Villages of Valeria Card Game Review

Maybe you have read my previous game review about Imperial Settlers which was a great game. The game feels like four smaller game within a big box with all of their factions.

Even though the components are mainly cards, sometimes it feels too big to take them back to the table. I just wish I can find a way to simplify the storage into a smaller box.

Nowadays, with thousands of board or tabletop games coming out every year, we can find one or two that offers similar gameplay. Some can even come with smaller size of box, easier to setup and to bring to other place, play with friends.

If you are looking for such game, you might want to try Villages of Valeria. A similar game to Imperial Settlers but with just small box, fantasy theme but offers different way of player interactions.

So, what is Villages of Valeria? How do we play the game? Does it have a solo mode? Are there any expansions?

Those are probably just a few question that came to mind after hearing about Villages of Valeria, the card game. Well, in this article, I’m going to share with you my Villages of Valeria Game review based on my experience and what I can find from the internet.

Hope it helps. Is Villages of Valeria going to be the best tabletop game?

Click or tab on any sections from the table of contents to jump right to that part. Use the red arrow button on the bottom right corner of the screen to head back to the top

Overview

Game’s Name: Villages of Valeria
Game Type: Card Game, Civilization and City Building, Fantasy, Tableau Building
Designer: Rick Holzgrafe, Isaias Vallejo
Artist: Mihajlo Dimitrievski
Publisher: Daily Magic Games
Number of Players: 1-5 players
Playtime: ~45 minutes
Age Range: 14+
Official Website: www.dailymagicgames.com

Content (Base Game):
Rulebook
Active Player Token (1)
Gold Coins (30)
Cards (63.5 x 88 mm):
Building Cards (84)
Adventurer Cards (16)
Castle Cards (5)
Player Reference Cards (5)
Solo Variant Reference Card (1)
Action Selection Card (1)

Release Year: 2017
Initial Price: $25.00

Expansions:
Guild Halls Expansion Pack ($5.00)
Monuments Expansion Pack ($5.00)
Events Expansion Pack ($5.00)
Landmarks + Architects ($25.00)
Big Box with Landmarks + Architects ($40.00)
3 Promo Cards

About Villages of Valeria Game

Villages of Valeria is actually the sequel to Valeria: Card Kingdoms game which was released a year before. Both of them are totally different stand alone games but share the same universe for the story line.

We can also see the same arts from the cards of both games. At this time, not only they keep introducing expansions for this 2 games, but they already have several follow-up stand alone games like Quest of Valeria, Margraves of Valeria and Corsairs of Valeria.

In Valeria: Card Kingdoms story, the Kingdom of Valeria was under siege by monsters and players will have to help the Duke to build their kingdom and recruit citizen to fight the monsters. The sequel, Villages of Valeria, the kingdom is safe and they are trying to build villages around the castle.

So, players will now competitively build some buildings for their own village to attract adventurers so they will become the citizen. Each adventurer will require different type of buildings before we can recruit them. There are four types in the game, Worker building, Soldier, Shadow and Holy building.

Each of the buildings will also require some goods before we can build them. Players will start with just one resource and three gold coins to activate them. Some buildings will not only give Victory Points but can also generate more resources which can help them develop their village fasters.

This is a race game between players and they will trigger the end game after reaching certain number of developments. However, player that score points the most will be the winner.

So, not only they need to build as fast as they can but also efficiently choose which building or recruitment to do first. Planning and some strategy can play a role to win the game. We can have a plan that potentially score more points but other player can trigger the end before we successfully earn enough points.

To play the game, not only players will take turn to do one action but the other player can follow the active player. That means, there is another consideration for choosing the right action at the right time because otherwise our own action can benefit and help the other player to win the game.

With that mechanism, we can feel that the game is very fast. We start with just one resource but just a few turns later, we can easily build one turn after another. Still, with turn based gameplay, some players can take a while before they make their decision.

Daily Magic Games, as the publisher has stated that they want to make casual and gateway level games to help new players get into board or card gaming but still has layers or depth with strategy for seasoned players. That is what we can get from Villages of Valeria.

Isaias Vallejo (BGG username: isaiasvallejo42), the designer of Valeria: Card Kingdom is also the managing partner of Daily Magic Games.

I don’t know why the game is listed in 2017 on BGG while the Kickstarter offer was in 2016.

Components

Before we learn how to play Villages of Valeria, we should know first what will we get from the base game box. What are the components of the game that we will use to play the game?

The standard retail edition of the game comes with a box with 12 x 4 x 18 cm size. It has almost the same size as game like Tiny Epic Defenders, probably a bit thicker. This box has enough rooms for its content plus a couple more cards from expansion sleeved.

If we use the 60 micron sleeves for each card, we can keep up to about 140 cards which enough for cards from the base game and the first 2 expansions. Some people may choose to remove the insert and they can probably keep the 3rd expansions as well. I think if we don’t have problem with the lid not closing perfectly and use some elastic band, we could probably keep more.

However, we might need a bigger box if they keep adding more expansions. Daily Magic Games do offer a big size box bundled with one of the expansions even to hold future expansions.

As we open the box, we will find the rulebook, then an insert on the base to hold two decks of cards and a room for tokens in the middle. For each deck, since the box is wider than the card’s long size,  there is enough space, probably if we want to add divider for different type of cards.

Alternatively, we can even use the empty space to hold the card stands, maybe like the reference card.

The game comes with 112 cards. Different type of cards will have different design on the back as well. So we can easily tell which type the card belongs to. We can use just one side sleeve but it will be easier to sort them back with double side transparent sleeve.

Every card only use one same size, 63.5 x 88 mm. Their kickstarter page says that every card will be 320gsm Blackcore stock with a Linen Finish, thanks to backers.

Expansions will introduce more new type of cards.

Rulebook

Here is the link for digital copy of the rulebook for Villages of Valeria.

The rulebook is the first thing we find from inside the box. It has just slightly smaller footprint than the base box, which is very common. It has a 16 pages and the last page or the back is the summary for multi players game mode. So, if we need to find something general, it is easier just to look the last page.

Here is the table of contents.

