Today we played Valetta, a game by Stefan Dorra, illustrated by the inimitable Klemens Franz and published by ZMan. As usual, the team had a few things to say:
Olivier said: In Valletta, you play as predominant Maltese families attempting to build the city of Valletta in the 16th century. The game is based on intelligent deckbuilding, which allows you to construct buildings while adding a new card into their hand, which can be played immediately if you so choose. The game resembles Mombasa, but with a few interesting refinements. Visually, it’s very Klemens Franz: love it or hate it, it won’t plunge you into the universe of the game but it does the job. The end of the game is very well designed: each player reshuffles their deck completely, then plays until all of their cards have been exhausted, allowing them to benefit from the combos they built over the course of the game one last time. I really enjoyed it and would definitely play it again.
Jamie said: I do like a good deckbuilder, especially an exciting, combo-based one where the results of your actions can reach ridiculous proportions. Now looking at the game this may sound outrageous, but that’s what Valletta is, all married with a pretty good “I can do Excel spreadsheets in my head” Eurogame. What really got me though were some of the slight tweaks Valletta makes to the genre: getting to play acquired cards immediately means you get to set up some very gratifying turns and gives a lot of gravitas to each purchase you make. The end of the game is also well thought out with players immediately reshuffling their decks/discard pile and playing until nobody has any cards left. This means that even cards acquired later on in the game can have a suitable impact. When you do eventually play your last card you feel like you’ve really squeezed your deck for every last drop of gameplay, leaving you feeling incredibly satisfied, win or lose.