I’d like to welcome Alex to our writing staff. He’ll be writing reviews of various board games for us. Thanks, Alex!
I recently picked up a copy of “Village” (Link to Boardgamegeek) to add to my collection. Village is published by Eggertspiele games and is currently distributed by Tasty Minstrel Games in the United States. The game won the Kennerspiel Des Jahres for 2012. The game looked interesting to me when I read that your family members would die off over the course of the game causing you to replace them with later generations of workers who would also die off.
I managed to get it to the table this last weekend. I thought the game looked interesting and I was pleasantly surprised that the game also felt very balanced.
Village is a game that plays 2 to 4 players and takes about 60 to 90 minutes to play. The goal of the game is collect as many victory points as possible during the course of the game. Although there are a few ways to score victory points during play, the majority of your points will be scored at the end of the game.
The components of the game include the game board as well as a player board for each of the four players. The player’s game board has a track that runs around the outside that measures time. You also have wooden cubes that represent influence, 44 meeples in the four player colors, and 4 meeples that represent the monks of the church. There are also tiles that represent goods and tiles that represent customers.
Within the game there are two types of currency, time and influence. Influence is gathered during the course of play from taking actions. When a player takes an action they take an influence cube and then perform the action. This can be crafting an item, appointing a family member to the city council, or adding a new meeple to your family. Some of these actions take time to perform. Most actions are performed by only the player who chose to do that action. The exception to this is the market day. Each round there is only one scheduled market day.
When it occurs all players may serve customers who come to the village seeking various goods, starting with the player who chose to start the market day and proceeding clockwise from that player.
When a player serves a customer they return to the bank any goods they sold but keep the customer tile for victory points at the end of the game. Each customer has a value on it that shows how much it is worth in end game scoring. They can range from 3 points to 6 points.
When you’ve consumed enough time you must kill one of your family members. The first to die are your oldest generation members (1st Generation Workers). The first few members that die in each profession get written down in the chronicles. But once the chronicles are full, village members are buried in the churchyard. The game ends when either the cemetery behind the church gets full or the chronicle is full of meeples.
At the end of the game the player with the most meeples in the chronicles gains victory points based on the number of meeples they manage to get into the book.Players also get victory points for traveling to the most cities, serving the most customers at market, having the most meeples on the city council and having the most meeples in the church.
The game was exciting. We all took different strategies. One player focused on traveling. Another player tried to get meeples in the church and getting customers. I tried to get as many spots as I could in the village chronicle. At the end of the game I managed to win by also picking up some customers at the market.
The game never felt slow and I had a fun time. It was not overly complicated. Once you got the hang of taking influence and performing actions it came together really quick. I would recommend the game to anyone looking for something a little bit more challenging to get to the table. I can see why the game won the Kennerspiel Des Jahres. If you want a copy you better move quick though, Tasty Minstrel Games is almost sold out of their copies.
I would recommend this game for anyone who is a fan of worker placement or games or of euro style gameplay. I would not recommend this for players looking for a highly thematic game or for players who mind a player upkeep on their own personal boards. That aspect can seem a bit too fiddly as there are a lot of moving parts to consider here.