Cover (Page 1)
Story, Overview, QR Code for Tutorial (Page 2)
Components (Page 3)
Setup (Page 3 and 4) for multiplayer game.
Concepts (Page 5 -7) about Cards, Resources, Building, Village, Adventures, Discarding, Drawing, and Hand Limit.
How to Play (Page 8 – 11), for multiplayer mode, Action and Special Powers.
Ending and Scoring (Page 12), endgame trigger, and tie breaker.
Solo Play (Page 12 – 14), from setup to scoring and some differences to the multiplayer mode.
Card Clarification (Page 14), mostly about the Special Power but not all of the cards.
Credits (Page 15)
Quick Reference (Page 16 / Last)

This rulebook only contains the base game. For additional rule and cards clarification from the expansions the publishers has another digital file. There is also an additional rule for the solo mode which can be applied for the base game in the extended file.

Here is the additional rule and cards clarification.

I think the rulebook did a great job explaining every single aspect of the game. Except maybe for the cards clarification section which doesn’t cover every card from the base game. So, that is also the reason we probably need to check the extended rule as well.

Almost each part will have enough illustrations to help with the text explanations. Some parts will have an example of what could happen during the game related to the topics. There is also some important notes which use the red font color so most people can easily notice. Probably not for the colorblinds though.

Active Player Token & Action Selection Card

The Active Player token has the shape of castle or gate of castle with grey color made of wood. This come in the middle part of the box in the resealable plastic bag alongside the Gold coins.

Players will use token alongside the Action Selection card. So, each turn, we will need to pass along both the token and the card.

We will need this because of the following action mechanism. This is to indicate who will do the leading action for the turn. We can easily lost track who did what, especially with higher player count.

The height of this token is almost the same or lower than the divider. The problem is that if we put it in the bag with the coins, sometimes the coins can get stuck below this token and the result will be the token will push and bend the rulebook. I think it will be easier if we just not put the token in the bag.

The Action Selection card is the only card without the title Villages of Valeria in either of its side. They use the same art with the cover. The only thing we can see from this card is the 5 words for possible actions we can do in this game.

So, we are supposed to place the token in the box right beside the action we choose to lead on each turn.

Gold Coins

These Gold coins comes within a resealable plastic bag. The base game comes with 30 Gold Coins which will be required for 5 players as full player counts.

These orange round wooden token has about half a centimeter thickness and 1 cm for diameter which is also the size on the cards. I don’t know why they feel the need to add the white dots which on the tokens are a bit bigger than on the cards.

With lower player counts we will use less number of coins and the limited number will be another circumstance for the game. Only the number of coins that matter while the rest is just for production value. We can easily replace them with cubes or other pieces as long as we have enough amount.

There is a chance that we will have some missing coins. If that happens, we can contact Daily Magic Games directly, send them email about the missing components and they will send the replacement to anywhere.

I know this for a fact because it already happened to me. They replied to me back within the same day asking for the shipping information. After some confirmation to make sure the address is correct, they notified me the day they will send it. It took about 15 days before I received the package. Apparantly they did send from US to my location in South East Asia region.

That is not all. Not only the missing components, they also sent me two of their promo cards for the game which I didn’t ask for but I want to thank them by mentioning that in this article.

The rulebook also says that we should send email to contact@dailymagicgames.com for this issue.

Reference Cards

The Villages of Valeria game comes with 6 action reference cards. Five for each player in multiplayer mode and one for solo action reference card. Actually for the solo play cards, it is not just as reference for the action but it also describe the gameplay as well from setup to endgame.

The reason for these reference cards for multiplayer is the lead and follow action mechanism. It will be a reminder what a player can do to lead an action or follow other player’s action. There are 5 possible actions in this game, and each will have different way to follow.

The back of the reference cards for multiplayer modes are summary for icons. The other cards for buildings or adventurers will only have icons and no text other than the name of action in special powers. I don’t think these icons reminder do a great job explaining what it means. They are more like a reminder after we read the clarification.

The solo reference card is a bit different since there will be no lead and follow mechanism with just 1 player. So, the designer use it to explain further how the solo mode works which some even to include the rules for expansions but for the second only. They have to add another cards for more expansions which will affect the solo mode.

But the additional rule for solo mode is not included in the card. So, the solo reference card is also just a reminder for the general action. I think there is a fan made player aid which include the additional rule on BGG.

Castle Cards

These cards will be the starting point of our tableau building. There are 5 from the base game to support 5 player mode each with different color, white, purple, red, blue and yellow. They are basically the same, no meaning for the player but the are is great. I think the blue is the best one subjectively.

As I said that each different type of cards will have different art on their back side so we can easily tell what type of card it is. For these Castle Cards, they use the same art as the box, with the dragon and the title.

Each castle also allows player to generate one WILD resource. We generate the resources to build building by placing the gold coins we have at the top of this castle card.

There will be no shuffling needed to use this card so it will require no sleeve for people who doesn’t actually sleeve every card. However, there will be some sliding another card beneath this castle card from the top. See the DEVELOP ACTION from this game.

Building Cards

These building cards are probably the main focus of this game which make this game as a city building game. There are 84 cards in the base game but only 28 unique different designs. So, each of them has 3 copies, with the same exact attributes.

Every building cards will have unique design for the back side for this type of cards only. There will be the title and the illustration will have one white castle with several villages and no dragon.

The buildings that we can build can be one of the four different types. WORKER building with the hammer icon. SOLDIER building with the helmet icon. SHADOW building with the key with skull and knife icon. The last one is HOLY building with the bird icon. We can see the icon at the top left corner of the cards.

The second attribute we can find from the building cards is the name which we can associate with the picture. I think for some buildings, we can easily tell the difference. However, there are some that has some similarities, either the name or the illustration. Sure, we can just look at the other attributes to know that they are different.

The problem is that we can’t have more than one of the same building in our tableau. We have to check between cards in our hands and the one that we have built in our tableau. It happens rather often that the cards I pick turned out I already built it.

The next thing we can find from the card is the Victory Points which indicated by the purple logo with the number at the top right corner of the card. The VP will be counted at the end of the game.

Buildings can give Victory Points from zero to 3, at least for the base game. Since this game can be a race to collect VP as fast as we can, it is reasonable to just pick those with higher VP. However, that is not all of the attributes. There are other attributes we need to consider that could help us do more action faster or cheaper.

The next attribute is the SPECIAL POWER which we can find right below the name of the card. By building the card in our tableau, we will get a bonus. The bonus can be another resources immediately or after action, or another VP. Some bonus can only happen one time but other can happen multiple times.

That means, there are buildings that we need to build right away and completely useless later round. Also, there are those that can really help towards the end of the game for their immediate effect.

