highest amount of points wins.

The rules are very well written. The hardest thing to understand are the rewards on the domain cards since you don't use them all the time. I had a hard time finding an explanation to some of the cards, but found answers on boardgamegeek.com. All the citizen and monster cards are pretty straight forward, and easy to understand. Setup can take some extra time to do as you need to decide which cards to use and then make sure you have the correct number of cards. The game comes with tabs that make this easier, but still takes time to setup. When deciding on which types of cards to use when playing can also set a delay, unless someone just decides themselves when setting up.



Theme and Mechanics:
Isaias Vallejo has made many games involving the story of Valeria. It's one that should be known to every fantasy board gamer. Valeria needs a new ruler, as the king has become old and needs a new heir. As a duke, you will need to gain power, respect, and wealth to protect the kingdom and obtain the throne as the new ruler. Your plan in doing so is to acquire more domains and hire citizens that will help you fight off monsters and secure the borders of Valeria.


This is a fantasy card game that uses a pair of dice similar to Machi Koro or Catan. Using card drafting and pool building, you start with 2 cards and slowly with time grow your citizen pile into a larger following that allows you to receive more and more resources during each dice roll. This game does something that those other games mentioned don't, and that is it keeps the players interested in the game even when it's not their turn, as they get to collect resources during everyone's turn and have enough to spend when it is their turn. There seems to be a low probability that you can not do a meaningful action on your turn, and if that does happen, it will probably be near the beginning of the game. For this reason one of the actions allows you to draw a resource of your choice as well.

The mechanics mesh together very nicely, that you can plan and develop your own path to become the best duke and gain the throne of Valeria. The dice roll does add some luck to game play, but as you acquire more citizens it seems to not stall the game especially because you add the dice together to have another chance to draw resources.




Artwork and Components:
The game comes with standard sized cards that you would expect in a card game. They included 32 dividers to help separate the cards and make setup easier and faster. The dividers are color coordinated as well to help organize the game. The insert was planned to make room for future expansions, and there are expansions available right now. There seems to be room for more cards, as well as space for some more dice, and space for whatever else might be included in future expansions. The dice fit the art that is used in the game, and uses the same font type. The resources used are made of wood. There always seemed to be enough resources to use every time I have played the game. If needed, they have tokens that work as multipliers for a resource. The art is very good and helps the game connect with the theme.





The Good:
The duke cards really help guide you in what to do. The reference cards are amazing and make it easy to teach and learn when playing for the first time. The game has high replay-ability. This game takes so many mechanics used in good games, and makes them better. The dice are used in a way to minimize luck.

The Bad:
The time to setup and put away is longer than I would like. If you don't take the time to put it away correctly, it will take even longer to setup next time.

Final Thoughts:
I'm not sure how this game missed my radar and didn't get to me sooner. I very much love playing this game. You have the option to just focus on your own plan and not worry too much about the other players, or you can see what their plan is and try to change yours to a better strategy due to what they are doing.

Players Who Like:
I would recommend this game to players who like deck building (even though this game isn't a deck builder), fantasy, and card games. If you like Dominion, Splendor, Machi Koro, Catan, or 7 Wonder Duel you will like Valeria: Card Kingdoms.


I am giving Valeria: Card Kingdoms a 9 out of 10 super meeples.

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Check out Valeria: Card Kingdoms on:

        


About the Author:
Brody Sheard played board games with his large family growing up. He continues his love of games by teaching his family, local gaming guild, and friends about new and exciting games. Brody believes that board gaming keeps your mind healthy while also having fun interacting with others.
Valeria: Card Kingdoms Review Valeria: Card Kingdoms Review Reviewed by Dane Trimble on September 07, 2017 Rating: 5

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