Valletta (which is on Malta, btw) is a light-medium game for two to four players which kind of snuck out in 2017 and should have gotten more attention. It’s by Stefan Dorra (For Sale, Medina) and is very quick to learn and teach.
The main mechanic is deckbuilding, but there are some novel tweaks. You only ever play three cards per turn, and the way you gain new cards is by constructing buildings. At game’s start a random grid of build cards is dealt out, each with an associated card which you acquire to hand when you construct the building using the proper mix of resources and gold. Owning buildings reduces the cost of adjacent ones, which encourages contiguous building. There are three colours/categories of cards: green ones produce resources; blue ones are more interactive, often forcing your opponent(s) to give you stuff; gold ones give you ways to cash in goods for points.
One of your starting cards is Jean de Valette (yes, only one “l’”), the founder of Valletta, who not only lets you trash a card from your hand but also advances the game’s clock (giving you a random resource in doing so). When de Valette reaches the last space on the track, the endgame is triggered, and here again Valletta adds a nice twist by letting players run their decks one final time, which (reminiscent of Oh! My Goods!) lets you trigger your combos one final time before adding up VP’s.
I think Valletta deserves a little more love. It’s a good light game that plays smoothly and has a nice balance of short- and long-term planning. Turn order is important, and you have to pay attention to what your opponents are doing and think about what they might be saving up for. Click here to order your copy. And, if you have a moment, comment below or click here to let us know if Smorgasboard is helpful to you. We love constructive feedback!