The next attribute is the cost to build which is indicated by resources icons at the left side of the card right below the building type logo. There are four types of resources in this game.

Food with the red, circle icon. Wood with the square, brown icon. Stone, with octagon shape with grey color. Magic with the blue triangle icon. As we can see from the castle cards, there is also WILD resources which can be any of those 4, with the diamond shape and four of the resources colors.

The cost to build any of these buildings from the base game can be as low as 1 resource up to 5. Some may require multiple different resources and some may require more than 1 from the same resources up to 3.

So, this cost will also be another consideration before we build any buildings into our tableau. The building can grant us more points but they can be very expensive. It is not a good idea to just focus on those right from the start. We need to consider all of the previous 3 attributes to find the most efficient way to build.

The last attribute of a building card is the DEVELOP attribute which we can find at the bottom right corner of the card. The building cards can be used as another resources generator by spending Gold coins on them.

The way to use the card for the DEVELOP action is by turning the card upside down and slide them below the castle card from the top. We can then, on next turn, spend gold on these cards.

Each card can only generate one type pf the resources. If we use the card for this purpose, we can’t get any bonus from the SPECIAL POWER or the VP.

So, this is a good way to utilize lower value cards because the other attributes become meaningless. Lower value cards can still generate the same number of resources as the higher value one.

Because of this last attribute, the building cards become a multi use card. And it become another consideration of how to play them. Do we build it or sacrifice the other attribute to become a resource generator?

Another way to look at it is to prevent other player to build the same higher value buildings. Since we can only have one in our tableau but we can still get all of the cards from the same copies. This is the way to use the same cards in our tableau.

Adventurer Cards

This is the last components we get from the base game of Villages of Valeria. We will get 16 different unique characters. These adventurer cards has a darker color art at the back side which several characters.

Adventurer cards also has some attributes like the building cards, except for the last one. We can’t turn them upside down so they are not a multi use card.

They have icons, name of the job, VP, special powers and cost to recruit, similar to buildings. The difference is that the cost is based on the type of buildings we have in our tableau. That means, before we can recruit a character, we need to build the right building types required first.

The cost can be as low as one type of building with just one building at least. At most, we will need four buildings with four different types.

In general, the special power is similar to buildings. We can get additional resources, immediately or after action, or we can have additional way to score points. Like the building cards, some can give us benefit for long term but useless at the end and other can become more interesting with the immediate effect.

The least immediate VP we can get can be 1 and up to 4 from recruiting an adventurer. The expansion, with more new characters will introduce different special power for scoring.

Since there is only limited number of adventurer we can recruit, this will become another race as well between players to be the first one to recruit.

The art is great and unlike the building, we can easily tell which card from the different characters. After playing several times, we can notice just by looking at the art.

Here is the list of 16 characters we can get from the base game.

Alchemist, Archer, Blacksmith, Butcher, Cleric, Knight, Mercenary, Merchant, Monk, Necromancer, Paladin, Rogue, Summoner, Thief, Warlord, Wizard

How to Play

Now that we already now the components, how do we use them to play Villages of Valeria?

Villages of Valeria is a city building game where we will add more buildings to our tableau. It is also a civilization game, as we recruit characters. The more we have, the higher the points we get.

We can play this game up to 5 players competitively. This section will describe how we play for multi player mode. See the next section for solo mode.

Here is the official tutorial video.

Setup

There are several things we need to set up before we can start playing Villages of Valeria.

First, the GOLD COINS. Depending on the number of players, we will only use specific amount from the provided coins. Here is the list.

2 players: 14 Gold Coins
3 players: 20 Gold Coins
4 players: 25 Gold Coins
5 players: 30 Gold Coins

So, with full player counts, we will use all of the coins from the base game. These coins will create the bank and we have to return the rest to the box. Each player will start with 3 Gold Coins, taken from the bank.

Then the cards, BUILDING CARDS and ADVENTURER CARDS. As described above, we can easily tell which cards belongs to. Adventurer cards are those with the dark color art at the back, displaying several characters. Building cards are those with the art similar to the box art but without the dragon.

There are 16 adventurer cards and 84 building cards in the base game. We will use all of them regardless of the number of players. Each of them will have their own deck facing down and we place them at the center of the table.

From these decks, we deal a row of 5 face up cards to create the building pile and adventurer pool, right next to each of their face down deck.

Each player will then deal 6 Building cards from the deck as their starting hand. They will also get the PLAYER AID CARD or Reference card and one CASTLE CARD.

Then, we randomly choose the first player and give that player the ACTION SELECTION CARD and ACTIVE PLAYER TOKEN. In turn order, starting with the first player, choose one of the card from their opening hand to DEVELOP  a resource. See more about DEVELOP action in the next section.

It is free to do this action but this is just a one time only for the setup. After all of the players has done, we can begin the game.

Gameplay

In general there are two parts in each player’s turn.

Players will always start their turn by replenishing their coins if during earlier turns, there are some coins that have been placed on their Resource card. We take them off the cards and we can immediately use them in this turn.

That is the first part. The second part is that player will take one of the possible actions. They choose which action by placing the Active Player Token on the Action Selection Card and do the action. This is called LEADING the action.

After that player has done, the other player can choose to FOLLOW or decline, starting with the next player to the left and going clockwise. When all other players have either followed or declined, the active player’s turn is done.

Then they need to pass the ACTIVE PLAYER TOKEN and ACTION SELECTION CARD to the next player.

Actions

There are 5 possible action in the game: HARVEST, DEVELOP, BUILD, RECRUIT, and TAX. Here is what player will do in each of them both leading and following.

HARVEST
Lead: Draw 3 Building Cards
Follow: Draw 1 Building Card

Each player can draw from either the building piles, or the face up cards or draw blindly from the deck. They can only have 8 cards in their hand. So, if after drawing cards they get more than 8, they have to discard the cards until they have 8.

If any of the pile becomes empty, immediately draw one from the deck to replace face up. Each pile must have at least one card.

Discarding a card in this game means, placing the card in any of the building pile. There are 5 building piles right next to the deck. So, each pile can have more than 1 card.

When discarding cards, we can place the cards on the same or separate pile. The idea here is that the card we discard can be accessed by other players if they want to draw it.

When player wants to draw cards from the same pile, they have to take one by one starting with the last card added to that pile.

So, in this HARVEST action, they have to draw one by one until they get 3. Then they have to discard the excessive number of cards until they only have 8 in their hand.

