Gold, silver and jewels are in abundance in the legendary valley of Valdora. So, the valdora board game is just the right place for adventurers and fortune seekers. Unfortunately, your fellow players know that too….
In the strategy game Valdora, the aim is to extract the most wealth from the mines of the valley, which is rich in mineral resources, and to market it in the best possible way.
Of course, in order to mine the various precious metals and gems, you need the right equipment, and that has to be purchased first.
In addition, every fortune seeker also needs solvent customers to whom the treasures can be sold. And since processed jewels and metals are of course worth much more, it is definitely worth opening one or two specialised workshops.
But who will be the winner in the end, the richest woman or man in the Valdora board game?
Note: We kindly received a review copy of Valdora from Abacusspiele-Verlag. However, this article is unpaid and reflects our own opinions.
The game board of Valdora is handy, clearly arranged and set up quite quickly. According to the instructions, open books with mixed stacks of equipment cards or order cards are placed in some cities. On the squares between the cities, 6 gems or precious metals are placed at random.
Then each player chooses a colour and places their piece in the middle city. In addition, each player receives his own gold pan in his colour as his first piece of equipment. Initially, you can only mine or collect gold.
The adventurer card is placed with the side without provisions facing up. The starting player receives one silver coin as starting capital. To compensate for the advantage of the first turn, everyone receives one coin more than their predecessor in the first round.
The corresponding craftsmen’s tokens are distributed around the hexagonal craftsmen’s board as specified.
A turn always consists of a movement and an action. A player can theoretically leave the latter (although that would be unwise play), but he must move and also not end up on the same square again.
You can only move along the given roads, theoretically as far as you like if you have provisions. But if you don’t have them, as at the beginning and most of the time, your movement ends in the next town at the latest.
If you want to place your piece on a square where another piece is already standing, you have to pay that player a coin. If you cannot do this, you cannot enter the field. The exception is the silver mines, where any number of players can stay at the same time without paying.
Which actions are available to a player depends on the one hand on which type of field he has moved and on the other hand on his equipment and the amount of money he has.
On a road field you can charge gems or metals, but only 1 of each type and only if you have the corresponding equipment available. So at the beginning, each player can only charge 1 gold.
In 2 cities you can buy equipment. Turning the page once is always free, for each additional turn in the equipment cards you have to pay 1 silver coin to the bank. Simple equipment items cost a lump of gold. The horse and the cart allow you to load any treasure instead of a specific one, but you have to add some silver when you buy these pieces of equipment.
Attention: you are only allowed to own each piece of equipment 1 time!
Even in real life, treasures only bring you as much as someone is willing to pay for them. However, the currency that you get for collected treasures in Valdora is not more silver coins but tangible victory points and craftsman tokens. To get these, however, you first have to buy an order in one of the two cities with the order books for one silver coin each. The same rules apply for leafing through the order books as for the equipment.
If you have a matching order card and the matching treasure, you can complete this order on the field with the house of the orderer. You receive the number of victory points printed on the order card (3 or 15) and a matching craftsman tile. If you are the first player to have a certain number of craftsmen’s tokens of one colour, you can take the corresponding workshop and receive 10 extra points for each order of this house or gem from now on.
You can increase your stock of silver coins in one of the silver mines. Here you are allowed to fill up your account to 6 coins. None of the players may have more coins at once.
If you arrive in a city, you can also decide to fill up your provisions here instead of shopping. This enables a player to move beyond a city in one of the next moves, i.e. de facto to enter any playing field.
The Valdora board game ends when only one colour of artisan tile remains next to the artisan board. However, the round is still played to the end so that each player has had an equal number of turns.
Now all players add up their victory points. Depending on the difficulty, the completed tasks bring 3 or 15 points. 4 of the 6 possible workshops bring 5 points each, the bonus tiles for the orders completed with the matching workshop count as 10 points and each gem still in the player’s possession brings 1 victory point.
We tested the Valdora board game with four players and after some experiences with rather complicated strategy games, we found it very pleasant that the rules can be grasped very quickly.
The overall presentation of the game material is also appealing. While you can start playing fairly quickly, it takes a little while for the game to pick up speed. This is because Valdora includes a deckbuilding element with the equipment cards. The more you have of them and of the orders, the faster you progress.
Thus, the strategic appeal of the game also lies in thinking carefully about which equipment and which orders to concentrate on, while also keeping an eye on the actions of the other players. If, for example, another player already has a ruby workshop tile and wants to charge another ruby, he will probably be the first to get hold of the second one and thus take over the ruby workshop. Then it may make sense to use one or two more coins to get to another order, etc.
However, there is no real interaction between the players; everyone basically works alone and in competition with the others to increase their victory points. Elements of variety in several games are provided by the different mix of treasures on the road squares and the cards in the equipment and order books.
Valdora is a beautifully designed family game with quick-to-learn rules and strategic appeal. As well as clever strategy, you also need luck to win, and it’s a good introduction for families with children to the world of strategic board games.
Valdora is not the first game by successful game designer Michael Schacht that we have tried out. His internationally successful Zooloretto board game is highly recommended!
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