- Designer: Andrea Chiarvesio, Pierluca Zizzi
- Artist: mariano Iannelli
- Publisher: What’s your game
- Player count: 2-4
- Play time: 90-120 minutes
- mechanics: Dice selection, influence, set collection, rewards
Italy during the 15th century was a country full of intrigue and magnificence. The tumultuous political conditions created the perfect breeding ground for the birth of a new form of government (called Signoria) and the rise of the most ambitious noble families. After having acted in the dark for a long time, the time has finally come for them to take control of the cities and shape Italy’s future. Their stories will go down in history.
In Signorie the players take on the role of a lord of one of the most prestigious families during the Reneissance. The game is played over 7 rounds, regardless of player counts. At the start of each round, the pool of dice gets rolled (1 die per player per color) and get placed in the appropriate space. 10 assignment tiles will be placed randomly on the available slots on the board. Each player starts with 3 male and 4 female meeples, representing their children. They will also start out with 5 Florins. Each round in turn order players can take an action by taking one of the dice from the pool and placing it on their board. You have up to 4 of these actions available to you each round, but you can only ever have one of each color of dice on your player board. The value of the die you select matters, as you have to pay an amount of florins if you place a dice with a lower value then the slot it is place on, equal to the difference. Does that mean you should always try to go for a high a dice as possible? Not necessarily, but I’ll get into that a little later.
When you place a die, you can perform any of three actions:
1: Hire a helper: When you chose this action you take a white helper disc and place them on one of the 3 available slots of the color indicated on your action space, paying the amount of Florins depicted in the spot. This doesn’t do anything for you at this point, but it can help you in the future during other actions. You can have multiple helpers active at any given time and you can chose whether to activate them or wait for a better opportunity. Once you take the helper action, the disc is removed from your board.
2: Signoria action: The Signoria action is different depending on the color of dice you choose. A brief description:
- Yellow: Take 3 florins from the bank
- Red: Arrange a marriage for one of your female family members.
- Purple: Offspring. Your married children produce offspring. Roll a white die for each White worker on your board and take new meeples from the supply depending on the result
- Grey: Send one of your male family members on a dimplomatic mission.
- Turqoise: 4 movement points on the initiative and career tracks.
During these actions you are allowed to take any helper actions available in the column of the same color you placed your die in, don’t forget.
3: Assignment action: At the beginning of the round the 10 assignment tiles are randomly placed on the available slots. When you decide to use this action, you can spend meeples depicted on the spaces to perform actions. For each color there are 2 actions available and you can chose to take either one or both actions. To do this, pay the amount and type of m
meeples as depicted on the tile and board and perform the action. Some have set numbers you need to pay, others give you an option to pay up to three. In that case perform the action an amount of times eaqual to the meeples you have spent.
Next, I’d like to get into some of the actions in more detail, as this is where the real meat of the game comes from in my opinion. The board has five cities printed on them, each with room for 10 meeples and 2 spaces for alliance tiles. Alliance tiles are drawn from a face down pile and show 6 different family crests and a point value ranging from 2 to 5.
Diplomatic missions: With one of the dice actions as well as with one of the assignment tiles, it’s possible to send your (grand)sons on diplomatic missions to one of the five cities. This is a multistep process. First off, your sons are place on one of the career tracks (Poltical, Clerical and Military.) There are several actions available to move your sons along on these tracks. When you send a son on a diplomatic mission, remove a meeple of your choice from any of the tracks and place him on one of the spaces of the city, immediately gaining points equal to the value he was on said track. These values can go up to thirteen points! You always place the meeple on the lowest available spot, but you need to take into account the rank it was on on the career track. It needs to be at least as high as the value depicted in the spot you want to place it. Then, take one of the available alliance tiles and place them on the corresponding spot to the right of your player board.
Arranging marriage: When you arrange a marriage, take one of your available female workers and place them on the lowest available spot on one of the cities. Then, you pay at least the amount of Florins depicted on the spot you took and take 2 points for each Florin spent. You can chose to pay more, up to a maximum of 4. If there’s an alliance tile available, take it and place it on the corresponding spot next to your board.
At the end of the game, you can score these alliance tiles. You score each row where you have placed at least three tiles of the symbols matching your player board. It’s unlikely you’ll score all 4 of these, so it might be a good idea to focus on some of them.
At the end of a round there is a reward phase. 7 reward tiles are laid out at the beginning of the game, showing an end round bonus for each of the rounds of play. Remember I said it didn’t have to be a good idea to take high numbered dice? I’ll explain why: Each player who has a total value of 13 or less on their dice gets to take either the bonus action or 3 florins. Apart from that, you can also place a white token on your board, marking the amount of your sons which are married. This amount influences the amount of dice you get to roll during the offspring action. In later rounds in the game, you also get an additional 2 florins. The tiles for round 6 and 7 are taken from a seperate pile and instead of a bonus give scoring opportunities. In these rounds, players qualifying for the round bonus also have the option of trading in 5 Florins for 5 points. After 7 rounds, payers score their alliance tiles and score half the points for any meeples they have still on the career tracks (rounded down). The player with the most glory points wins the game.
To be very short: I love this game!!!
Now that would be too simple, wouldn’t it? I’ll try to elaborate on the points that really make this game shine for me. Components are of good quality and enough are supplied with the game. I personally like the artwork, but I’ve heard some people call the board a bit bland, which I can relate too. I personally love the dice that come with the game, especially the color choices.
I have a thing for multi purpose options in a game. Be it cards or in this case dice. I think the mechanic they use with the dice in this game is pure brilliance. It gives a player a lot to think about. Should I save my money and take a high dice or should I spend a bit to make sure that I reach the end round bonus, lovely. The number on the dice also effect some of the helper actions, so that gives it yet another layer of thought.
Money is really tight in this game. It’s a real balancing act to make sure you have enough to do everything you want. There are several ways to earn money during the game and to me it give a great sense of fulfillment when I can minimise the amount of actions I need to take just to get more cash.
There is no real direct player interaction in Signorie, but it doesn’t feel like I’m doing a solo thing. Interaction comes in the form of players taking the dice you might have wanted, beating you out on the initiative track or taking the alliance tile you needed to complete your set. This is exactly the kind of interaction I like in a euro-game.
I have played several what’s your game games over the years and so far they have yet to disappoint me. Out of their 2 essen releases this year I’m not sure which one I’d rate higher, but both are remarkable games that any eurogamer should at least look into.
Final Verdict: 8,5/10
Disclaimer: I’ve used a couple of images from board game geek user and creator of great overview videos: Paul Grogan. The photographs are my own.