Ventura Board Game review
So today I’m writing a review about a game I now have managed to play a few times now and have quite enjoyed. The game is called Ventura.
The box states, 2-4 players and 60 minutes playing time. We have found that it is best played with 4 as this allows the most opportunity for varied strategy. Also as it is a strategy game we wondered how you managed to play a game that looks like complicated risk in an hour, the answer to this is that the way you win is by being the first to score 30 victory points – which is almost annoyingly easy for the first few games as this time limit restrains you to about 15 turns with one person in control of the central territories. We found that this game has a quite high learning curve due to the large quantity of rules you need to even start playing but gladly none of these rules are fairly complicated and during play work together to make the game flow quite nicely.
The game is well presented with the flavour text and images on the cards being top notch and well suited to the theme of 14th century Italy. The illustrations on the terrain hexes are simple and leave room for all the icons representing it’s attributes, the only issue we had with these is that the difference between a city and town – both grey bordered hexes – is on the illustrations and there is no textual way of knowing the difference (See below image that I found online that shows the difference – note that there are only 4 cities, your home city tile). My last issue is that the numbered army counters, thou nicely modelled, make the numbers on them difficult to see in anything except broad daylight without painting the raised numbers white. On the plus side your ‘family’ board doubles as a reference sheet for the phases of the game (which there are a lot) which becomes a much needed aid when learning the game.
The gameplay it’s self is simple enough when you get past the sheer quantity of what you need to know and the number of steps to a turn. In a nutshell (and not quite in order but close to):
- You get points and money based on your board position.
- You get 1 free card or territory to place and then can buy extra cards if you have the cash left.
- You modify your territories if needed (there are 2 troop types, one (the army) consolidates a conquered territory at the end of a round meaning it gives you an income next round, or the other (a company) which consolidates it after the income phase meaning you have to wait 2 rounds to get income after conquering it).
- Deploy new troops by paying the cost and playing the cards on your family board.
- Moving around the board and fighting other players troops.
Not too tricky, but you have about 12 A4 pages of text for all the possible difficulties – it was written by a rules lawyer I’m sure!
An excellent fun game, my recommendation for learning this is allow time for 2 games and one player briefly skims the book in advance (so he/she knows where to look for each bit). To explain the game he/she reads out the phase list, referring to the icons on the family board, giving a brief description of what happens. Then he/she should read out the aim of the game and the “How To Win” section on the last/second to last page, which tells you how to get victory points, briefly cover combat, then go through setup and start playing muddling your way through your first game. Then play a second game which shall be more enjoyable as you know what’s happening.