Our The Castles of Tuscany review, what we have to say about the intense strategic resource management tile laying game from the creator of The Castles of Burgundy, Stefan Feld. Each player gets a mix of territory group tiles to form a 3 panel personal board. This is made up of 1 of 8 types (different colors) in combinations of 1, 2 or 3 space groupings. You are taking turns grabbing these regions from a communal pile – prepping for, taking and placing into your region over several steps. Each region placed triggers a completely different effect which helps make your workflow of doing this better in some way.
There is a lot to this one, but it is easy to play and great fun. It promises to be for someone that loved The Castles of Burgundy, and it succeeds, but this is a good one for everyone. We took a look across fun, replayability, player interaction, quality and art & style to come up with the overall score for our The Castles of Tuscany review. See the breakdown by category below.
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– CATEGORY BREAKDOWN –
Fun (7 out of 10)
For the fun section of the Castles of Tuscany review, we award a great 7 out of 10. For a game that seems simple, only having one of four choices to make each tun, there is so much tricky balance and complexity here. As long as you go in expecting a very rich management game, yes, you will in fact have good fun.
Each player has their own individual cluster of region tiles that they lightly arrange into their area to fill. This is done by, over several steps and turns, bringing in one of the seven different types. The hook is that each of these very different types that help you get clusters and victory points triggers an effect. There are many different parts of your machine and each one of these is a different way to improve it. There is so much to wrangle in this game but it does a good job of balancing everything and that is why it is so successful in delivering a fun experience.
Replayability (7 out of 10)
For the replayability section of the Castles of Tuscany review, we award a wonderful 7 out of 10. Pretty much everything about this game will change from one to the next and there is absolutely no semblance of a clear path for you to take. These two things clashing together here make games indistinguishable from one game to the next. There are a few key things that outweigh and are going to be consistent, like you always want to rush to red tiles and of the five improvement drafting choices and you always want additional cards and space over the others, but since there is still so much change, this is very easy to play over and over.
You get points by filling up your region which is a mix of 1, 2 and 3 space groupings. Just the slight changes (a combination of random and player choice) in this space from game to game will force you to completely rearrange your strategy. Then there are the public resource tiles you are bringing into your grid. There are many and it is a constant battle for them, your approach from one game to the next is very different and there is so much pivoting to do in order to make a path to victory.
Player Interaction (6 out of 10)
For the player interaction section of the Castles of Tuscany review, we award a great 6 out of 10. For a personal area resource management game like this, player interaction is not something that immediately comes to mind, but for the genre, this title is a step above the others out there. You only have one action to take each turn and how you choose to interact with the 8 available public tiles at the time can shift everything.
There are many different resources and many different steps to successfully get them into your region. It is an easy thing to do but it is just tough to navigate. Closing your opponents off to something in lieu of doing something else could be a complete game-changer. You cannot only worry about your own region and expect to win. Not only are you fighting over region tiles, but you are fighting over other resources that are going to improve your machine.
Quality (6 out of 10)
For the quality section of the Castles of Tuscany review, we award a solid 6 out of 10. For a game that is more on the intense side of games, one of the best indicators of quality is balanced. If you have many paths to victory, you better make sure they are all equally good paths or it is going to be a lame rush for one. It is hard to applaud loud enough for the balance the creators struck here. The actions are easy, like Splendor, Carcassonne and Ticket To Ride easy, but what makes this game intense are all the dramatic effects that each action trigger and the far-reaching effects they have on the game. The domino effect of everything that happens is so robust and needs to be wielded masterfully to reach success.
We also cannot speak about quality without speaking of the components and production run. Everything is above average but nothing groundbreaking or over the top. There are tons of pieces, all of a solid quality, and given how much they get mixed up in the game, there is a good system to pick up and put everything away.
Art & Style (8 out of 10)
For the art & style section of the Castles of Tuscany review, we award a great 8 out of 10. When there is this much going on, the name of the game is sorting information. You need to easily convey lots of rules and steps, but you need to not make things messy. The art team did a great job with this. Each resource you play triggers a different rule and each personal player board really depicts this well through iconography. Each piece graphically guides you through the game well.
There is not much to the art itself. It has a medieval theme and is executed as well as anything else. One impressive thing of note, this is one of the nicest looking board games on our shelves. The subtle emerald green tone with the bold lion door knocker symbol is classy and bold. Love this artwork by Antje Stephan and Claus Stephan.
– IN CLOSING –
The Castles of Tuscany Review | Board Game Halv
The Castles of Tuscany is a great heavy strategic management game that anyone could enjoy, but especially anyone who enjoyed this designer's previous game The Castles of Burgundy. Even though the gameplay is incredibly simple, either taking or placing a tile, every action triggers and an immense slew of different domino effects that you will need to help you craft your overall strategy. This has been our The Castles of Tuscany review, we hope you have enjoyed it!
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