Publisher: Designer: Artist: Year:
Theme and What is it?
Porta Nigra is a game I really enjoyed. The buildings are easy to use, the design makes the gameplay thoughtful, though not frenetic. And frankly it just was enjoyable.
The premise is simple enough. You are a master builder in the Roman city of Porta Nigra. You cannot be everywhere at once, and you can only order your workers to buy stone when you are in the section of the city that has the stone factory or quarry of the color you wish to have. Moreover, there can be up to three other master builders, all vying for the same beautiful building spots. This becomes problematic because some spaces are worth more than others, naturally.
It is almost a real estate game, but not. It is much more a worker placement game if your workers were stones that could never be moved again, like the meeple farmer’s of Carcassonne.
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.
Quality of Components and Insert
If it hasn’t been apparent, I like this game, and it’s art.
For me, it is just fun, I like the permanent decisions and the locking away of those decisions to yourself, and competitors. As with most games that do this, there are hidden end game points that take a few times playing to understand. However, once you get it, they just make sense.
Difficulty and age range suggestion
The game, as you may have guessed is a game I just like. I cannot pinpoint what I like, apart from the fact that the art is the game. It is not flashy in the box, or even when the game is setup, but it is beautiful when it is played.
You owe it to yourself to play a few times, it just feels nice building the towers, and seeing what your town of Porta Nigra will look like.