This week’s backpack pick is Council of Verona from Crash Games.
Designer Michael Eskue invites us into the world of Romeo and Juliet in this entertaining little card game. The main objective is to gain the most influence points by manipulating cards in order to complete your hidden agenda. The game is for 2-5 players and can be played is about 30 minutes or so. There are not a lot of cards in this game so setup is very quick. There are separate rules two-player games vs. three to five player games. There are also variant rule options including pub rules and there is even a Poison expansion available as well.
Council of Verona is set in the world of Romeo and Juliet with the two rival families The Montagues and the Capulets being present in the game. There are also some neutral characters making their appearance as well. Players take on the role of citizens of Verona, under the order of Prince Escalus to work to either add characters to the Council in Verona or exile them from the land in order to mediate the conflict between the rival families and bring peace to the land. This game employs a card drafting mechanic and the main elements of the game are bluffing and deduction.
A round takes place like this: For a normal 3+ player game, each player is randomly dealt on card. The first player then takes the remaining cards, chooses one to keep and then passes the remaining cards clockwise. Each player will continue to do this, selecting cards and passing them clockwise until the last player receives the remaining 2 cards. That player selects one card to keep and discards the other as it won’t be used in the game. Once the cards have been selected, place the Council and Exile cards on the table in the center to form the playing area in the shape of a T.
On a player’s turn each player will play one card, placing it into either the Council or Exile. If the card has an ability, you have the option to use the ability on that card as you play it. Other cards have Agendas on them. This is how you can score points. You can wager influence points by placing an influence token onto an agenda card on one of the open circle spaces. The numbers next to the circles represent point modifiers for end of game scoring. All cards that have been played either into the Council or Exile, become accessible to all players, meaning they can be moved around by card abilities, and can have influence tokens placed on them. Placing influence tokens is optional, and they are placed face down.
Once all cards have been played and the last player takes their turn, players have one final influence token, in turn order, if they have one remaining. Unused influence tokens have no point value. Next, all of the agendas on the character cards in play are evaluated to see if their condition is met. Any characters cards have agenda conditions that are not met, any influence tokens placed on them are discarded. The influence cards that have agendas that are met, are scored at the value of the influence token +/- any modifiers on that space.
The player with the most influence wins. In the case of a tie, the win goes to the person who had the earlier turn order.
This is a nice fun, light game that includes, card drafting, some wagering, and some bluffing as well. The mechanics of the game allow for a nice level of tension and excitement as card abilities are used to shift characters between the Council and Exile. The game has a very casual feel to it and it is perfect for couples all the way up to 5 people to play as well. The fact that it has a variant for pub play, makes this a perfect game to bring along there. With a short playing time, this game can be enjoyed at school during lunch or in a period between classes, or in the workplace with co-workers during lunch. The ease of play and simple rules, makes this game easy to learn and teach and can get even your non-gaming friends involved. #backpackpick