Players are not allowed to draw then discard until they get what they want. That is not how it works. But they can choose which card from their hand to discard, including the one they recently got.

DEVELOP
Lead: Discard 1 card from hand and to add other card as resource to the castle.
Follow: Discard 2 cards to add other card as resource to the castle.

Each building cards can provide one of the 4 type resources which can be activated by Gold Coins. The resource is indicated by the icon at the bottom right corner of the card, beside the Gold Coin icon.

Develop Action means we choose which resources we want to generate by placing upside down under the castle card from the top side revealing only the resource and gold icons.

Different cards may offer the same resources, so we have to choose carefully which card we want to use for this action. The card we use to develop will not generate any Victory Points or special power.

We can only Develop one card per turn but we can have as many as we want, even that generate the same resource.

To do the DEVELOP action we must first discard the card. So, we have to make sure that we do have the two cards needed for both purposes, three cards if we are following.

BUILD
Lead: Provide resource to add a building to the tableau (Village) and draw 1 Building card.
Follow: Provide resource to add building to the tableau only without drawing any card.

Building a building card in this game means, we add the building to our tableau from our hand. Each building has a cost to build which indicated by a column of resources displayed at the left side of the card.

To build, we must provide the resources. One of them is by placing Gold Coins that we have to the available resources in our castle and cards from develop action. Any castle cards will provide WILD resource that can be one of the four resource types.

Alternatively, we can also place the coins to cards from develop action in other player’s castle. However, we will lose the coin and become their coins at the start of their turn or replenish part.

Exception to this rule is, we can’t spend coins to other player’s castle’s Wild Resource.

Each resource card can only have one coin. So, if the leading player has used one of our resources, we have to wait until we replenish the coins before we can spend on the resources again.

We can only build one building of the same copy into our tableau. The base game has 3 copy for each building. So, either we discard the rest or find other ways to use them like for Develop action.

Some of the Buildings or Adventurers can also provide the resources indicated from their SPECIAL POWERS. If their special powers say BUILD: +(any resources), that means we can get extra resources for Building action.

Or we can say, that the cost has been reduced. Example of these buildings are Laborium, Monastery, Mine, Wood Mill and Farm. Wizard and Warlord would be the example for adventurers.

After we build the building the only thing that matters from the card is the upper portion of the cards. So, it is recommended to stack the buildings with the same type and keep revealing the special power and the victory points.

This way, it will be easier to tell, whether we already have the same building.

RECRUIT
Lead: Pay 1 Gold to the bank to add an Adventurer Card into our tableau.
Follow: Pay 2 Gold to the bank to add an Adventurer Card into our tableau.

Recruit action is how we add the adventurer from their pool into our tableau or village. In addition to paying Gold to bank for recruiting, we also need to have the building type requirements, indicated on the left side of the adventurer cards.

After any player has recruited any adventurer, we draw from the adventurer deck to replace the spot or the pool, face up.

As mentioned before, most adventurers also has special powers that we can use or get after we recruit them. The powers are always optional and either happen immediately or after the next action as displayed on the card.

TAX
Lead: Collect 1 Gold from the bank and draw 1 building card.
Follow: Draw 1 Building card only without getting any Gold.

The main purpose of TAX action is to get more Gold from the bank. However, the number of Gold is limited, depending on the number of players.

So, there is a chance that the bank may no longer have any Gold. The player may still perform that action but they will only get the card, which is wasteful.

Special Powers

As mentioned before, most of buildings and adventurers can have special powers which we can use after we build or recruit them into our tableau or village. Only small number of cards will not have any power at all. On each card, we can find the special powers right below the name of the card.

The effects can happen right after we build them instantly, some may only happen if we do the action indicated on the card and some may have cost we need to pay to activate. We can get additional cards, Gold Coins, Resources or Victory Points from these special powers. Some may also let us steal from other players.

If the special power has the red flash logo, it means the power is instant and just one time only. Either we use it right after we have them in our tableau or not at all. We can’t reserve them and use next turn.

Other powers may not be instant but can be activated multiple times starting next turn after we have them into our tableau. But only once per action whether it is Leading or Following. Usually these powers will start with the action name, harvest, recruit, etc.

Some special powers also has a cost to activate. Usually these cards has arrow pointing to the right. Which means we have to pay with the resources on the left side of that arrow to get the resources on the right side of that arrow.

Some special powers also let us steal from other players. Usually these cards will have an arrow pointing to the left and there is a blue person icon at the right side of that arrow. It means we can get the resources indicated at the left side of that arrow from other players.

We can choose any players we want to steal from.

The last type of powers let us gain more Victory Points which will only happen at the end of the game while scoring. We can get the points only if we can meet the requirement and only the player who has that card in their tableau will get the point.

The last thing about Special Powers is that there is a chance that the power can accumulate and create chain of reaction of activating several powers from one action. The rulebook says we can activate in any order we want and we can use the first power to activate the second one.

I think there is a slight change from the rulebook, regarding BUILD:+ GOLD COIN (Wizard’s Tower). The rulebook says that it will only reduced the amount of Gold Coins required to build. However, in the clarification file, the power means, to get one Gold Coin after we do the build action. I think the clarification file makes more sense.

Ending and Scoring

As mentioned before, the game will end after any player’s has a certain number of buildings and/or adventurers in their tableau. The number of building can be different depending on the number of players. Here is the list

2 players: 12 Buildings and/or Adventurers
3 players: 12 Buildings and/or Adventurers
4 Players: 10 Buildings and/or Adventurers
5 players: 10 Building and/or Adventurers

This does not count the cards used as develop action and the castle cards. It also doesn’t count the Monuments and Landmarks from the expansion.

Anybody can trigger the endgame whether they lead or follow the action. If the leading player triggers it, other players can still follow, completing the turn.

The one who triggers it doesn’t necessarily become the winner. It will be determined by the Victory Points. We can find the victory points at the top right corner of the cards with purple logo.

First, we count any VP from the cards in our tableau only, not cards in hand. Then we count VP from the Special Powers, assuming we meet the criteria. The last one is for each Gold Coin we have, unused or on Resources and Castle, it will get 1 Victory Points.

In case of a tie, the player with the most buildings and adventurer wins. Then determine with the most Gold, then Developed Resources if there is still a tie.

Below are videos from Rahdo Runs Through YouTube channel with Prototype version, that simulates 2 player mode.

