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Margraves of Valeria is a hand-building worker-placement game set in the fantasy world of Valeria. It's the fifth stand-alone game in the series and brings the familiar feel of the previous games (with icons, characters, and easy turns) while building on familiar mechanics you'd expect (off-turn bonuses, multi-use cards, and resource-management).
You are a Margrave, a military commander tasked with defending the land of Valeria and building magical Ward Towers at cities. Knights in Valeria can be commanded by you or your fellow Margraves to slay monsters or activate locations in an effort to gain influence over the 4 Guilds: Worker, Soldier, Shadow, and Holy. As you gain influence, you'll cross thresholds that will earn you privilege tiles which give you bonuses.
At the end of the game, you'll earn victory points based on how much influence you have over a Guild and how many icons you've gained of that Guild. The Margrave with the most victory points at the end of the game will be named a Duke or Duchess and given their own province to protect and grow!
Turns are deceptively simple as you only get to play 1 Citizen card from your hand. Each card can be played for action icons in the pennant (top-left), power text (at the bottom), or played face-down to perform one of the two actions on your player board (Recall your cards or Build a Ward Tower).
Key features include:
- Hand Building - Much like deck-building, you are drafting cards into your hand increasing your powers, victory points, and options.
- Multi-use Cards - Each card can be used in one of four ways, leaving you a lot of decision-making room to execute your strategy.
- Worker-Placement - Each time you move your Margrave or a Knight into a location, you activate the power of that location much like a worker placement game.
- Shared Workers - The Knights on the game board do not belong to a single player (anyone can use them) so be careful not to setup your opponents with powerful turns.
- Resource Management - You have limited storage spots on your player board and using them effectively (without wasting tokens) is key to winning the game.
- Hero Tombs - As you send Knights into battle, they die glorious deaths and are sent to tombs where you can collect bonuses in a well-integrated mini-game.
- Influence Track - Gain influence over the 4 Guilds by moving your markers across the tracks which will earn you more victory points at the end of the game for icons you collect.
- Fantastic Art - As with previous Valeria games, the Mico has really outdone himself by creating a rich and dynamic world full of color and life.