The Dusty Euros Series: Patrician

Justin is spending more time exploring older Eurogame designs with friends. Join him for his hot take of the 2007 area majority game Patrician!

The guys in my Wednesday gaming group started a push to play more of the old, dust-ridden games at the bottom and backs of our respective game closet shelves. The premise was simple: let’s try to remember why we keep all these old games when all we ever play now are the newest, shiniest things in shrink.

Right on the spot, the Dusty Euro Series was born, and I’ve enlisted multiple game groups to help me lead the charge on covering older games.

In order to share some of these experiences, I’ll be writing a piece from time to time about a game that is at least 10 years old that we haven’t already reviewed here at Meeple Mountain. In that way, these articles are not reviews. These pieces will not include a detailed rules explanation or a broad introduction to each game. All you get is what you need: my brief thoughts on what I think about each game right now, based on one or two fresh plays.

Patrician: What Is It?

Patrician is a 2-5 player area majority, hand management game published in 2007 by Mayfair Games and AMIGO Games. My friends John and Beth joined me at the table for a three-player game that took about 20 minutes during a recent game night.

I’ll start this piece by saying this much: Patrician plays FAST. Like, really fast. I was really impressed with how fast this game can be taught and played. In that way, it has a nice rhythm to its turns.

The goal of Patrician is to score points by building the most tower pieces in the various cities of Italy in medieval times. On a turn, a player must play one of their three hand cards to the table, which triggers the addition of one, maybe two, tower pieces to one of the cities on the small board. If that piece is the final piece that can be played into a city, an area majority assessment is made. The player(s) with the most tower pieces in each of the two towers scores points. Regardless of whether scoring took place or not, the active player then takes the face-up card next to that city into their hand for choices on their next turn.

There’s a set collection element to the scoring of played cards, with sets of three matching icons (faces) scoring a player six points at the end of the game. Some cards don’t play into set collection, but instead trigger better powers when placed on the table.

Much of what I gathered during this first play was tied to the timing of when to play cards that can finish off a city section for area majority scoring. The winner of our game was best at that specific element—playing last can score a person the entire city’s scoring value because they can better forecast who will have a majority in each place. (Like most area control/majority games, swooping in last to clean up is usually a benefit.)

So, Patrician plays fast, and it has a logical progression to its turns and the best ways to score. That placed my verdict in a very specific place…

Good, Not Great

The current score for Patrician on BGG is a 6.6. That feels about right, so when John told me that Patrician is getting a new edition in the months ahead, I wondered if expansion content elevates portions of the base game.

The answer to that question is “yes,” in the form of download-only content available on the interwebs. But I’m not sure expansion content would significantly boost my excitement to play Patrician again.

Knowing that there are exactly 5-9 tower pieces that can go into a city’s spaces means that everyone should be able to plan for what might happen as a city is coming closer to completion. Going hard on set collection may or may not be a viable strategy, but with only three cards under your control at a time, that might be a little harder to plan for.

I love the special power cards, some of which allow a player to move a tower piece in a different city on their turn. But because new cards are top-decked into empty city card spaces after a player’s turn, you’ll sometimes get a little lucky, maybe even a LOT lucky, grabbing a new hand card. For a strategy gamer, that may be a turnoff.

Again, I can’t complain about the playtime…even if you truly hate the experience, it’s going to be over in 15-20 minutes. It would be easy to get a game of Patrician in before bigger games hit the table.

One other weird thing about the setup: certain colors for player pieces are only available with a certain number of players. So, if you want to play as the yellow faction, too bad if it’s a three-player game! This is the beauty of older games, to me…that this is even a consideration is pretty funny.

Patrician is interesting, but I think it would need some significant tweaks to force me into a second play. I think it would shine best with a full five-player count, so I’m hoping to see it in that light before deciding to add it to my collection.

Related board games

About the author

Justin Bell

Love my family, love games, love food, love naps. If you're in Chicago, let's meet up and roll some dice!

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Subscribe to Meeple Mountain!

Crowdfunding Roundup

Crowdfunding Roundup header

Resources for Board Gamers

Board Game Categories