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Italia - A game of culture, economics, war, and diplomacy

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JordanTWilson's picture
Joined: 12/15/2015

I've been working on a board game for several months, and in the last couple months have moved into frequent testing. My friends seem to have a lot of fun playing it (but, of course, those are my friends), so I thought I'd describe the basic idea here and see if people have any comments:

The concept is that each player is an Italian renaissance city-state (Milan, Genoa, Venice, Florence, or Modena), attempting to gain 'Prestige' - the game is won by collecting the most prestige. Play happens on a map of Northern Italy, with miniatures for each player (by color), as well as a few decks of cards for events and to represent great artists.
Prestige can be gained through building/maintaining buildings like cathedrals/opera houses, from winning battles, and from commissioning great works of art from artists (Donatello, Monteverdi, etc), along with a few other opportunities that pop up throughout the game.

One of the other main functions within the game is the alliance and subsidy system. The basic idea is that while the city states are powerful, the likes of France and Austria within Europe are overwhelmingly more powerful, and so players can throughout the game align themselves with various major powers to receive subsidies and protection from them, BUT at times these come with various restrictions on actions, and other positive and negative factors that regularly change through event cards.
Players can also choose to be 'unaligned'; basically telling the world that they are a 'big boy' country all on their own, and while they then forfeit the subsidies, it gives them extra prestige, and additional actions they can take.

The overall strategy ends up being a question of how to turn your money into prestige in the most effective way, while reacting to your neighbors around you. Do you invest in your economy? Culture? Military? All can be routes to winning, and most players will need to mix at least a bit of each within their strategy to come out on top.

So! Like I said at the beginning, I've been testing and tweaking for a few months, and I think it's reaching a pretty fun level, with a game usually taking about 1.5+ hours. I'm hoping to do a few more tests soon, and then move to making several prototypes to send out for testers. I'm open to any comments/questions/suggestions you might have!

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