Have you ever played a game that was so interesting and in-depth that it kept you up thinking about what you could have done differently? To me that’s the sign of a great game that creates a rich experience. I want to introduce you to a game called The Voyages of Marco Polo.
Let me tell you a story. A few weeks ago my family and I were in the middle of what has become a fairly regular tradition as of late; Sunday night games. The game that had hit the table was our current feature The Voyages of Marco Polo. Myself, my wife and her parents were playing the game and it was apparent from very early on that my wife and her father were going to win this encounter. The real competition was finding out which of the two were going to emerge victorious.
More and more points were scored, the two meeples raced around the board and the end of the game drew close. After the dust had settled my wife was ahead of her father by 4 points and claimed a sweet, sweet victory. One thing I forgot to mention is that certain players if they achieve the goal of making it to Beijing (you travel through Asia during play) you can get victory points for leftover resources. Not all players have this ability and my wife had not reached Beijing. My father in law had. After we had brushed our teeth and laid in bed we heard a gentle knock on our bedroom door (this was almost 15 minutes after the game had ended and everyone had gone to bed) “Yes?” my wife called. We heard the soft voice of her Father in Law utter “I…I think I won. Don’t I get bonus victory points for my resources at the end of the game?” I immediately jumped out of bed and ran to the still set up board. “You sure do!” I said gleefully hoping to be able to spoil the victory (and minutes of bragging) of my wife that night. After the total tally my Father in Law still lost by one point but it illustrated an important point about this game…it’s a great play.
The Voyages of Marco Polo is a resource management, action selection, worker placement game that uses player’s personal supply of dice as the workers. You start off with a player board, a contract to complete that will give you victory points and a character that will give you certain special abilities. You can play as Matteo Polo, Kublai Khan and a host of other notable names.
You will place your dice on certain spots around the board to collect (surprise, surprise) victory points. You will travel across Asia and complete contracts and try to collect as many points as possible. There are many different avenues to victory. Each time you enter a city you unlock new actions to take and new possibilities for winning.
One of the tricky parts of this game is learning to be efficient. You only have 5 rounds to travel to different locations and complete enough contracts to win. This puzzle and race to the finish will create a much deeper experience and gameplay. (So deep that your Father in Law may knock your door in demand a recount!)
This game is a brain burner that will keep you coming back for more time and time again. The difficulty to master this game is a big draw for me. As far as components go the game is absolutely gorgeous. The design was very well done, and Z-Man games gets to add another winner to their catalog of all star performers.
This game is said to have some elements of Ticket to Ride which on a smaller scale is very true, and elements of Lords of Waterdeep which I feel is less accurate. I will say however that this game is a bit more advanced than the games on my “Start your collecion” article. So if you’ve played some starting games and are ready for a more difficult challenge the game offers a fantastic option.
If you can find a copy and are looking for a great family experience that all will love I believe this game is a good one for you. The theme is very cool, and the game is just fun to play. I’ve posted a how to play vide0 to help clarify some rules. If you have any questions or concerns you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my article and until next time we’ll see you at the table!