Ventura title
Ventura cards

In an age of great battles, valiant leaders, and unscrupulous mercenary armies, fortune lies within your grasp.

Ventura is a board game of nobility and conquest for 2-4 players. Set in 14th century Italy, Ventura puts players in control of warring noble houses, each vying for control of the countries growing wealth.

Balance your house’s earnings and maintain your hired soldiers to keep your family’s noble standing. Remember, the best armies are also the ones that cost the most!

With more than 120 plastic pieces, 40 Territory tiles, 4 Family Boards, a scoring board, and over 100 cards, Ventura will whisk players into a world of warring mercenaries and noble families, all seeking control of Italy’s burgeoning wealth.

How will you spend your fortune?

Ventura game in play
images © Fantasy Flight Games

User Reviews (3)

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8
30 of 31 gamers found this helpful
“Mixed feelings”

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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Amateur Reviewer
8
38 of 40 gamers found this helpful
“InD20 Group Review of Ventura”

Ventura is a very refreshing game that has a lot to bring to the table. Easy mechanics with a subtlety that only really starts to come around after playing for a while. Choices early on can have a huge impact in late game and the game flows very nicely.
Components and Shinies

This game has beautiful components. The hexes bring a nice euro feel with the relatively simple symbology and the cards are fairly effective. The quality of the domain markers and company/army tokens are absolutely stunning. Mixing these pieces with Cards and Hex Tiles gives a lot of positive reinforcements with a gamer who likes tabletop War-games, Settlers of Catan, and Magic.

Component Quality

Heavy tiles, sturdy cards, and hard plastic tokens and markers. The part that really left me unimpressed here (which isn’t a big deal) is the inlay in the box. The interior of the box could have been made to separate the components better in my opinion. Try flipping the insert upset down and reseating the pieces.

Playability and Re-playability

Given the fact that players have so many options throughout the game, strategies are going to differ vastly from play to play. Ultimately, I believe the game is one that is very easy to get into or learn, but will take a long time to master. If you play in a dedicated group and play this game often you will start to learn what strategies and techniques people like to use. Then you will have to start to diversify your own strategy to win the game.

Overall

This is not your standard run of the mill game. It’s definitely a thinking person’s game. Lots to do and lots to think about during the game make this a sure thing. I feel the game was well thought out and Fantasy Flight Games has a hit on their hands. In the plays that we have seen of this game there has not been any obvious mistakes made in development that break this game. Not only that the door is left open for future expansions that may add new cards or tiles. All in all- a very good 2, 3 or 4 person game.

Larry Fettinger and InD20 Group approve this review with 8 out of 10

 
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1
8
10 of 23 gamers found this helpful
“Fun But Tricky”

We’ve played this a few times now, as mentioned elsewhere the most glaring oversight in the game is the construction of the numbered pieces and the need to paint the numbers white. Otherwise we are still starting to realise how strategic this game is, yes you only have one chance for essentially one strategy run as the game is so short. We have to play it several times to get all the strategy, and quite often it can be difficult to plan ahead correctly due to the number of steps in a turn.

Thinking about it a bit more I think this game plays fairly similarly to Agricola except that you can actively affect another player but still have to plan ahead with respect to your opponents.

What I like most about this game is how deceptively balanced it is, not that it is unbalanced, but that it seems unbalanced as the game is played and examined in each small part but when you start to consider the game as a whole you realise just how well balanced it all is.

See my blog for my full review (It’s a lot longer and more detailed): http://wp.me/pXLGE-3s

 

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