Watch out literature fans, Crash Games brings us a reprise of Shakespeare’s most famous work. This time around, players are transported to “fair Verona, where we lay our scene,” in Council of Verona. This 2-5 player game teleports players back to the city most famous for hosting the tragic romance duo, Romeo and Juliet. If you are looking for an engaging game at an affordable price, this is a great option. Crash Games delivers a dynamic strategy game, complete with duplicity, theft, murder, and general epic scheminess.
The most straightforward and core mechanic of play is the “deck” of cards. Players are each dealt one card. Then the deck is passed from the first player (the person who has most recently been on a balcony) in a clockwise motion, each player taking one card until everyone has the appropriate number of cards. The number varies based on how many players you have. The players are then given the task of deciding who is in charge of Verona. Each player places their character card (one each turn) on the council, or exiles them from Verona. Then the player can place an influence token (again, one per turn), which we will go into in a moment. The overall goal is to get points.
Players attempt to complete their goals while preventing their opponents from completing their own. Players place “Influence Tokens” on the characters, which gains them credit if that character’s goal is met. But watch out, strategists–some influence tokens are actually decoys! This means that players who try to complete goals under the assumption that someone else may help them can be harshly disappointed when they find that their goal isn’t met–and that they wasted their limited influence points. Points are awarded for influential characters who have met their goal. Each player who has played an influence token on that character card gets the number of points indicated by the influence token, +/- any modifiers.
Standard goals include Romeo and Juliet’s combined goal of ending up together, while Rosaline’s goal is for Romeo and Juliet to be separated. Lords Capulet and Montague each have a goal of their household being in control. Other ancillary characters like Benvolio or Tibalt grant powers which benefit the player, and affect the entire play field–including moving characters or influence tokens! This means that attacks and defenses are made blindly, without knowledge of whom you may be thwarting or helping in the process of attaining your goal.
The suggested age is 13+, but I would strongly suggest that players have experience with abstract strategy, as these skills are key to ensuring success. The art and style of this game totally blow expectations out of the water. The 17 characters each have thematic and dramatic art, appropriately depicting the disposition of the characters. And there is not enough good that can be said for the quality of the construction. Crash Games has become synonymous with quality pieces and packaging. I can stack as many games as I want on top of Crash Games boxes without fear of buckling or cracking. I also know that if I let my kids play with my games, I don’t have to worry about them coming back as sad, mistreated, and generally wimpy victims of eager play.
Our gaming group got together to play Council of Verona, and we had great laughs. We especially enjoyed playing with the alternate zombie art and Poison expansion, which bring a bit more morbidity to the game. I would definitely recommend this game. At $15, Council of Verona is an excellent example of a Kickstarter campaign done right, and is easy on the budget.
Rory received a copy of Council of Verona for review purposes.