Chairman of the Board: Crossed Swords and Star-Crossed

Illustration by Ed Appleby
Illustration by Ed Appleby

‘Council of Verona’ game review

By Ed Appleby, Illustrator

Romeo and Juliet is one of the greatest tragedies ever written, but how would it go if you controlled the story?

Council of Verona is a card game for two to five players designed by Michael Eskue and published by Crash Games in 2013. Players choose to place characters on the Council or exile them out of Verona, and also pay to influence characters in the pursuit of their goals. Once all of the characters have been played, the player who has the most influence on characters that succeed in their agenda wins.

You get to play with the entire cast of Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet. The Capulets and the Montagues rattle their sabres at each other, while neutral parties influence the star-crossed lovers or put plagues on both their houses.

This is, by far, one of the fastest games I’ve played. A game takes 10 to 15 minutes to play, while a full game, in which each player starts first at least once, will take less than an hour. The rules are simple, yet the gameplay is very engaging. Backstabbing reaches Shakespearian levels, so it’s not for “nice” players.

The card selection mechanics give you a lot of control over what sort of strategy you can implement, however, players can mess you up with their own strategy. This, as well as a random first card, makes the game well-balanced in the strategy/psychology/chance dynamic.

I would recommend this game for the novice and the hardcore gamer. It’s a great filler game for in between games, or for split groups if one game is going longer than the other. And for under $20, it’s well worth the investment.