Slyville Review

Slyville Board Game Review

Before considering to buy or play this game you need to ask yourself a question:
Are you ready to be a complete dick for the next 30 to 45 minutes?

If yes, then Slyville provides a platform for you to be a dick of the highest order.  Otherwise you might want to consider a different game.

But Slyville is not just about being an utter dick though, it's about being a cruel, subversive and manipulative dick.  It’s not so much a game for those who like winning, it’s a game for those that like to make other people lose.  There might be less "aggressive" ways to play Slyville...but I don't know what they are.

Polyhedron Collider Slyville Board Game Review - In Play from Above

The goal of the game is very simple, collect resources to collect Deals which are worth points and the highest score at the end of the game (triggered when one player meets or exceeds 100 points) wins.  

The city of Slyville has five districts, and each houses one of five matching resources.  At the end of each "day" an additional resource will be produced in each, and every morning any henchman in the city will gain the resources of the district they are in.  However, that is a very slow way to gain resources.   The other way is a little more...confrontational shall we say.

The crux of the game comes from playing action cards, of which you have only five types and all players have the same type and number. Two of these cards allow you to buy deals, one large or one small (the only way to score points), one card moves your henchman, three allow you to bid for goods at a district and finally, one card allows you to sabotage an opponent's card.  

Polyhedron Collider Slyville Board Game Review - Hand Of Cards

In turn order players will place one card face down at a district where they wish to commit that action.  Repeat until players have played their allotted cards (the amount of cards played depends on player count; three in a four or five player game and four in a three player gamer).

These cards are revealed one district at a time, starting with the first district and moving clockwise around the table.  The cards are dealt in initiative order, so depending on what cards have been played, they will trigger at different times. Buying a small deal triggers before buying a big deal, meaning the big deal you were planning on buying won't be there when it's your turn to buy.  Alternatively, another player has sabotaged your plans and simply negates your card completely.

Polyhedron Collider Slyville Board Game Review - In Play Close Up

This creates a fantastic atmosphere of tension and intrigue around the table as you try and bluff and scheme your way to getting what you want.  By only playing a limited number of actions each turn is a balance of attack, defence and actual progression.  This blindman's tug of war means each card played by your opponent is your worst fear, every plan or scheme can very quickly unravel as any one of you opponents cuts a thread that is all too easily cut.

However, Slyville does have a sort of Kingmaker situation going on with it.  The first player, or "Prince's Favourite", is granted the power to break any tied result during that round as they see fit.  This means that even if they are involved in a tie they can decide how that action is resolved.  Usually in their favour.  When they are not involved in the tie the obvious course is to hobble the strongest opponent, yet the power to do this has been arbitrarily prescribed by nothing more than turn order and when you are on the receiving end of of getting screwed by this it...well, it sucks.  A lot.

Polyhedron Collider Slyville Board Game Review - Player Board Close Up

I would be less annoyed by this issue if a player had won, or earned the position of Princes Favourite.  The rules do allow for negotiations and bartering as players attempt to win the blessing of the Prince's Favourite, but in the games I played this led to pointless discussions that amounted to nothing, but that could just be because we're all a bunch of dicks.

That being said, everyone does get a chance at being the Prince's Favourite and turn-about is fair play after all.

Polyhedron Collider Slyville Board Game Review - In Play Close up 3

The mechanics of this game; the resource collection and action programming, provide a solid foundation for the game to function on.  These mechanics don’t drive the game, the players and their interactions do.  Slyville is a game that provides the means to be mean and spiteful in a fun and engaging way, played right and with the right people there won’t just be fun and laughter at the table there will be name calling, toys flung from prams and maybe even tears.  Just because it’s a game doesn’t mean you have to play nice.  

This review is based on a prototype version of the game provided by the publisher; the final product may look, play or smell different to that used in this preview.
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