This creation of Vital Lacerda, published by Eagle-Gryphon Games, is a fun, deep game about…rebuilding the capital of Portugal after the great earthquake of 1755. Wait, what?
Yes, it’s true. I was fortunate enough to happen across the guys who run the Rocket City Gamefest in Huntsville, AL at Atlanta Gamefest recently. They took the time to teach me this great game.
On November 1, 1755, Lisboa suffered an earthquake of an estimated magnitude of 8.5–9.0, followed by a devastating tsunami and 3 days of raging fires. The city was almost totally destroyed.
Players represent the nobility of Lisboa working restore their city. Play occurs on a big board (with period-appropriate art) that includes a representation of the new downtown, an influence track, a price track for the goods, and an area of the court where you can use your influence to solicit help from the leaders directing the restoration of the city. Player cards allow you to track your ships, warehouses, architects, and abilities etc.
There is a lot to track, so your first few turns may feel like drinking out of a fire hose. However, the simplicity of the mechanics (you play a single card each turn) lets you focus on what is happening rather than how to play the game.
Of course, that simple card play opens the door to many options – buying a ship (which gives you influence, but also gives your competitors a place to sell their goods), building shops or public buildings (which require you to clear rubble from the disasters), producing goods, going to court to work with master planner or the marquis or the cardinal, hiring architects, selling goods, gaining influence, acquiring abilities, etc.
Victory points (wigs) are gained in a variety of ways, including: the hull size of the ships you own, how much rubble you have cleared, your buildings, decree cards (special conditions that allow you to score points – these can drive your strategy or be chosen to take advantage of the strategy you are pursuing), the amount of money you have, how many public officials you have put to work, and royal favors that you are still owed (i.e. that you have not used).
You probably have a pretty good hint of the depth and complexity contained in this game and why it is a great choice for our cruises. Despite that, the ease of play really does allow you to start focusing on the game fairly quickly. However, I know that I did not even scratch the surface of all I could do in this first play-through.
Be sure to vote to include this game on the cruise when you register!
See you soon,
Gaming By Sea