Overview: Council of Verona is a micro card game by Crash Games with a Romeo and Juliet theme. The first in their “Pub series”, Council of Verona aims to be a quick and small game that can be brought anywhere. At the start, each player is dealt one random card. In a drafting card style, the first player picks up the rest of the cards in the deck and chooses one. They get passed around and each person chooses one until the last player has two cards left to choose. They pick one and discard the other which is removed from the game. Gameplay is simple, play a card in either exile or council, optionally use an ability on the card (if there is one), then optionally play an hidden influence token (victory points at the end). Some cards have agendas on them and places for the tokens. For example, one agenda card says “More exiled than on council”, so if you place an influence token on there and that agenda is fulfilled at end of game, you would get those points. Ultimate goal of the game is to get victory points by placing influence tokens on agenda cards and having those cards be fulfilled at the end of the game. Player with most influence points, wins.
Council of Verona is a fantastic micro game that combines strategy with short gameplay. The drafting mechanism at the beginning is smart and allows players to plan ahead their turns. Each card either has an ability or agenda; the abilities are activated optionally by the player who played the card and can have actions such as “Move 1 exile to council” or “Swap two influence tokens.” This is where the strategy shines. Do you save your good abilities to ensure victory on the agenda cards or do you focus on going along with the masses by putting influence tokens on a card that already has some. There’s 3 spots on each agenda card for tokens, so it’s important to place tokens on ones you think will be fulfilled by the end. Or save your swap ability and reap the benefits while also hurting other players.
The strategy is much deeper than I imagined when first playing the game. This game is much more enjoyable than Love Letter because you have more choices due to holding 3 cards (4 in a 3 player game), and having the drafting component at the beginning. At times it can seem like the swap influence cards (there are two) can be too powerful, especially the person who is going after the person with the other swap influence cards. However, the more players you have, the harder it will be to determine which agendas will be fulfilled. Another small caveat is the last player (if they played optimally) can change quite a bit on their last turn. Thankfully, each player has one more chance to place one influence token after the last card is played. This helps balance out the power of the last player. Council of Verona is short, full of strategy, and a great edition to anyone’s small games library.
2 Player Experience
I was surprised with how fun Council of Verona was with only two players. Two player is a variant as you do not start with a drafting mechanism. Each other gets dealt 5 cards, two of which they send to the next player. Also, three cards are removed randomly from the game. Because of this, the agenda “Romeo is with Juliet” may not even be feasible if Juliet is removed from the game and vice versa. This adds to the game since you have to play smart and not assume an agenda can be fulfilled. Two player works well and shouldn’t be ignored.
4 Player Experience
I expected four player to be the optimal number and it does not disappoint. It is much harder to complete agendas, which placing and swapping influence tokens very important. As players only have three influence tokens (one of them being zero), one can bluff other players into thinking they want that agenda by placing the token (even though it might be a zero). The bluffing aspect with more players makes Council of Verona very enjoyable with four players.