Marco Polo

Designers:  Daniele Tascini and Simone Luciani

Artwork: Dennis Lohausen

  • Theme:  It is the end of the 13th century, and the merchants Niccolo and Matteo Polo are setting off on their second voyage to the East.  Joining them is Niccolo's young son, Marco.  The voyage is being performed at the behest of the great sovereign Kublai Khan, who wishes to know more about Christianity.  The three Polos travel far and wide - on land, at sea, through deserts and mountains, by camel and by elephant - in short, they experience the most exciting trails and passages of their time.  Almost 25 years pass before Marco Polo sees Venice again.  His reports of these wondrous journeys are among the most famous adventures in the history of the world.  In Marco Polo, players embody one of the many people who worked with and around him during his travels.  They start in Venice, but the choices each player makes will affect the journey upon which they embark.

Game Information

  • Play Time:  20-25 Minutes/Player
  • Player Count:  2-4 player only
  • Ages:  13+
  • Complexity of Rules:  Medium
  • Setup Time:  Medium
  • Replay Value:  High - Each Character's special ability makes the game play differently.
  • Direct Conflict:  Low

How It Plays

  • Game Mechanics:  This is a worker placement, dice rolling, economic game.  Players roll dice at the beginning of a round and take turns placing them as workers on the board to take various actions.  The actions allow players to move their traveler around the map from village to village.  Resources are gathered and used to complete contracts for points and money.  The uniqueness of this resource management euro-game is the vastly different player powers each player begins with.
  • Turn Summary:  Each round begins with players receiving city and character bonuses then rolling all of their dice.
    1. Carry out bonus actions if desired.  Bonus actions include the following:
      • Complete 1 Contract - Return required goods to the supply and receive the rewards shown on the contract.
      • Take 3 Coins - Place 1 die onto the money bag space and take 3 coins.
      • Reroll 1 Die - Return 1 camel to supply and reroll a die.
      • Adjust 1 Die result by 1 - Return 2 camels to the supply and adjust 1 die up or down by 1.
      • Take 1 Black Die - Return 3 camels to the supply and take 1 black die, roll it, and add it to player board.
    2. Choose and carry out 1 actions.  Place dice on one of the unoccupied brown or blue action spaces.  Occupied blue action spaces may also be used however the player must pay money equal to the lowest die they place.  Actions include:
      • Take 5 Coins - Add 1 die to the Take 5 Coins action space and take 5 coins from supply.
      • The Grand Bazaar - Place dice on 1 of the 4 distinct action spaces.  Determine how many goods you receive by using the lowest numbered die placed and add the goods to the player board.
      • The Khan's Favor - Place 1 die onto the Khan's Favor action space and take any 1 good and 2 camels.  The placed die must be of equal to or greater value than any previously placed die.
      • The Contracts - Place 1 die onto the contracts action space and take 1 or 2 contracts from the board and place them onto the player board.  The die value determines how far down the line of contracts the player may select from. Players may not have more than 2 open contracts on their player board at a time.
      • Travel - Place 2 dice on the travel action space.  The lowest value die is used to determine the maximum movement distance allowed.  Pay the gold value based on how far the traveler is moved, adding any additional cost shown on the routes between the spaces.   If the movement ends on a small or large city, place a trading post on that city and take any small city bonuses shown.  If it is a large city,  the action space shown on the city card may now be used on future turns by the player.
    3. Carry out bonus actions again if desired - See bonus actions above.
  • End Game:  Game ends after 5 rounds.
  • Victory:  Points are awarded for completing contracts end game goal cards.  Players with a trading post in Beijing score 1 point for every 2 goods left.  Money is scored 1 point for every 10 coins.  The player with the most completed contracts receives 7 points. The player with the most victory points wins.

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Publisher: Z-Man Games


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