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Author: Leo Colovini

Publisher: Goldsieber 2000

Awards: none



Doge by Leo Colovini is is game which is settled against the background of ancient Venice, with the players trying to take over the position of the city's "King" (the Doge). In order to be appointed to this position, the players need to build palaces in several parts of the town, and the player who first succeeds in building a palace in every part of the town becomes the new Doge.

The game itself is centered on the procedure on how to place new buildings onto the map. Basically, each turn a player has a certain amount of vote-counters available (bearing the values from 0 to 3), and these he places face down into several parts of the town. After all players have put down their votes, the markers are turned over and, following a random procedure, the different parts of the town are evaluated, one at a time.

The player who has most votes in a part of the town may place two houses into this part. If he accumulates enough houses, he is allowed to exchange these for a palace (with the exchange rate becoming higher with each palace already build in that part of the town). Likewise, the player with second most votes also still gets the possibility to place at least one house into that part. Furthermore, the winner of the bidding basically has two choices: On the one hand he may chose to assume control of the counsellor responsible for that part of the town. This counsellor may be moved to another part, and as long as he remains in control of a player, he will add one to the votes of that player in the part of the town where he has been placed. On the other hand, the winner may also decide to let the counsellor go uncontrolled, and instead he may move houses between the part of the town where he has won the auction and other parts. Especially because of the increasing costs to build palaces and the limited houses available to each player, this movement-option becomes even more important in the later part of the game.

Despite its nice outer appearance, Doge does not seem to introduce striking new playing mechanisms if compared to the already existing range of boardgames. Bidding and Placement games exist in abundance, and Doge does not possess any attributes which make it an outstanding game in this long list of titles. Also, due to the character of the game being a quite abstract strategy game, the game somewhat lacks the ability to create a real competitive spirit between the players. These comments by no means should imply that Doge is a bad game, but it certainly does not leave an average category. A final comment may perhaps be made about the rules: to my mind, they are open to misinterpretation and they also leave open a point or two. These could really have been written in a more precise way.

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