Saturday, October 4, 2014

Villagers & Villains - A Mayoral Review

Hi everybody!

As usual I took Friday off for game day with the group, but today we get back on track with a brand new review.

Today I am going to talk about a city-building card game called Villagers & Villains by C. Aaron Kreader. It is a blend of city management, villain fighting, and luck of the dice all in order to make the best village you can.
Little Box
Villagers & Villains has a quick setup. The deck of cards is shuffled and 6 cards are laid out next to it. These cards can be a mixture of the different card types; Citizens, Challenges, Buildings, and Heroes. The cards fulfill different objectives. Citizens provide the player with money each turn as well as some special abilities. They are also worth a certain amount of points for the end of the game when you total up to see who made the best village. Buildings are similar to Citizens with the exception that buildings don't bring in any money. Buildings can be paired with Citizens in order to score more points. Pairing the cards is labeled at the bottom of the cards, this will tell you what you need in order to score bonus pairing points.
Starting Hand
Challenges give players something to fight against. These cards steal money and cause problems, but if you can defeat them you will gain some benefit, money, and points for the game's end. Heroes, on the other hand, help defend your village against the villains and challenges. Each player also starts the game with a Deputy Mayor and Angry Mob cards in hand. The Deputy Mayor helps you get the village going by providing giving you an easy to play source of income while the Angry Mob will help you defeat a challenge. The problem with the Angry Mob is you only get one and if you use it, you lose it. If you hold on to the Angry Mob it turns into 3 points at the end of the game. Now, players need to acquire more cards for the village. There are 6 laid out on the board, at the start of the round, in turn order, the players pick a card 1 through 6 and roll a 6-sided die. If the number they roll is equal too or greater than the number they picked the card goes into their hand, if it is a Challenge card it goes immediately to their Village in front of them. If the roll is less than the number called the player obtains the card in the first position. Once a card is taken, the cards slide down to the lowest spot and a new card is laid out. After this the players can play cards, fight challenges, use abilities, and collect money.
Typical Looking Village
There is also a King's Favor token (the black token on the card on the right). The rules say to use this for "Advanced Games," but the rule isn't hard and should technically be part of the standard game. At the start of the round the first player rolls the 6-sided die, whatever number it says is the card you place the King's Favor token on. If a player gets that card and the token, he can use the token at any point during the round for different benefits like earning more money or adding points to your die roll against a challenge, etc. The game goes on until a player's village has a certain number of cards (the goal is different depending on how many players there are), then the points are totaled and the best village wins.
All The Parts

The game is also a quick play at about 30 minutes (45ish if playing with max players) and can support 2-5 people.

Villagers & Villains has cartoony artwork, but it really works for this kind of game. The pictures and card names can be amusing as well as depict some fantasy conventions. The game also packs in a lot of variety, you will be hard pressed to see the same cards over and over again considering the base game comes with 100 village cards.
There are a couple of issues I have with the game production. The rules are flimsy and as I said earlier, the Advanced Game is easy enough that it should just be part of the Standard Game rules. The other thing is I always prefer a scoring track instead of score pads. I find score pads to just be annoying and take up more box space than needed. That's really it as far as my complaints go. I mean, I don't like the small die that is with the game, but that is easy enough to just replace without any other thought to it.

The game plays very well from 2 to 4 players, I haven't had a chance to try out a 5 player game, but I don't think I would like to go to the max.
Everyday I'm Hustling
I bought Villagers & Villains on a whim. It was something that seemed interesting to me after hearing a little talk of it on The Dice Tower, so I decided to give it a buy. The game is very good, easy to learn and easy to play. I really couldn't get enough of it. I've cooled off a bit on it now, but it remains a solid, fun card game.

I'm giving it a good recommendation along with its mini-expansion, The Borderlands, which adds 22 new cards. If you are a fan of city-building, lots of points, and variety - you may also want to check out Villagers & Villains. Give it a look.

Thank you all again for reading Daemonic Teutonic. As always, I hope you enjoy the review.

Cheers,
Phil

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