Comment and Suggestion

I think Villages of Valeria can offer different experience to the game depending on the number of players. For higher player counts like 4 or 5, the game will be more like a race. Probably the faster we build the better chance to win.

We can have a plan with potentially score more points but the other player may trigger the end game first before we can score anything. With the 3 copies of each buildings, there is no guarantee that we can get the best building to build. We will lose if we wait too long for the right card.

I find it rather hard to keep track how many buildings each player has, especially with higher player count. If we focus too much to our own, other player could suddenly trigger it. Maybe the official accessories for tracking could help.

So, three or 2 players probably the balance mode because we will get a better chance for cards evenly and they can easily focus on building the most points.

The two player mode however, probably require the same level of players from both to make things interesting. Otherwise, one will plan for long term strategy and the other just race to end the game. Check the next section for solo mode.

The Action Following mechanism is an interesting idea which could help to speed the gameplay up. We don’t need to wait for our turn again just to draw a card.

However, following blindly is maybe the recipe for losing. Knowing when to follow could be essential to win. Harvest, Build, and Tax actions are probably not harmful to follow. But we should be careful while following the Develop and Recruit action.

Build action can be an interesting one because we can actually affect or hold the other player to even follow by using their resources. If we build the last building to trigger the endgame, blocking other player, using their resources instead of our own can be a game changer.

It is not a guarantee to win, because we still give the Gold Coins which will be Victory Points for the opponent.

The discarding part is also an interesting mechanism that player can block their opponents to get certain cards. That means, we have to be careful for discarding a card. The card may not be useful for us but it can help the other players heavily. Almost as good as the simultaneous action selection card drafting mechanism.

The next player may not care but the one after that may consider to take the discarded card. However, there is a problem.

If we know enough about the game, we can tell that most of the cards from the base game is not that good. For 2 player, since we can only build one from the same copy of buildings, we will discard more cards than keep them.

There is a chance that at some point the building piles becomes a dump, really not that interesting. Players would rather draw blindly and if they still get bad cards, they will make the pile even worse.

I think if we want to keep playing this game, especially with just 2 players, the expansions are probably a must. We need more unique building cards which only one player can have.

Maybe this is just me, but I think there are not much variety of strategy based on cards that we get from the base game. There are a lot of cards but it doesn’t mean they are useful.

Special powers from Build action probably the most valuable one, especially those that let us get more resources. At least powers that allow us to activate multiple times, or in this case anything associated with action is more valuable than the one time only.

However, that is only for the long term. The instant one time power can be useful as well but for the last few turns.

Also there is an exception to this. For example, I’m not sure when to actually build Cloister building. This building let us get more coins everytime we do Develop action, so we need to build it right away. However, the cost is 4 resources and two of them are Magic.

Another thing is about the building types. There are four of them but not all of them are balance. Some of them are useful but the other are quite expensive to build. Most of the resources power will come from Worker type of building with only magic resource power come from Shadow. Which makes those worker building essential for long term.

I think they try to balance them with the Adventurer but there is no guarantee to even have the right adventurer to the pile. Soldier Buildings are the least that I would build. Most of them generate only more cards.

Holy buildings can be expensive but can enhance more action. Both Holy and Soldier has some exclusive aspect like we can generate more resources but only for either of those two.

The idea to just restrict having the same building in the village makes the game more interesting. This way, one lucky player will not be able to just use all of them. One way or another that player will have to give up the card even though there is still another way to use like as develop.

The use of multi use card, by adding the functionality of building card as resource card give the player more to consider before using the card. Each resource have the same amount of cards that can provide.

It is not really hard to figure out which card we should just use as resources or we can say that there are totally low value cards. Not just the VP, the power and the cost will make them a perfect choice for develop action.

I don’t know if they can keep coming up with more buildings and introducing new things to the game via expansion.

All of the special powers are about adding or reducing resources. Nothing will harm the progress of our village. So, the game is rather friendly or forgiving.

I think they can introduce new power that will attack or reduce the building in tableau.

Solo Mode

The base game of Villages of Valeria also support solitaire mode. As mentioned before they even have a solo reference card to remind us how it works.

Unlike the multiplayer mode, there will be no action following mechanism since there is no other player. Instead there will be some tweaks from the 5 possible actions of the regular mode.

In general, we will be trying to make the most from the limited number of building and adventurer cards and Gold Coins into our village or tableau. The game will end when the deck runs out of cards.

We will score points like usual, and the rule also have some achievement based on our points. The solo mode also support the Monuments expansion.

Below is the video from Slickerdrips YouTube Channel for Villages of Valeria Solo mode.

How to Play Solo

These can be found from the rulebook page 12 to 14. However, there is an official addendum to the rule.

As the setup, first, we only use 7 Gold Coins and start with 3. We won’t be using the rest of them throughout the session.

Next, we use only 35 building cards, randomly chosen and place them as deck and deal for the market starting with 5 cards. When this deck runs out, the game ends.

Here is the addendum which we won’t find from the rulebook. We will only use 10 Adventurer cards, also randomly chosen. We won’t be using the rest of the cards for this session. Place them as a deck and deal the starting market of 5 adventurer, like regular mode.

From the 35 building cards deck, draw 6 as our starting hand, like the regular mode. We then choose one of them as the free DEVELOP action to our castle card.

Now we can start playing. Just like the regular mode, we can do one of the 5 possible actions, Harvest, Develop, Build, Recruit and Tax, with slightly different tweak for each.

HARVEST ACTION allow us to draw 3 cards to our hand. However, we can only have 8 cards in our hand and we have to stop drawing once we have reached that limit.

This is different from the regular mode. We always draw 3 and get more than 8 in regular mode but then discard them right after. But in Solo mode, we can draw even just one up to 3.

DEVELOP ACTION let us to use the card as resource generator just like on regular mode, place the card upside down beneath the castle card, revealing only the resource icon. However, instead of discarding one card like in regular mode, we have to TRASH the card.

What it means is that we put the card back into the box and we will not play the card again for the entire session. In regular mode, we can always draw them back again, assuming they are still available.

That means we have to be very careful when taking this action. We need to have cards we can trash or we are not allowed to take that action.

BUILD ACTION, like in regular mode, let us place the building card into our village or tableau. We can spend the coins if necessary or just use any special powers.

However, the difference is the REPLENISH part of our turn. After we place the coin on the resources to build in one turn, we won’t be able to use them in the next turn.

