At a Glance: In Medici, the art of the auction is in full swing—an exceptional mental workout.
Medici is a game for 2-6 players who represent rival merchant houses during the age of the Medici family. Up to 3 goods are auctioned off every turn, and the player with the winning bid places them in the cargo hold of his ship. Once all the ships are full, everyone scores based on the value of his cargo. The goal here is to get back more at the end of the “day” than what you paid for in the auctions. Then each player moves along a track for each type of good. If you reach the last few spaces of these tracks by the end of the game, they award a certain amount of money. The player with the most money after three rounds is the winner.
Medici is designed by Reiner Knizia, who is the most prolific game designer out there. Even though the theme could probably be cut & pasted with something else, the implementation of the mechanics do fit and the slickness & smoothness of the design make up for it. There is a great flow to the game. There is a nice tenseness to the auctions, as you figure out how much you are willing to pay and hope for a higher return. I like how it is a once-around auction style, which I definitely feel is important to note. You only get one chance to bid or pass on the goods each turn, so there are no back-and-forth bids and counter-bids. I also feel that this allows the game to appeal to a wider audience including those who usually do not enjoy auction games. It makes the gameplay smoother and quicker that way. As far as number of players, the more the merrier I think. The game improves with the more players you have and it improves in general with every play.
Despite being a bit thematically thin, the presentation is there. I like how the board is laid out in the different tracks and it feels cool to load up your ship and set sail at the end of each “day”. I feel like this one is underrated and is my favorite auction-style game!
Check it out: https://amzn.to/2DGUZIe