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Tiu Vlad

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30 out of 31 gamers thought this was helpful

First of all, Ventura is not as complex as it is said to be. Sure, the hexagonal board system and the truly great variety of cards help, but when I bought it from the shop, the vendor told me this game has both a military part AND a strategic, resource management part. Truth be told, it hardly does. This is a war game, period.

The few reviews that are available online always mention how wonderful the components are. But the army and troop markers have numbers on them, numbers that are important, and they are virtually invisible when you unbox them. Four colors are available: blue, yellow, red, black. On three of them, you can just grab your black marker and be done with it. But what about the black pieces? Not everybody has white paint just lying around the house…

And yes, they are nice, but they are hollow inside, at least the territory markers. Wood pieces or full plastic ones would’ve been appreciated more. I mean… they’re nice, but not that great.

When we first started the game, the game gave us a really positive feedback. The player’s board (family board) has some small sketches that remind you what step comes next, the battle boards fit perfectly over your board so you don’t always have to clear up a section of the table when a battle occurs… And all in all, all the steps seem rather logical.

Now, the manual says its a 90 minutes game, so being the first time we were playing it and hearing about how “complex it is”, we were expecting a 2-3 hours games.
Problem is, it was done in an hour. One player got a small army, attacked the undefended city of another player, and that was it. Game over.

We thought it was because of our lack of experience, but the second time we played, same thing happened. And even if it wouldn’t have happened, all 3 players had 25-30 victory points, meaning the game was going to end that turn either way, and it was turn 5 or six…

My point is that the game seems a couple of fine tweaks away from being a truly great game. I feel that some rules are missing, and so there are ways to cut corners, there are moments where it is to easy.
Another thing that I find weird is that you can buy victory points at the beginning of the turn, and for 5 florins you will get 7 VP. This is a game that ends at 30 VP! And 5 florins are easy to get by.

Another thing that I find annoying is that players have to be of REALLY appropriate values and level of experience. Otherwise you risk having the game end in turn 3-4, and there is really no fun in that.
Last but not least, it’s just a 4 players game. Granted, this can also be a good thing, but seeing how most games give you a maximum of 5, some will find this as a drag as well.

All these being said, in a couple of hours I’m seeing my friends for a game of… Ventura. It really is a great game, and I’m not sure how, but they do manage to give you the medieval-Europe feeling. The armies are great, there are interesting event-cards that randomly mess up your plan… And you can always add 2-3 extra rules that you see fit and balance the game.

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