7th December 2021
The 2nd game of Tuesday night gaming with the Woking Gaming Club at The Sovereigns in Woking was Village Pillage.
The life of a villager is full of strife and woe, mostly due to those other pesky neighbouring villages who covet your turnips and hide away their own!
Village Pillage is about showing those nasty neighbours who's boss!
What's in a game?
Village Pillage is a card game with some tokens, the build quality is standard for a modern game and what you'd expect it to be.
The game utilises a strong palette of colours to distinguish the different card types. It also makes use of brash and colourful cartoony artwork throughout the game which suitability fits its not-so-serious theme. All of this makes Village Pillage pleasing on the eye.
Village Pillage only makes use of 4 symbols for the 4 card types, there's also some wording rules as well. It's not particularly complex but for a light game, it's not immediately understandable. Having said that it's in no way any kind of game breaker.
How's it play?
On to play
In Village Pillage the objective is to acquire 3 relics before any other player does. However, each player is only directly competing with their 2 neighbours, that is the players directly to their left and right, this means that in a 4 or 5 player game, there will be 1 or 2 players that you might never interact with.
A round in Village Pillage is played more or less simultaneously over 3 phases.
Play continues until a player buys their 3rd relic, in which case, they immediately win the game.
There's no denying it, Village Pillage is essentially a glorified implementation of rock-paper-scissors with card, that's not a criticism of it, far from it in fact.
Unlike rock-paper-scissors, which is a context-less exercise in determining a winner, in Village Pillage players will have motivations and objectives for their actions, which can and probably will change from round-to-round. Additionally, the outcome a player will get against a neighbour can be unexpected depending on the context of the resolution, sometimes there is no 'winner'.
It's important to pay attention to what your neighbour is doing. If they have a lot of turnips, it may mean that they're looking to buy a market card or relic, which means that they may not try and interfere with you right now and it might be safe to grow some turnips of your own. Or it might be a good time to try and interfere with them. Provided, of course, that you have correctly anticipated their actions.
Or if a neighbour has no turnips, they may be looking to steal yours and you'll need to prepare appropriately: It's no coincidence that growing turnips gets you 3 but stealing them gets you 4!
It funnels players into interacting and conflicting with each other and that's what is at the core of Village Pillage.
It seems deliberately quite hard to get accumulate turnips to purchase relics without trying to exploit your neighbour.
All of this means that players always confronted with the possibility of having to make meaningful decisions and this is always a good thing.
Whilst there are only 4 types of card, the variation within these categories in the market cards keeps the game fresh with just the right amount of unpredictability.
While this sort of lightweight, chance driven conflict with other players can be a lot of fun, this kind of confrontational style won't be to everyone's taste. For a light game, I also found the rules a little fiddlier than I'd like; pretty much each card has it own rules for how it resolves against the 4 card times which can slow the game down. The timing rules are unavoidably also a little fiddly.
None of this is any kind of deal-breaker and if you want a fairly straightforward, colourful, raucous filler game, then Village Pillage is worth a look.
I play, I paint.