Venice came alive for me on 25 March 2021.
1600 years after the city was first founded, and almost a year to the day that we were due to have arrived in La Serenissima ourselves. But with the Pandemic changing everything, our own travel plans to visit the sights and smells of the Floating City (and other places) were unavoidably cancelled.
I have no doubt that we will resume our plans to tour the waterways one day. But for now, I can cruise the canals courtesy of designers David Turczi and Andrei Novac, and publisher Braincrack Games through their latest Eurogame release, Venice.
Queen’s Gambit Gearing Up!
Before I begin, however, I think I had better give a little more context to this piece, as it is not a straightforward review.
You see, anybody who knows me will be acutely aware that I am extremely patience-challenged.
Waiting is not my natural state. Shop queues, traffic jams, even being processed through the IKEA showroom; the glacial crawl is just too much (or too little!) for me. Good news, bad news. It doesn’t matter. I just need to know now. I need to react and I need to act. Time waits for no woman, and I am never in the mood to see-what-happens.
And so, a week prior to its official retail launch, I downloaded the rules for Venice. Looking up at my ceiling at midnight whilst lying in my pillow palace (the only time I allow myself the luxury of going horizontal), I tuned out the rhythmic snoring of my Bearded Moon bed-fellow and dived in!
Ignoring the complete lack of actual components to parse, I just wanted to skip over the wait and start playing. And with the entire 12am – 5am slot available to me and my imagination, I doffed my merchant garb and (along with two other make-believe mongers) went paddling, stalling, racing, and sailing around the imaginary board.
Over the next few hours, I worked my way up and down the narrow canals, collecting goods, activating assistants, and completing missions along my way. I won, of course 😉
If you haven’t already, you can read my Queen’s Gambit inspired experience in full here, and, having now played the actual game with Bearded Moon and our brilliant bubble sharing mother-in-law, I feel like many of my preliminary predictions were pretty on ponte.
Without doubt Venice is a beautiful pick up and deliver game weaving together other big mechanics in the form of resource management and engine building. It also dangles the possibility of linking multiple actions/bonuses together in one turn which is not always the case in this type of game (and one of the reasons why pick up and deliver isn’t often my favourite mechanic).
And for me, knowing that there are ways to earn even a little bit more money that will let me sail around the board faster, hitting up more buildings, activating more assistants and their bonuses, and achieving more missions as the game progresses makes it feel like there is always the potential for something interesting or different to be done in this game.