Instead of taking the coins back from the castle or development section, we slide the coins from the coin icon to cover the resources icon. The subsequent turn will then let us replenish like in regular mode and we get the coins back to use again.

We also need to draw 1 card from the market or building deck after the BUILD action like in regular mode. Unless, we already have 8 cards in our hand. Usually this is not possible but if we play the MONUMENTS, it can happen.

RECRUIT ACTION which let us pay 1 Gold to get any available adventurer into our village, will require 2 Golds in solo mode. If we play the monuments, we also need to pay 2 Gold Coins to reserve the monument card.

That means we need to have 4 coins if we want to get the monument. Otherwise, just 2 to recruit.

TAX ACTION, which let us get 1 Gold from the bank, but we need to trash 1 card from our hand instead of drawing. If we don’t have any card to trash, we can’t do the tax action.

SPECIAL POWERS from buildings or adventurers are still optional to use but they will follow the same mechanism as mentioned above. If we have to discard a card to activate the power, we have to trash the card instead. Draw only up to 8, and if the power let us steal from other player, we will take from the deck for card or bank for coins instead.

Endgame and Scoring

The solo game will end if the building card deck is empty. We don’t refill any piles or deck. We then count any victory points we get from our village.

The rulebook suggests comparing the score with some expectations from the King.

60+ Points: Imperator!
50 – 59 Points: City Builder.
40 – 49 Points: Proud Mayor.
30 – 39 Points: One-Horse Town. 
29 or less Points: Wide Spot in the road.

I think the score threshold is based on the base game only. We can score more if we play with Monuments.

Comment and Suggestion

First of all, I think we should just ignore the scoring system because the result will be based on how good the cards that we have on the deck. If we get all of the lower value cards including every copy of them, we probably won’t be able to score very high. This applies to both Building cards and Adventurer cards.

I would suggest just counting the number of built and recruited cards of our village or tableau. The same idea is used on Imperial Settlers game, where they count the number of buildings and counting the score separately for solo mode.

If we are willing to do a bit more for setup, my favorite one would be to use just 1 copy of each 28 unique building cards. To add the other 7, we can choose randomly. We can also use the cards from expansions since they are unique as well.

This way, the scoring will be more fair and we can compare from one session to another to see the progress. But this is just my house rule.

As for the rule itself, they say that the game will end after the deck is empty. I think it will be fun to keep playing until we have trashed every cards, including from our hands.

At first, I thought the solo mode will not be very interesting because they don’t have the action following mechanism. It turns out the solo mode become a totally different game which can be fun as well.

In solo mode, we don’t have to worry about other players suddenly trigger the endgame. So, it’s no longer a race and in fact, we have to take time when choosing an action. The game becomes a puzzle and if we can build the card in the right order, we can build or recruit as many card as available.

In regular mode, we can just discard the lower value cards right away. But here, we somehow still need them in our hands, especially in earlier rounds. We will need them to tax or develop. Not only hand management become more interesting but we also can and need to control the building pile.

Instead of drawing blind, it is a better strategy to choose from the pile. We don’t have to worry about other players taking them. So, the hand contains not just 8 cards but plus 5 from the pile that we need to plan how to use both good and bad cards.

Also in Solo mode, some low value cards in regular mode can become more valuable in solo. For example like HIDEOUT card, with cost just 1 Wood, for 1 VP and no special power.

In regular mode, building this will only take the space and trigger the end game faster. But in solo mode, we can build as many as we want. If we already have Wood Mill in our village, that card is free to build. The same goes for other resource generator cards which usually score lower points.

On the other hand, some cards become less valuable, especially that allows us to draw more cards. But since they are optional, we can ignore that and focus on points.

Some other cards where we have to discard the card, or in this case, trash them, maybe we should avoid. At least, we have to make sure that we have another less valuable card to trash.

They can still become useful like to generate coins but the idea is to get more turns.

If we play building cards from the first expansion packs, they may not work well in solo mode. Those cards will allow players to get extra points if they have the most building of one type. So, they need to compare with other player, which we can’t do it in solo mode.

Unfortunately there is no official further explanation for these cards, not even the clarification. We can just ignore those special powers or count everything. Alternatively, we can make a house rule that only one type with the most building in our tableau will score the additional points. So, we have to compare between types in our own village.

Overall, the solo mode is fun for me. Maybe because I use my own setup and probably play them in wrong way. With my own variant, I can score even more than a hundred points, including building every monuments. Seven coins is about the right number and I tried to use every adventurers but at the end, I managed to recruit only 10.

But that means, I had a chance to recruit more with more than 10 choices. If we play with more expansions, the new buildings may work, at least for my variant, but the adventurer cards still doesn’t work as much, still like the regular mode.

I think there are several fan made solo variants we can find on BGG.

Expansions and Accessories

Ever since the base game was launched via Kickstarter in 2016, the designer themselves already had expansions in mind. It has been several years since the launched, we now have more to add to this game.

We can purchase the base game or expansions directly from Daily Magic Games. It seems expansions won’t be available widely on retailers and we have to consider buying from them. They will send to anywhere around the world I think from US.

The shipping fee in US will be about $5.00. For other countries it will be higher, bigger box may cost even more. I think they only accept payment with credit cards.

Alternatively we can take advantage their future Kickstarter campaigns. Follow their account for the latest campaign, including other game. Usually we can get cheaper price, at least free shipping for US, assuming they have one and offer the previous content.

There is also a chance, even though it is not a guarantee that they will offer any of these product as add-on for other game’s campaign but still in Valeria universe. So, we should check out any new campaigns for Valeria: Card Kingdom (VCK), Quest of Valeria (QoV), Corsairs of Valeria (CoV), and the latest Margraves of Valeria (MoV).

Daily Magic Games claimed that they deliver the Kickstarter products almost always on time. There was a delayed one for a month or so in the past.

Expansion Pack #1 Guild Hall

This is the first expansion that was launched alongside the base gamein 2016. Within the pack, we will get 13 cards, 4 Guild Halls, 4 Adventurers Cards, 4 Event Cards, and 1 Rule card for $5.00.

The Guild Hall cards are additional building cards one for each type of buildings. The buildings are Honor of Tower (Soldier), Worker’s Guild (Worker), Key and Blade (Shadow), and Sacred Grove (Holy). In general, they will give additional 3 VP if we build them and if we have the most from the related building types built.

