Designer: Stefano Groppi
Publisher: Placentia Game
Duration: 60 minutes
Review by Andrea “Liga” Ligabue with 5 games played with a review copy from the publisher
[ypu can find Placentia Games in Essen Booth 1-D108]
It Is quite common nowadays to have card or dice version of standard boardgames. There is both an economic factor, dice and cards cost much more less than boards, wood and plastics, and a target factor, usually cards and dice game are simpler and quicker and can interest a wider audience.
I was really good impressed by Florenza, released 2 years ago by a new Italian publisher, Placentia Game. The game was deep and interesting, with nice material and great illustrations, aimed to hardcore gamers. The boardgame, according to my opinion, was just a bit too long and there was too much luck in some situations for a game of that kind, but was a great beginning for a new publisher. Last year Ark & Noah, a very nice family game and this year Florenza: The Card Game.
Florenza the Card Game inherits almost all from his father: the art, he setting and also part of the mechanic. Players are the heads of the most powerful families in Florence during the Reinassance period. They will get prestige building monuments, hiring Artists and improving their part of the city (Rione).
The game is totally language independent and all the artists and monuments names are in Reinassance Italian. If you have played Florenza you will recognize most of them. The rules are in Italian, English and German.
The game runs over 5 rounds divided in 4 phases. Two Set-up phases, the Action phase and the End of Round phase. Of course most of the game is played in the Action phase.
Setting up the game, the first time, can seems a bit laborious but soon becomes easy and quick. In the middle Location cards, anonymous artists and the new captain card. The number of Location cards vary according to the number of players. On the left the 6 deck of resources: wood, gold, metal, marble, fabric and spice. On the right Fiorini (money) cards.
From 6 to 10 artists are than revealed each rounds (according to the number of players) and 7 monuments cards (5 new each round).
Finally there are the 3 Florenza cards decks.
Each player start the game with 1 resource card of each type, 300 Fiorini and 5 Florenza cards.
Florenza cards are the buildings you can build in your “Rione” and can give you prestige points and/or abilities and have a major role in the game. During the game you have to wisely use you resources and Fiorini, to construct buildings in your Rione or monuments in Florence, hiring the best artist.
Every turn you have 4 actions and players take one action each in turn order. The turn order will change every turn clockwise or go to the players that will take the Captain card.
You can use an action to activate one of the face-up location cards, just flipping it face-down and taking the action. Locations let you tale one resource, sell one resource for 200 Florini or change one of your resources for another one. Since every location card can be used just once every round is sometimes important to be first and that is what the Captain location can give you for the next round.
You can use your action to play one of your Florenza cards, spending the requested amount of money and resources. You can also use an action to build a monument card, paying resources and money.
Monuments and some Florenza cards require you to hire one of the face-up artists. Artists cost money and are in 3 different categories (architects, sculptors and painters). Usually a monument or location ask for a particular kind of artist.
All the artists have a cost and a range of possible values (something like 2,3,3,4 or 3,5,7 or 1.2). As soon as you hire the artist you flip it and know how many prestige points you will get in the end of the game.
This semi-random elements can hurt people looking for perfect informations games but is something you can face: you know the range and you can select the artist you prefer spending more or less money to have a better change of higher results. You can also look if the same artist has been already hired by someone else before and got more informations. Is nothing more than a dice roll in most of standard games.
You can spend an action to reserve a monument or an artist: of course that means actually you are taking one more action to build it but it can be useful if you are trying to collect resources for an high prestige monument.
Finally you can just spend an action to buy a resource for 100 Fiorini, sell one for 100 Fiorini or change two resources for another one.
After 4 actions the turn continue but only for people having the right buildings: Palagio, Casamento. Casa and Predicatore all give you an extra action so you can have as much as 8 actions in your turn.
Here is my first little complain about Florenza: the Card Game. It is true, as they say in the rules, that having this extra actions is not the only way of winning but having no one make you really less competitive. It is happened in two of my games that a player got no cards of this kind to play in the first three rounds and that let him/her in real disadvantage. Of course this is something that happens not often, I thnk, but you need to know that it is really important to have and play at least one of this cards as early as possible.
The round end removing all but 2 monuments, all the artists and discarding all but one Florenza cards you have in your hand: that means you can keep just one Florenza card from round to round. Than you get some resources and Fiorini, new Florenza cards and the owner of the Captain will decide an extra resource all players will get. Finally Bottega (workshops) cards will give you extra money/resources.
In the first three rounds new Florenza cards are added to the deck (Florenza cards are splitted in tunr 1, turn 2 and turn 3 cards).
In the end of the game, after 5 rounds, you will add all prestige from buildings, monuments and artists. Some Florenza cards, called Arts, will give you extra points. The Arts cards are all quite balanced apart Arte Maggiore, the one that give you 3 points for each Bottega (workshop): this can card can give you in the end something like 12-15 points, if you play well, that is really a lot since workshop will also give, anyway, something valuable during the game … this is actually my second complain about the game.
There is also a special 5 points bonus for each set of Family Palace, Distric Church and Distric Building you have played. This will offer the possibility to try a strategy in this kind of buildings too, instead of looking high prestige monuments.
So, what I really think about Florenza the Card game ? I think it is great, I really like it. It easy to play and you have many decisions to take in your turn. There is some luck, in cards draw and artists, but not too much, at least for a card game that can be easily played in 1 hour. There are minor issues, the Arte Maggiore card and the possibility a player will stay behind not having extra actions cards in the first rounds but are really minor things and I really suggest you this game.