Slyville, by Hexy Studio, is a great game of backstabbing, sly shenanigans for 3-5 people. You play a guild master, operating in the city of Slyville and try to make deals, trade and undercut your fellow guild masters to gain the most influence points (IP) by the end of the game. To be the best you will need to use all your cunning, bluffing skills and deceit to beat your opponents to the best deals and throw out their henchmen so that they are unable to gain the valuable goods you can use to make deals to gain the required 100 IP.
What this equates to in real terms is an absolutely great game experience that is simple and easy to pick up. Let's learn a little more about Slyville.
Firstly, the artwork in Slyville is beautiful and the characters look amazing, from the rum swilling brute to the scary nun! Everything fits in nicely with the medieval theme. The board is modular, all set around the pentagonal square with five coloured district. Each district has its own good that you can acquire, along with its own set of possible deals to access.
The goods are collected by bartering for them. You do this using your acquisition cards, or having your henchmen in the right place at the right time. You use sets of the different goods to make deals for specific amounts of IP.
So, how do you make deals or barter for these goods? Again, the game mechanisms are beautifully simple.
Each player receives seven cards. You each have the same number of cards so ensure there is no luck of the draw in Slyville. These cards are placed, in rounds, onto the districts. Each card has an initiative number so that, as the actions placed at each district are resolved, they can be resolved in order.
Players can place acquisition cards (bags of different sums of money) if their total is the most placed on a given district. They can then take the goods. Players can play a card to pay for one of the deals on a district (using the goods they have collected) and gain the IP. However, and this is where the fun really starts, players have cards that can stick a spanner in the works for their opponents.
You can play sabotage and remove either one of your opponents' cards form that district, or remove a henchman. You can play takeover and move your henchman to that specific district, displacing an opponent’s henchman in the process.
Add to this the Prince’s favourite (first player) token that, when in your possession, allows you to take a look at one of the Prince’s decree cards and place this in a district space on the board. This will inevitably add a negative consequence to this space. However, only the favourite will know what this is and which cards it can impact on. This provides a chance to stop an opponent accessing the district, resource or deal they need preventing them from getting the IP they seek.
The other benefit of having the Prince’s favour is for that turn you get to decide on who wins ties. This gives you all the power to decide in favour of a weaker opponent. Alternatively, you can just pick your own guild for the win!
As you're able to see what goods your opponents have, where their henchman are, and the available districts, you're able to have a good idea of what their plans are. As such, you have to balance the use of the four cards you can play each round between building your own goods and deals whilst preventing your opponents running away with IP.
Initial Thoughts on Slyville
Above all, Slyville is simply a lot of fun! However, it's so much more than just a simple take that game. There is a good deal of strategy here that makes this more of a challenge. As you all have the same cards and similar access to all districts, there is very little luck. The only exception being the bonus of the Prince’s decree card once per round.
I loved the artwork and general gameplay of Slyville. Also, although this is a prototype, the whole game looks top drawer already. I will definitely be adding this to my collection. As one of the Hairy Game Lords said, “This is one of the best games I’ve has played in months!”
So, what are you waiting for? Gather your henchmen, trade for goods and make as many deals as you can. Beware the other inhabitants of Slyville however, for they are definitely all as sly as you are! This game is due to be released at Essen 2019.