Proving that territory isn’t always captured through battle, Veritas challenges you to spread books of knowledge and truth through monasteries in Old France.
|Veritas||Cheapass Games||Board Game|
In The Box
This release of Veritas includes a set of heavy card stock tiles you use to construct the game’s board, which ends up looking pretty much like a map of France. You’ll also find in the box a number of markers showing distinct spots on the board for monasteries. We were initially skeptical about there being so many monasteries in France, but a bit of online research quickly showed us otherwise. Monasteries were apparently as ubiquitous in the Middle Ages as 7-11s or chain pharmacies are today, and really why should we be surprised–given the historical context–that some people preferred a safe cloister over things like dying of plague.
Veritas posits that the power of the monastery was in spreading ideas, and those ideas are represented by poker chips or colored markers that you’ll need to provide. This packaging of the game requires about 40 chips per player to be complete, in the tradition of minimal packaging from Cheapass Games .
How It Plays
Spreading ideas through monasteries in France turns out to be a lot like territory conquest. Veritas can be a bit tricky to grasp until you’ve played a few rounds, especially if you’re trying to get by with the minimum number of players. The strategic ah-ha moments come a bit later in these cases because it takes more time for three players to start bumping into each other on the board, compared to games with five or six.
Each player’s turn begins with randomly drawing one of the monastery markers, and placing that marker on the board to show that the monastery in question has burned. Whether it was a case of accidental fire or good old-fashioned pillaging we’re not sure, but you can make up your own story around the game table. Any chips–representing books of knowledge–on the burned monastery are scattered through the surrounding region, by picking up the resident stack of chips and depositing them one at a time down a defined path. This style of movement is key to the entire strategy of Veritas. You stack and move, make copies of chips, and generally try to end up with chips of your color on top of the most stacks.
Each time a monastery burns, players around the table earn points based on territory they control, and the highest scoring player is ultimately declared the winner. Actions taken during each turn make Veritas highly strategic and reminiscent of classics like Go. The winning player will be the one who can distribute chips more widely, and over larger territories that grant more points.
There’s nothing quite like Veritas in our library, which made it a bit slow going to learn but ultimately a game that we ended up enjoying more with each replay. Random distribution of monastery markers prevents you from getting too comfortable with one strategy over multiple rounds.
I really like games about conquering territory, so this is probably my favorite of the recent Cheapass releases. You have to decide how fast to expand into new territory versus adding more books.