Klaus-Jürgen Wrede

AMIGO 2007 2007




G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game :

In Venedig 2-5 players take part in the foundation and growth of famous Venice. They build new houses, palaces, bridges and marketplaces in five different quarters of the town that are divided by the famous canals of Venice. Coming in one of AMIGO's "big boxes", the board of Venedig is huge and clearly arranged with a simple but functional design which can also be found on the 42 cards of the game. The different kinds of buildings that can be placed on the board are wooden pieces which can easily be distinguished by form and colour. Finally, the last components of the game are small disks representing Gold and swamplands (both also with a functional design), wooden Gondolas that show the players´ score during the game and a wooden figure of a Builder for each type of buildings which may be built.


As usual with most boardgames, playing preparations begin with setting up the board by placing some of the buildings on given spaces. All other places on the islands are filled with face-down swampland disks that have been randomly shuffled. So, as might be guessed by this setup constellation, the players will have to dry up a swampland before playing a new building. Each player gets three random building cards for his hand, chooses one colour and places his Gondola at the start of the movement track which serves as a scale for the victory points and the progression of the game. Also, the figures of the Builders are placed at their respective starting points.

The turn of a player always has three action phases:

In the first phase a player plays as many building cards as he wishes and places them in front of himself on the table, separating them into the five different building types. All building cards show:

  • The type of the building,
  • the number of cards that is necessary to finish the building,
  • the number of necessary building spaces on the board and
  • the "Gondola movement points" awarded for finishing and placing the building on the board.
A player who has most building cards for a specific type of buildings in front of himself may take the Builder figure corresponding to that type of buildings. He now assumes the role of the Builder for that building unless an other player should succeed in collecting more cards for that building type than the current Builder. However, a building is finished when there is exactly the necessary number of cards for the building type on the table. Here the cards of all players are summed up, so that a building very often is finished with the aid of several players. Now the player with the Builder figure for that building will decide where the building is placed and gets the "Gondola movement points" as shown on the card. All other players who helped with this building project are awarded half of the "Gondola movement points" and put their Gondolas forward after the player with the Builder. However, before the Gondolas are moved the gold disks come into play. If one of the player's Gondolas stands next to the island with the new building, that player gets a gold disk with a value between 3 and 6 gold coins.

Concerning the choice of a building site, it should be added here that the different types of buildings have different methods for calculating the award of "Gondola movement points" which is distributed upon erecting such a building. For example, a Palazzo confers one point for each empty or swamplands space neighbouring the building, whereas a Campo functions the other way round and confers points for each neighbouring space containing a building.

After the building phase a player may dry up a maximum of two swampland areas by removing the swampland disks from the board. On the backside of these disks there are gold coins too. These gold coins can be used in a player's turn to move forward the Gondola by one step. Each additional step costs 5 coins, whether they come from taking a swampland disk or the clever positioning of the Gondola during the building phase.

Last but not least the player draws a new card or takes an open card from a depot to re-fill his hand. Also, he has the possibility to place one of his cards in the depot. In this case he may take three new cards up to the limit of five cards in hand.

The game ends, if one player reaches the final score of 60 (on the Gondola movement track) or if the last building of one type has been put on the board. Now all players may spend their last gold coins to move forward their Gondolas. The player whose gondola is in lead wins the game.


Venedig is a is an elegant game that has an interesting tile-laying mechanism due to the fact that several players may participate in each building process. With this element tactics come into play, and some planning is necessary to win the game since sheer luck will not be sufficient. My first impression is that the game is well-balanced, since players who have fallen a bit behind always have the chance to catch up again with the leader (although some real bad luck and timing for most of the game may spoil a player's chances to win…).

Thus, I think that the game will find its fans, although I am a bit doubtful whether the game can kindle long-time fascination on me. There is not really a dazzling element in the game, and maybe the design could have been made in a way to improve the atmosphere of the game. But despite of these weaker points, the game has left a good impression on me and will not vanish in a dark corner of my shelf…

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2007 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany