Looking out your window at the snow-covered landscape bathed in the moonlight, watching the ice crystals twinkle their beautiful show you wonder if you have what it takes to lead your people. Do they trust you enough? Have you even earned it? What makes you think you understand this game of politics and can safely navigate it to protect Laan and bring her out of the cold, dark despair your predecessor has drug her into and back to an age of prosperity that will allow its citizens to be healthy, fruitful and happy? With a grimace, you turn back to your desk, sit in your brown leather chair and start to pour over the important documents that demand you attention. These are the days your legacy will be formed upon. Your opponents will take every shot they can at you. You must build the best team of people you can and consolidated as much power as possible. Today is the mantle you bear is a heavy one and soon you will define what it means to be Viceroy!
Publisher: Hobby World LLC
Game Designer: Yuri Zhuravlev
Artwork: Illya Komarov (Cover Art)
Players: 1 – 4 Players
Playing Time: 45 – 60 Minutes
Game Mechanics: auction/bidding, set collection
Contents: 60 character cards, 20 law cards, 4 auction cards, 64 gemstones, 33 double-sided magic/science tokens, 17 double-sided attack/defense tokens, 54 power point tokens, 24 bonus tokens for magic, 12 bonus tokens for circles, 2 player screens and 1 rule book
Suggested Retail Price: not available in America yet
Parental Advisory: safe for kids
Viceroy is a game published by Hobby World LLC out of Russia with such other titles as their popular Beserk series and Hollywood: How To Make a Movie Blockbuster. In Viceroy, player compete to be the most powerful politician to be named the Viceroy at the end of the game by amassing the most power points. Viceroy is a strong game that plays very deep and is very easy to learn and understand. It is one of my favorite games of the year, if not my favorite game this year.
Viceroy is a card game that plays like a board game with two different phases. The Auction Phase and the Building Phase. The auction phases allows the players to purchase character cards in which they develop their strategy. The building phase allows the players to build their pyramid (up to five levels) and try to utilize all the features of the character card as efficiently as possible. The game itself moves very quickly and can be over before you know it so planning during these two phases is critical.
The Auction Phase – Players all bid with a closed fist based on the four gem cards pictured above and the character cards both above and below it. Players bid on the character card and its powers based on which level of the pyramid the player plans on building and bids the appropriate colored gem according to which one the character cards resided next to. The character cards have special abilities based on the level of the pyramid they are built on. The portions of colored circles on the upper corners and bottom of the cards are also important as they are used to possibly garner additional victory points at the end of the game. During the bidding phase, if more than player bids the same color, they both lose their bid and another round of begging. This keeps going for up to three attempts. Players may pass and if they do, they get 3 gems of any color. Once a player has passed or has purchased a character card, they are out of the bidding until the next round.
The Building Phase – Players may build one section of their pyramid during this phase. There is no limit to how wide they can build it, just how tall. Players may not place cards in between other cards. They must go on the sides or on top of already placed cards. They may build character cards or law cards. Law cards are cards with special text abilities but also with the colored circle portions to try to create a full circle of the same color. Law cards are free to build. Character cards cost the amount listed on the left side of the card up to the level on the pyramid they build it. The bottom gem color is the cost for the 1st level, The 2nd level costs both the 1st and 2nd level gems and so on up to the 5th level. Once built, the player receives the bonus only listed on the level built. If a card is built on the 5th level, the player pays the cost of all four colored gems and an additional 4th level gem but receives all the special abilities listed on the card. The idea is build a pyramid that best utilize the colors, abilities and potential victory point game by matching colors and symbols to the special abilities.
There are many different tokens that give additional power points by either matching the symbols or by collecting sets. The symbol tokens all have special abilities of their own. The Scroll (magic) gives victory for as many single scroll tokens on your pyramid that match the scroll/power point token. The Gear symbol provides an extra gem during a players passing turn for each Gear symbol on their pyramid. The Sword symbol token attack for a -4 power points for each sword not blocked a Shield Token. Each Sword must be blocked by a separate Shield to be blocked. The Shield, Scroll and Shield form a set. Each set scores points at the end of the game.
The above is a quick overview of the game. There is much more depth and strategy in this game than players realize at first. The game last 12 rounds which are determined as the cards are put out under the gem cards. Each round, four cards are laid out under the gem cards. The previous cards are moved up above the gem cards. The next round, all the top cards are discarded and four more come out.
I have had the pleasure of teaching this game to many, many different gamers and each one of them loved it and were disappointed it’s not out in the US. I demoed it at the Geek Media Expo this year and it was the most popular game I demoed. This one kept coming back out for more and always drew attention on the table. Viceroy feels like a euro built into a card game. It plays simple as it is only two phases, but trying to get the cards you need while competing with other players vying for the same cards takes patience and gems are a commodity that must be managed appropriately. You must have the gems to purchase and build the cards you need. Learning to manage your gems and when to pass for more gems or build for more is very important. Early on in the game, finding infinity gems and amassing gems are critical to being able to keep building and acquire the cards you want.
Law cards are another aspect of the game that can provide lots of power points at the end of the game. Do not take these lightly. Learn to be efficient with these and remember they are free to build.
The artwork in Viceroy is very, very good. the quality of components are high quality. The cards while not thick, seem very sturdy and haven’t shown any signs of wear yet. The tokens are thick and easy to identify. The player shields are exactly what you expect.
One of the things that stands out most to me about Viceroy is that it feels completely unique to me. Both in the way it plays and the way it looks. I can’t think of another game that it reminds me of and that alone is a major thing to applaud Hobbyworld on.
Viceroy has quickly become a go-to game for me. It’s quick at 45 – 60 minutes, it’s strategic, easy to teach, quick to set up and is gorgeous on the table. If you like games that make you think but still play at a good pace than this is a great fit for you. Viceroy feels like you have played a good game and it’s short enough for you to play a few in an evening. It’s a very satisfying gaming experience for me. This would make a great fit to any game night and it’s a strong candidate for new gamers to learn what modern games really bring to the table. The different strategies make this game very re-playable and since all the cards aren’t necessarily played throughout each game, this lends itself to lot of table time.
There are a lot of average games coming out these days but Viceroy isn’t one of them. Viceroy stands tall on it’s on and deserves a lot more attention than it is getting. Please make sure to let Hobbyworld know if you are interested in this game. They links are provided below.
Club Fantasci Scoring (Based on scale of 10):
Rules Book: 8
Component Quality: 8
Club Fantasci Overall Score:8.25
I am giving Viceroy 8.25 out 10 stars because it really brings great gaming to the forefront in a very easy to learn package. The fact that you can get this much game in such a quick time frame and small box is a big plus for me. Viceroy will always have a place in my collection and it should in yours as well.
This game is Club Fantasci Certified!
Company Website: http://international.hobbyworld.ru/
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Note: A review copy of this game was provided to me.
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