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Trieste Review

Quick Look:

 Designer: Matthew Ma
Artists: Clark Miller
Publisher: Victory Point Games
Year Published: 2013
No. of Players: 3
Ages: 13+
Playing Time: 20-30 Minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

"The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be." - Lao Tzu
The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be. Lao Tzu
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/thieves
The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be. Lao Tzu
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/thieves
The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be. Lao Tzu
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/lao_tzu_137142?src=t_thieves

From the publisher:
Trieste, from designer Matthew Ma, is a boxed card game in which three players take on the roles of Thief, Merchant, or City Watch. Each character has its own unique deck and victory conditions. Turns are played out simultaneously, with each player selecting an action without knowing those chosen by opponents.

The City Watch player levies taxes on the Merchant and patrols the streets for the Thief, looking to fill the city's jail with ne'er-do-wells. Players in the role of the Merchant are out to cut deals and line their coffers in a quest for untold riches. Like the Thief, that player is attempting to pilfer coins from the Merchant, while earning infamy and the respect of the secretive Foxtail Gang.

The coastal city of Trieste is a flurry of trade and activity, but where there's power, there are always those who will compete to grab as much of it as they can. Conflict erupts in the streets, shops, and back alleys. Only one can truly rule Trieste. Will it be you?


This game has something that I do not often see: three players only. Not two, or four. It reminds me of Monty Python and the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch. "Then, shalt thou count to three. No more. No less. Three shalt be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, nor either count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out."


Rules and Setup:
Separate the three faction decks (thief is red, merchant is green and city guard is blue) and the treasure deck. Set aside the 3 heroes for each deck (they are for advanced play). Also set aside the victory condition card for each deck and then proceed to shuffle the decks (33 cards for each deck). Take six copper treasure cards out and shuffle the remaining treasure cards. Each player then chooses a faction. Each player takes to copper cards and two cards from their deck to form the starting hand of four cards. Be the first player to complete their victory condition.

  • Hand management   
  • Simultaneous action selection  
  • Take-that
  • Variable 
  • Player powers
Game Play:
The turn order is always city guard (blue), merchant (green), and thief (red).

The game has five phases:

Draw Phase:
Draw two cards. Each card can be either from your faction deck or the treasure deck and can be taken one at a time.

Play Phase:
Choose a card from your hand and play it face down. You can perform a character action on treasure cards (copper and silver only).

Payment Phase:
In turn order, reveal the face-down card and pay the cost of the card (if any) to a discard pile next to the treasure deck. If you cannot pay the cost, you must reveal your hand, and the card does not count.

Effect Phase:
Resolve the effects of your character or action card and discard it. If, instead, you played a copper or silver treasure card, draw treasure equal to the played cards (copper =1, silver =2).

End Phase:
In turn order, check to see if you meet your victory condition. If not, you may buy back and love 1+ character cards in your discard pile by paying the cost and returning the card(s) to your hand.

Artwork and Components:
Cards are the only component and are a decent thickness. However, I would recommend sleeving them. The art is spot on for the time period. The characters are all particular to the faction and are drawn in such a way that you feel like they belong in that deck. The city guards look honorable, the thieves look treacherous, and the merchants seem shady. I also really love how the coins are implemented into the gameplay as cards and not separate coins.

The Good:
The game plays quickly but is still very strategic. Each deck plays completely different than the others, and this adds to repeatability. Also having three separate victory conditions adds an extra layer to the strategy.

The Bad:
You have to play this game at three players. This will be an issue for some players. Also, the deck is preset, so if you're big on custom deck building this may be a no-go for you.

Final Thoughts:
Seriously, where has this game been all my life! I can't believe it took me so long to find it. My main group is three so this game will hands-down be our filler or starter game for every session moving forward. There are tons of decisions to be made during the course of the game. For example, when you play the city guard, you want to capture the thieves and get your victory condition as fast as you can, but if you do that, the merchant will win almost every single time, so you have to look the other way a few times to make sure that the thief can steal from the merchant. Now, with any game of this nature if someone draws the right hand early they can run away with it fairly quickly, but I found that rarely to be the case. Once you get familiar with the decks and what potential special cards your opponents could have, you will be able to better plan out a winning strategy...or will you?

Players Who Like:
Separate win conditions, clever fillers, a hefty amount of take-that.

Check out Trieste on:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/148291/trieste   https://www.victorypointgames.com/trieste/   https://www.facebook.com/VictoryPointGames/   https://twitter.com/vpgame?lang=en   https://www.instagram.com/victorypointgames/?hl=en   https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLzQFno63BDfMNWYUQfMLdw   https://www.amazon.com/Trieste-Three-Player-Boxed-Card-Game/dp/B00FJ5TSG8   

James is a child of the 80's he grew playing D&D and Stratego. He currently owns more games than his understanding wife of 20+ years thinks he should. James lives in Buffalo, New York with his previously mentioned wife, 2 teenage kids and one Havanese dog. Also, if someone outside of Buffalo says they serve buffalo wings, they are lying.
Trieste Review Trieste Review Reviewed by James Freeman on October 24, 2018 Rating: 5

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