I can assure you someone will start citing Shakespeare when you put this game on the table: “To be or not to be, that’s the question” or “Romeo oh Romeo wherefore arth thou Romeo”. We might not know much about the man himself but his work will live on forever. In the board game Shakespeare you plays as the writer and have to compose an act from scratch in less than one week.
Shakespeare is a worker placer game in which you try to collect as much point as possible by organizing the best play. The game is developed by Ystari Games. To achieve this you will need several things. