Virtù first popped on my radar at the end of last year, because of the description of its ‘wheel-building’ mechanism that really intrigued me. Unfortunately, for quite some time the game was only available in French, something that has now changed with a Dutch-language version published by Geronimo Games.
2-5 players, ages 14+
Playing time: 30 min./player
Designer: Pascal Ribrault
Artwork: R. Gewska, Svetlana Pikul, Alena Stepanova & Fabrice Weiss
Publisher: Geronimo Games
In Virtù, players find themselves during the Italian Renaissance and take control of one of the important dynasties of the time. Their aim is to expand their territory and to become more influential in various fields than all others.
Players take actions by moving a pawn on the rondel on their player board. These actions allow them to govern and thus make exhausted resources available again, engage in patronage and advance on the corresponding track, trade, annex or conquer cities by warfare, and forge plots by deploying henchmen to their advantage.
The special thing about Virtù is the wheel-building. Players not only start the game with a different setup, they can also buy new characters during the game to enhance actions and add bonuses. They can also choose to leave the cards next to their board and use them when it suits them best.
While performing actions, players pay the cost using symbols depicted on the location with their pawn on, as well as the bonus that may lie underneath. The action can be enhanced by spending symbols from the cards next to their board or exhausting tiles at their disposal.
Virtù plays very strategically and the wheel-building is something that works extremely well – it’s always looking for the most optimal way when and where to spend your resources. It takes a few turns to see how it all works but in the end it’s very satisfying to see how everything flows together.
There’s a good balance of resource management, planning ahead but also a lot of conflict and backstabbing – the game can be played very meanly and I can imagine this won’t appeal to some players.
The game comes with a modified 2 player version that has a separate rulebook, which plays completely differently. However, I have to admit that Virtù mainly relies on the interaction between the players which makes me prefer it with 3-4 players.