Merchant ships dock in the city, bringing not only goods but also rats – and worse, the plague. Send your lieutenants to Messina to rescue people, quarantine them so they can work on your estates, fight the plague, and ultimately repopulate the city.
1-4 players, ages 14+
Playing time: 60-140 minutes
Designers: Raúl Fernández Aparicio & Vladimír Suchý
Artwork: Michal Peichl
Publisher: Delicious Games
Each player starts the game with 3 lieutenants, which will be used to visit the various parts of the city and rescue the citizens present. Only movement to adjacent hexes is free, moving further costs you coins. If the location contains a plague cube, the citizen needs to be quarantined for two rounds before you can put it in its corresponding sector on your player board, otherwise they can go to work for you immediately. You have the option to fight the plague by paying fire tokens, preventing you from taking rats which will give you a penalty at the end of the game. After this, you perform the location’s action, or you can repopulate it by paying a cost and returning the required citizens from your board to the supply.
When all players have used all their lieutenants, the round ends and players receive income from citizens in their quarantine huts and workshops. Before a new round begins, turn the population wheel to determine where new civilians and plague cubes will appear.
After six rounds, the game ends and players receive points based on how well they performed on the various register tracks, repopulated hexes, and objectives on their scroll board, while collected rat tokens cause you to lose points.
Messina 1347 doesn’t come with the happiest theme, but it sure fits the game mechanics very well. The worker placement/movement is well-done and feels very tight, with planning your turn ahead and prioritizing. The game comes with lots of ways to score points and different strategies to explore, which is definitely a big plus.
Only downside for me are the citizen tokens, which in my opinion don’t stand out enough against the tile background and can easily be overlooked. But apart from that I think that, after Underwater Cities and Praga Caput Regni, Delicious Games brought us once again a very solid eurogame!