Since there will be no additional copy for each, they could be a game changer at the end of the game. And the cost is relatively cheap to build.

Then we will get 4 additional adventurers, totally different from the base game. The characters from this expansion are Squire, Shaman, Sapper and Miner.

Each of them can be recruited with relatively cheap as well, with just one type of buildings in our tableau.

The new additional type of cards from this expansion is the EVENT cards. These cards will not be played in a separate deck, but shuffled together with the building cards deck. Which is why they have the same back of the card.

So, if any player draw one of them, it will trigger an event that could effect all of the players. For example, RISE OF THE SKELETONS event will force players to discard two cards in their hand or they have to lose one Gold Coin. Other event can be optional for players to take advantage from the event.

The event may not be a game changer but since they could come out randomly, they could suddenly mess with player’s plan or help the other.

The rule, from the card that comes within the pack, says that the event will only happen once per game and we have to discard it. It also says that we will only use 4 event per game.

There are other event cards which we can only buy exclusively via Kickstarter. The event cards we get from this expansion are Isles of Valeria, Festival of the Dawn, Jester’s Craft, and Rise of the Skeletons.

The events, at least from this expansions are mostly for multiplayers mode. Additional new buildings are great but the characters are not so much.

Expansion Pack #2: Monuments

The second expansion pack for Villages of Valeria is called Monuments which was also launched in 2016. For $5.00, we will get another 13 cards, 1 Rule, 4 Adventurers and 8 Monument Cards.

The characters are Captain, Peddler, Baker and Mage. The last one will give more points for building monuments. Monuments themselves are like another building but they are very expensive but rewarding.

To build them, we need about 6 resources each and we will get 6 or 7 Victory points. By building them, we will get additional icons for the related building types so they can help recruit more characters.

These Monument cards will have their own deck, so we will get additional row of market cards. The design for the back of the card is also different so we can still easily tell.

Since they are so expensive to build, there is a rule of how we can add Monuments to our tableau. The rule says that we first need to “recruit” the card first alongside recruiting adventurers.

So, we will need two coins. We can’t get the monuments card without recruiting the adventurers. The monument is then considered as incomplete and players can only have one incomplete monuments in their tableau. They do not score any points unless we complete them.

We can build them like regular buildings, if we have the resources. Otherwise, we can place any card from our hand with the right resources beneath the monument card. It is like a DEVELOP action but we do it for the current monument only.

If with the additional card from develop action, can give enough resources to complete the monument, we can build them in later round. We still need to pay with Gold coins to the castle or other generators but not for the cards beneath the monuments. Those cards will be discarded and will not generate VP if the monument is incomplete.

That means, it is possible even to build the monuments very early. Players can recruit them first and just let them sit in tableau while getting cards one by one. The interesting thing with how we can build the monuments is that it will give a reason for player to just recruit any adventurers just for the sake of keeping the monument.

Each of these monuments themselves doesn’t have any special power after we build it. Not sure if there will be more with one. But considering they can give twice as much VP compared to any regular buildings, it is reasonable for players trying to get one instead the usual route to win.

The new adventurer cards are better compared to the first pack and still relatively cheap to recruit. They will only need two buildings from the same type, one character per type.

The monuments can be a game changer and they can even become additional challenge for the solo mode. This will extend the gameplay because we are not just playing with 35 building cards but extra the monuments.

In regular multi player mode, monuments don’t count as the end game trigger. So, if we already almost reach the threshold, we can focus on monuments to get more points while other players can catch up.

Expansion Pack #3: Events

The third pack are for event. However, every card in this pack was offered as part of the Kickstarter pledge. So, there is a chance that some people may already have these cards and they don’t need to purchase the expansion pack. However, this pack will not include the custom box sleeve offered in the campaign.

The cards are 8 Event Cards, 4 Adventurer Cards and 1 Event Reference Card. The events are Dragon, Queen’s Day, Goblin Horde, Fae’s Blessing, Giant, Royal Wedding, Rabunhod, Orc Bearrider.

For adventurers, we will get Baron, Sorceress, Champion and Bishop. Unlike the previous packs, these characters has no similarities in the term of cost between one to another.

The way to play the events are the same as the first expansion. Some can trigger negative and other positive effect. If the official rule is the same, we will only use 4 of them each session, randomly. We will get 8 event cards with this expansion.

This pack can be purchased from their official website for another $5.00. The Kickstarter page actually says that it will not be available in other retail. They will still offer this through contest and conventions.

Landmarks and Architects

This expansions were offered in several different packages in 2019. We can purchase only the contents or cards for $25.00 or we can also have bundled one with a big box for $40.00. For people who collect all of the cards from this series, this Big Box can  keep every card and still has room for future expansion.

I’m still not sure about the content of this expansion because the only explanation we can find is from their Kickstarter campaign, which they have the right to change it.

The contents will include 24 new building cards, 5 new adventurer cards, 5 Landmark Cards and 5 Architect cards with 35 wooden tokens and dividers. That was the initial plan. Thanks to Kickstarter backers who manage to pledge and complete all the stretch goals, additional 9 cards will be included in any package of this expansion.

Landmark is a new feature for Villages of Valeria game. It will introduce new type of cards that we can build and add to our tableau or village just like building. The difference is that we can only acquire them within the follow part of action.

So, if one player lead, other player will now have alternative action they can take instead of following. There are 5 different type of landmarks we can build and each of them will require discarding card(s) from our hand with different resources.

Here is the list of available landmark types.

Gates, which we need to discard two cards. Silo, which we need to discard one card that can provide FOOD resource icon at the bottom right corner. Statue, discard one card with STONE resource icon. Ward Tower with MAGIC resource icon and Windmill with WOOD resource icon.

For those who are interested, they can try the free Print and Play beta version of this expansion. The file can be found from the Kickstarter campaign here. Daily Magic Games encourages any players to give them feedback as the testers.

We will only get 5 Landmark cards with this expansions but we will get 5 different tokens that represent each type of landmarks with 7 tokens each. So, instead of claiming the card into our village or tableau, we will collect tokens. And whoever gets the most for each type, they will get extra points.

Architects, is also another new feature from this expansion. They are cards that will give a player secret objective and if they can fulfill the requirement, they will get extra victory points. The expansion comes with 6 Architect cards.

With this feature, they introduced a variable players power. Other players may not know which card we will have and it could decide who win the game with the extra points.

