The Day in Gaming, September 27, 2019: Medici: The Card Game

I’m posting about a game every day in September! Here’s a link to yesterday’s post.

It looks like my September has been a celebration of Reiner Knizia’s catalog of games. I wasn’t planning it, but thanks to the fine tastes of my gaming buddies, I’ve played four of his titles this month: Ra, Samurai, Blue Lagoon, and Medici: The Card Game.

While Ra and Blue Lagoon were new to me, I’d played Samurai and Medici: The Card Game before. I’ve already talked about Samurai so let’s take a quick look at Medici: The Card Game.

The original Medici, like a few of Knizia’s games, use bidding as its main mechanism, with set collection used for scoring points. It’s an excellent game and the card game captures some of the flavor of the original, but replaces bidding with push-your-luck.

Like other Knizias, this is a streamlined game with tension on every turn. I love the use of push-your-luck as you try to collect all of the cards necessary to complete your different sets. While this isn’t a “deep” game per se, it sure is a lot of fun trying to see how far you can go to get the card or cards you want. Your draw is limited to three cards and at the very least you have to take the last card you drew.

I’d love to see more designers focus on games like the four Knizias I played this month. Each one has no variable player powers and some luck involved in game play, and you don’t have to go through pages and pages of rules to learn to play.

I’d rank Ra, Samurai, Blue Lagoon, and Medici: The Card Game higher than some of the latest board games that feature all of the extra mechanisms and what-not. Knizia’s games are so well-polished and offer an engaging tabletop experience for all types of gamers. Designers should learn a lesson from a master of game design: less can definitely mean more.