Medici – Grail Games – Review

I like Medici. It plays cleanly and is also just a fun game.



Theme and What is it?

A bidding game that is all about making your neighbors mad. What could go wrong?

Modern games generally seem to age poorly, or perhaps, they are just superseded by newer games with better mechanics. Medici, the game, much like the family ages like a fine wine. It just works.

A round robin bidding game, that allows you one bid per round, forces you to bid or get off the pot. There is something that just makes sense when forcing your neighbor to bid on something they don’t want, because you do, just feels good. Moreover sticking a neighbor with a card that doesn’t help them, also feels great.

Have you played many games that feel just as good the 30th time, as it does the first? Medici manages that well, better than well.

I was initially introduced to Medici by Uwe and Gunter Eickert, of Academy Games. They said I had to play it at least once, I think we played three times. I got my donkey kicked all three times, but man, I liked it.

I am now immortalized in their box top, with several losing scores. I was not overly excited by the look of the game, but as a wise gamer once said, don’t just a game by it’s box art. 

Now that has largely been remedied. The new art is colorful, crisp and beautiful. 

A playboard, and wooden tokens. That is the game.

It is done well, but not overly exciting. The wood pieces have nice paint on them, signifying what resource they are. Beyond that, there is not much to them.

This is not a bad thing. Some things are just better when simple. Medici has this lesson in spades.

Simple art for a simple game, where game play is king. What more could you ask for?

The only issue is the orange and brown on the play board and cards are very similar, this should have been addressed through play testing. It can be confusing at times. 

At a glance, I thought the game seemed simplistic. Buy stone, save stone, build tower, rinse, repeat.

This oversimplifies the game because although that is the mechanic, it takes a whole lot more planning than building towers willy nilly. Stone is also a finite resource that is replenished through a card mechanic are varying amounts throughout the game, making each building session quite different. I was drawn to the art, and the building pieces just seemed to fit perfectly for the game.

An older child could play and understand this, yet it has the depth that many adults will enjoy it. 

I like Medici. It plays cleanly and is also just a fun game. I have to thank Uwe. His suggestion is now in my collection as well.