Games often grab your attention with their looks, be this the actual artwork or graphic design. We might not be bird watchers, but we can appreciate how good the art is in Wingspan. Villagers is a game that created an incredible amount of hype and had an incredible run on Kickstarter. It didn’t hurt that designer Haakon Gaarder also created some excellent character art and graphic design on a stark white background.
Thankfully, Villagers has the gameplay chops to back up the great look. Like Wingspan some of the hype surrounding the game may have given the impression that it is more complex than in reality, but in the case of Villagers there is more than enough depth here. The game is a card drafting and engine/tableau building game where you are trying to rebuild after a plague. Cards representing refugees are placed in a central row called ‘The Road’ each round you will draft as many of these potential villagers as you can feed (indicated through clear iconography, with a maximum of five). Then you will build your village.
Building requires you to have enough building icons (again a minimum of two and max of five) and sometimes to unlock cards. If you have the unlocking card they will earn money from the bank, if another player has the unlocking card you will have to pay that card, otherwise you pay the bank. This is a key factor as if you snag a blacksmith early, that card can earn a lot of money and money wins the game.
To help make sure no-one gets left behind there are ‘basic’ cards that are pretty much always available and can be built ignoring the restriction. These cards are often the founding card of villagers cool ‘stacks’. Each card will be part of a chain or sequence. There are often multiple ways to chain these stacks, but you always must do so in the right order. This may sound confusing, but it is all laid out clearly on the cards.
Villagers is a great card game with a lot of content in the box. The game is easy to play but does need some decision making. The drafting and tableau building work really well and it’s easy to see why the game got so much hype.
Player Count: 1-5
Time: 30-60 Minutes