Renaissance Man Review

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Renaissance Man is a game by Anthony Rubbo published by Rio Grande Games.  It is for 1-4 players.  It is a game of hand management with simultaneous action selection.  In this game, players are trying to build a pyramid of 15 workers in a 5 level structure through hiring, recruiting, training  and storing actions.  To begin the game, each player is given 4 wooden knights, a wooden action pawn, a player board that is assembled from 2 interlocking pieces (kinda like a puzzle), a foundation card of each type of character (baker, knight, scholar, merchant and renaissance man), and 2 reference cards that give information on a round summary and detail each character’s action.  The recruit board is placed in the middle of the play area and 1 character is placed face up on the board from the deck.  Players are now able to set up their foundation of characters however they’d like to.  Afterwards, players are dealt 4 cards from the deck.  Play then begins.   Players decide what action they would like to do, based on the cards that are available to them on the board and in their hand.  Then simultaneously, all players move their token from the first round to the card that they would like to use it’s action.  The bread or baker action allows the player to barter by discarding a card from their hand and storing that cards action onto their player board.  The book or scholar action allows the  player to teach by discarding a card from their hand and placing that cards token on the top of their player board.  The recruit or knight action allows the player to recruit a character from the recruit board by discarding a card and placing a wooden knight of their color onto the character card beneath that cards icon.  The person at the end of the round with the most knights on that particular card gets it and is able to place it in their hand or if possible onto their pyramid.  The coin or merchant action allows the player to hire character cards from their hand by matching symbols on the bottom of the card with the 2 symbols that match on the top of the cards in their pyramid.  Once the 1st action phase is over, play continues to the 2nd action phase if anyone has cards in that level.  This continues all the way to the 4th action phase or 4th level of the pyramid.  As long as one player has a card in a level, all players are able to play stored actions from their barter area.  At the end of a round, players are able to discard cards from their hand and then refill back to 4 cards.  Wooden knights are removed from the recruit board and any empty slots on the recruit board are filled from the deck.  A new round begins and actions that are covered are unable to be used unless the player discards the card(s) covering it.  Play continues until one player finally reaches the top of their pyramid with their 15th worker.  There is also a solo game provided in the rule book that allows 1 player to play against knights of one color that recruit every turn until the deck runs out .  Once the deck runs out or the player completes their pyramid, the game is over.

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COMPONENTS

This game has some great components.  I love all the wooden pieces that come with this game, from the knight tokens to the action pawns.  These are high quality and look great.  Speaking of looking great, the design of the player board is so nice how it fits together the two pieces like a puzzle.  The graphics looks wonderful and make me feel like I’m studying some ancient text .  The tokens are double sided and made of thick cardboard with very nice icons on each.  There’s even a nice little bag to put them all in, a very nice touch indeed.  The cards are really nice with bold colors and designs on them of each character.  They are really smooth and feel good in your hand.  This has to be some of the nicest components of any game.

9 out of 10

RULEBOOK

The rulebook is nicely done with lots of illustrations of set up and how to play.  It’s really easy to understand and even includes 1 page on how to play the game solo.  It’s not very long with only a few actual pages of rules.  It is very well put together and looks good.

9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY

For a game that I have yet to win, either solo or multi-player, I enjoyed this game.  I thought it would be really difficult to play, but after reading the rules, it made sense.  I’m still not very good at it though, unfortunately, but I’m getting better every time I play.  I love the unique design and look of this game.  I also like the way that the character cards work together to build your pyramid.  I definitely look forward to playing this many more times.

9 out of 10

OVERALL

Renaissance Man is an easy to learn but difficult to master game.  It plays well with any amount of players, but I prefer solo as there’s really not a lot of player interaction throughout the game.  Basically just fighting for recruiting cards is the only thing.  It really feels like a nice race as players rush to get that 15th character card.  All in all, I really like this game and can’t find anything to complain about.  Try it, you will like it.

9 out of 10

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About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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