Based on the PnP file, each architects will give one Point per building of certain types for two types of building at the end of the game. So, we can still guess what other players might have as the architect or at least the combination of buildings.

Based on my experience playing the game, I would say that Architects that gives more points for Worker is probably stronger. The next is Shadow, and between Soldier and Holy is probably the weakest. Since there is probably one architects with the combination of Soldier and Holy, the player who gets that card randomly is going to have hard time winning the game.

We will still get more new and unique building and adventurer cards from this expansions. So, I guess this expansion offers enough content to change the game.

However, for solo players, this may not add much. The way to acquire landmarks is not possible without the following mechanism which require at least 2 players. The Architects cards will just give additional points which some people may not care to beat their own points.

At least, that is the official rule and that is for now. Maybe a fan can come up with their own variant or the designer can add one later in the future.

As for the Big Box, I guess the number one reason to consider having them is the landmark tokens. If we have the standard base game box, then the big box is recommended.

However, if we already have the deluxe base game, the designer said that we can just buy the expansion but we need to remove the insert and probably not using sleeve. Moreover, if they are going to have more expansions, eventually we might have to consider the big box as well. At least, we can wait and see.

Promo Cards

These are cards that we can get usually when Daily Magic Games participate in a convention or event or as backers for their Kickstarter campaign. Some may be offered again in future campaigns.

So far, there are 3 of them which all of them are Adventurer cards. The first one is Rahdo the Guild Master, which was inspired by Rahdo from Rahdo Runs Through YouTube Channel. Rahdo was part of the reviewer and tester for the game. This will give extra points for player who has the most Adventurers in their village.

The second one is King’s Herald and the third is Bard. King’s Herald will give more points for every set of all building types. Bard is unique one because it will give more points if we have left over Gold Coins at the end of the game.

All of them require at least one of all four building types to recruit.

As I said before, the more unique cards we can get into the game, the more interesting this game can be. Even though they are just single card, Adventurer cards can be very powerful.

Playmat, Upgrade Bits and Other Accessories

Daily Magic Games is also offering some game accessories with Villages of Valeria as the theme. The first one is the playmat, for $20.00 with the size of 14″ x 24″. As we can see from the picture that there are three row of cards spot.

The bottom one is for the building cards, the middle one for adventurers and one more at the top. I think this was launched to support Monuments expansion but it can also be used for Landmark expansion. Apparently not for both, though.

The second accessories is Upgrade Bits, which includes 5 player tokens, folding village tracker board and upgraded Action Selection card. We can get a set of these for $10.00.

The upgraded Action Selection Card is made of punchboard. It will have holes and the thickness will hold the Castle marker from the base game. So, we don’t have to worry about someone bumping the table and we forget which action the last player chose.

The small castle player tokens and the village tracker is a good addition to the gameplay. Using this, players can easily tell every player’s progress on their village and if they are about to trigger the endgame.

The design of the tracker is based on the official rule. It will probably won’t work for someone like me, who usually wants to play a bit longer instead of stopping after we have reached the threshold.

Both of these accessories can be purchased via their website. They also offered this as an add-on in their Kickstarter campaign.

Conclusion

Villages of Valeria is a civilization building game with fantasy theme. Not only we will add buildings into our village or tableau, but we will also recruit Adventurers. The setting takes place in the same universe as other Valeria games but this is a stand alone game, with different mechanism.

Daily Magic Games as the publisher has stated that they want to offer casual game, a gateway level game but layered with deep decision to make. I think they have done a good job with this Villages of Valeria.

The multi use card mechanism, action following mechanism and card drafting mechanism will create great interaction between players and make the game really fast to play. Combined that with resource generating and conversion can make the players not only focus on their progress but also think what the other player can do.

This games offers a lot of non cutthroat or indirect player interactions. Players can just focus on their progress, but if they consider the what the other players are planning, they can make more interesting choice. It is also rather friendly.

Villages of Valeria is also a competitive game where players will race to reach the number of development to trigger the endgame. Player that score the most points will still become the winner even though they didn’t trigger the endgame.

With so many things that can happen in the game, players can have a totally different game experience depending on the player count. With higher or full players count, the game will feel more like a race.

While with just two players they can have a longer game, but focus on tableau and engine building game. The Solo mode on the other hand, becomes like a puzzle.

We need to find the best way to add the limited number of buildings and adventurers to the village. No need to worry about other player taking the card or triggering the end game. It’s true that we won’t get the same interesting element as in multiplayer but the solo will give a totally different game but with the same level of entertainment.

The game comes with just a small box, using just cards and a small amount of tokens. We can play and finish the game within 30 minutes or about 45 with full player counts. The art is great and very colorful even though some buildings can have too similar illustrations.

Overall, I think Villages of Valeria is recommended to have and play. But we might want to consider some expansions to get more unique cards.

Final Words

So, that is all I can share with you about Villages of Valeria game. I think it somehow share some similarities with Imperial Settlers but with smaller scale and fantasy theme. You can check out my Imperial Settlers review if you prefer a heavier game and focus on tableau, engine, city building game.

For even smaller scale, you might want to check my review about Tybor the Builder. It is also a city and civilization building game in medieval era but not fantasy theme.

For other fantasy card game, you can check out my Hero Realms review. You can also check out my review about Rahdo Runs Through for more tabletop, board or card games.

As I said in any of those article, board game, card game or any tabletop game can help me take my eyes off the screen of our gadget. Even if it is just 30 minutes to an hour, I can feel much better that I can’t get this from video games.

It’s true that we can do some other activities like sports or workout or read. However, sometimes, I just need a small activity before I can go to sleep.

Some of these games offers a puzzle to solve which could exhaust my mind. With physical product, they require some setup before we can play, even just moving pieces, shuffling deck, and put them back into the box. All of these can help me exhaust my body a bit which is good to get better sleep.

For people who are lucky enough, maybe they can play this game with someone they care about. It is a good way to spend time together, with more direct interaction than the smartphone can ever do.

If you have another suggestion for similar games like Villages of Valeria, please do share via the comment section below. I would love to give it a try, assuming I can get a copy of it.

Also, if you want to share your thoughts, experience or any info regarding Villages of Valeria game, don’t hesitate to share them below. I would appreciate that.

This article and this website is just my notes about what I can find from the internet. Hopefully this can help other people who are planning to buy the game. Thanks for reading.

 

 

Mark M.

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