Those horrible other villages… in Village Pillage!

Vaughn Reynolds

This game live on Kickstarter now! I was lucky enough to snag a demo copy from the folks at Jellybean Games, and I absolutely LOVE it! My wife and I can’t get enough of it. She’s even mentioned strategy over breakfast (which is very unlike her) and when waiting for a meal out to dinner, she exclaimed we should have brought it along (also very unlike her)!

So, without more of my babbling… here’s a bit from Jellybean about Village Pillage

It’s another beautiful day in the village! Your farmer is hard-working and defenseless, your wall is strong and true, your raider is a plucky underdog, and your merchant is hiring the finest folk that turnips can buy.

Everything is perfect…except for those HORRIBLE OTHER VILLAGES! Ugh, you hate them so much!

But you’ve got a plan to rise above these petty squabbles. You’re going to become a KINGDOM. 

In Village Pillage, you’re racing your neighbors to acquire 3 relics and prove your right to rule. Each turn, everybody simultaneously plays cards against both their neighbors. It’s rock-paper-scissors meets the prisoner’s dilemma…with turnips!

If you think your opponents are planning to farm, raid them! If they’re planning an attack, man the walls! And if they’re putting up defenses: it’s farming time.

Buy more powerful cards to improve your hand, and start building up your turnip collection! Once you have enough, you need to send your vulnerable merchant to buy a relic. And your neighbors know that. But you know they know that. But they know you know they know that…

Ahem… well, that got out of hand… so, let’s just move on to my breakdown of the gameplay for a 2 player game! (Note: the game works well at all player amounts, which is rare!)

2-player Setup:

Each player begins the game with 4 cards. 1 of each of the main Villagers: The Army, the Wall, the Trader, and the Farmer!

Plus, there are many other Villagers you can hire down the road from the Market!

(Remember, this is a demo copy, with some art being just sketches!)

Next, each player will grab 2 Turnip tokens, a Vault card, and stare longingly at the 3 Relic tokens they will need to collect to win!

The play area for a 2-player game will look like this! Notice that 1 Turnip token is on your Vault card, and 1 is vulnerable out in your Stockpile. This is important because certain cards, like the Army, Steals Turnips… but she can’t make it into the Vault, and only steals from the Stockpile!

For your first turn in a 2-player game, you choose TWO Villagers. One will go up front, closer to your opponent, which will resolve first, and the second, which will resolve on the following turn, goes behind it. This element is different from the 3-6 player versions and definitely makes the strategy quite different!

2-Player Gameplay:

In this example, player 1 (on the bottom) chose the Farmer as their first card, and player 2 (at the top) chose that dang Army! Double dangit!

Let’s take a closer look at these Villagers!

The suspicious ‘ol Farmer with her valuable chicken will earn you 3 Turnips when facing any type of Villager. Note the 4 icons in a column on the lower left of the card. These represent which Villagers her ability with trigger against.

The angry Army isn’t as versatile, and only works when faced with a Farmer or Trader, because they can only pick on people weaker than themselves (jerks)… but when they do face them, they STEAL 4 Turnips! Ouch!

The main component of the strategy is the order in which Villagers resolve! The bottom of every Vault card shows it, and the order is:

Farmer > Wall > Army > Trader

Because of this, the first card to resolve is the Farmer. So, player 1 joyfully takes 3 Turnip tokens from the Supply and adds them to their Stockpile, next to their Vault.

Then player 2’s dang Army resolves and they Steal 4 Turnips from player 1’s poor, gentle, sweet, totally not an evil witch Farmer! How rude!

So, at the end of turn 1, player 1 is stuck with 1 Turnip and player 2 is sitting pretty at 6! Now we take our Villager that just resolved and place it back into our hand, then slide the facedown Villager we placed earlier, forward.

We then choose a new Villager from our hand (of 3) and place it behind the facedown card we just moved forward. This is where the strategy really kicks in. Whoever we chose turn one to resolve turn two was made not knowing who the opponent was going to use! Some well-laid plans can easily become unraveled! And some windfalls can happen as well. It’s quite exciting!

Let’s see who player 1 and player 2 chose as their second Villager…

Oh man, it seems they both chose the Trader! Player 1 hadn’t been expecting that Army to Steal their Turnips!

But luckily, both of the Traders will resolve! Below you can see a close up of player 1’s situation on the left and player 2’s situation on the right.

Player 1 has 1 Turnip, while player 2 has 6 Turnips.

 

Notice that the Trader doesn’t have any icons on the bottom left of her card, which means her abilities always resolve… if they can be paid for, that is. Also, since both players played the same Villager type, in what order do they resolve? Well, for the purposes of the Trader, it’s the player with the least number of Turnips. A wise game design decision as it affords those who are behind a slight advantage in some cases.

But what does the Trader do? Well, the Trader’s abilities read left to right: Buy Relic / If Unable: Buy Card for 1 Turnip. As player 1 has less Turnips, they go first.

As you can see on the right side (in purple) of the Vault card, the cost of the first Relic is 6. Player 1 doesn’t have 6 Turnips, so, they cannot buy a Relic. Which means, they now buy 1 card from the Market for 1 Turnip.

Player 1 is still salty after being bullied by the Army round 1, so they decide to pick up an Outlaw, to hit player 2 where it hurts… the Turnip Stockpile!

The Market is immediately refilled from the top of the deck and the Outlaw is placed directly into player 1’s hand of cards. Player 1 takes their 1 Turnip and pays it to the Supply.

Then it’s player 2’s turn to resolve their Trader. As we saw earlier, step 1 is to Buy Relic. The Relic for player 2 will cost 6 Turnips, and they have 6 Turnips, so they must buy the Relic. If you can afford it, you cannot opt to buy a card from the Market instead!

So, below you can see what both players have purchased! (although I forgot to remove the Turnip from player 1’s Vault, whoops! Cheater!)

Play continues like this until 1 player has all 3 Relics and is crowned victorious! 🎉🎉🎉

A typical 2-player game takes about 10-15 minutes. If you get really thinky-thinky it could take 30 minutes, but that’d be a lot of thinky. This game is about action and excitement! And, if you lose, just shuffle up and play again! Fast, fun and addicting!

Make sure to check it out on Kickstarter now!

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