Valeria: Card Kingdoms Game Review (Daily Magic Kingdoms)

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"I know, let's play Valeria." "Which Valeria?" "You know, the one with the cards." There are three versions of Valeria, they all use cards, and -- more confusingly -- they all use the same art. But if it isn't broken, why fix it? Valeria: Card Kingdoms is a fast-paced recruitment and resource gathering game, which operates like a cross between Splendor and Catan. In Valeria, players build strength, kill monsters, and develop their kingdoms. 

Game Details

Players: 1 to 5

Game Time: 30 Minutes

Age: 12+

Genre: Resource Management / Competitive

How is Valeria: Card Kindoms Played?

In Valeria: Card Kingdoms, you have a set of characters out in front of you. Every turn, you will roll dice. Based on the numbers on the dice, you'll activate characters in front of you -- and activate characters in front of other people. Each character has an action that is taken depending on whether you're the active player. If you activate a character on your turn, you could get 3 gold, whereas if it's activated on another person's turn, you could get 1 gold. 

After you roll dice, you can choose to recruit a card, fight a monster, or purchase a development. Recruited cards add more numbers out in front of you (and can stack), fighting a monster gives you victory points, and purchasing a development often grants some special ability.

In addition to this, each player has their own ruler, which has a secret agenda. Agendas can include being the person to fight the most monsters or being the person with the most gold at the end of the game. The game ends when multiple decks have been exhausted.

How Does Valeria: Card Kingdoms Look?

Looking at all the Valeria games can be confusing, because they often use exactly the same art on their cards. That's one way to reduce art costs. That being said, it works: the game has its own bold style and the cards are completely recognizable. 

Further, because there are only three resources in the game and limited strategic options, the game's art is also very easy to read. It's obvious when a card lets you transmute one type of resource into another, or when a card lets you steal from other players. 

This type of visual shorthand not only makes playing the game a breeze, but appears to illusive to many designers.

What's in the Box?
108 citizen cards * 42 monster cards * 24 domain cards * 10 duke cards * 25 base cards * 32 dividers * 175 wood tokens * 14 cardboard tokens * 2 20mm custom dice * rulebook

How Does Valeria: Card Kingdoms Feel?

Earlier I compared Valeria: Card Kingdoms to Splendor and Catan, which are two games that I hate playing. Valeria does play like a mix of those two games, but somehow becomes (for me) greater than the sum of those components. Valeria's short play style makes it less likely to drag on and on than Catan, while its ability to create multiple strategies makes it less predictable than Splendor. Both different styles of mechanic complement each other.

Valeria hits a sweet spot of randomness with its resources, as you can't predict exactly what you'll get. You have a few direct options that you can strategize for, but you may need to pivot your strategy quickly. Unlike many other games, pivoting is actually helpful and worthwhile. It's possible to play this game with five players and have every player going for a different strategy.

It's not a complex game and it's probably not "meaty" enough for some experienced gamers, but Valeria: Card Kingdoms is all around solid enough to be a staple on the shelf.

Valeria: Card Kingdoms Game Review
  • PRO: Plays like a mix between Splendor and Catan.
  • PRO: A number of different strategies packed into a fast, concise game.
  • CON: Plays like a mix between Splendor and Catan.