Review: Villages of Valeria

Designer:   Rick Holzgrafe, Isaias Vallejo
Year: 2016
Publisher:  Daily Magic Games
Players: 1-5
Game Type: Card Drafting, Hand Management

Villages of Valeria is a stand alone game set in the world of Valeria and takes place just before the hordes of monsters invade the kingdom in Valeria: Card Kingdoms. The Kingdom has been established and the King is looking for the greatest Village to name the next capital city of Valeria. In order to accomplish this, you'll have to outwit your fellow Baron's by selecting the best actions and making sure to follow your opponents actions as best you can.

An average setup time is roughly 2-5 minutes. You need to sort cards into 2 piles, choose your castle, grab your gold, deal your starting hand and then you can be off and running.
What is in the box.

In Villages of Valeria you goal is to build your Village/Kingdom and have the most victory points at the end of the game. You will do this through 5 different actions. You can Harvest, which will allow you draw 3 cards to add to you hand. You can Develop which will allow you to gain a resource. You can build, by using your gold and resources to add another building to your Village. You can Recruit, and add an Adventurer to your Village if you have the correct buildings in place to bring them in. The final action you can take is Tax, where you collect 1 gold.

The unique thing about Villages of Valeria is how players have the option to Follow the starting player (on that turns) action. If you choose to follow, you don't get the same advantage as going first, but you still get to do something on the other players turn. For example, if the lead player chooses to Harvest and draw 3 cards, you can follow and you will be allowed to draw 1 card. So each action has a follow involved with it.

Play will continue until a set number, based on the number of players, of Buildings or Adventurers is reached. Players will then total up their victory points to determine the winner.

Solo play in Villages is similar except for the main fact that there is no follow action. You will also be on a timer of sorts. You start the green Villages deck with only 35 cards. From that you take a starting hand of 8 cards, and when the draw pile runs out of cards, the game is over. So when you Harvest, by taking 3 cards, a face up building into your hand or drawing from the draw pile, you are quickly racing towards the end of the game.

Solo setup
Just like when playing against others, at the end you will tally up your victory points and then look at a chart in the rule book to see how you did. With an average game play of 20-30 minutes, it's easy to reset and then go at it again to see if you can better your score.

First of all, I have ONLY played this game solo. So I don't know how fun it is to use the follow action, but I am assuming it's great. Maybe I want to Develop, but you chose to develop, so now I can recruit. But this must be known, this game is deceiving. It's cruel, it's mean... here I am on my first play, thinking it's simple, I'm racking up all these points, I'm all smiles while totaling it all up and I end up a One Horse Town, second to worst. WHAT!? So I play again... same results. Damn, now I gotta think harder, strategize better... oh yay, I moved up to the third lowest level. I freaking love the personal challenge that I'm setting here to always better myself. That is why this game is so much fun solo. Quick setup, fast play, realize I suck... play again, play again... cry. Oh, also quick mention... small box, won't take up much shelf space at all.

Mid game play area.

4.75 out of 5 Solo's

* Personally challenging.
* Beautiful artwork.
* Good replay value solo.

* Might get boring for some, but not me.
* I really can't think of any.

Game Soundtrack Sponsored by Metal Blade Records: 
Below - "On a Pale Horse"
Dan Royer Dan Royer Author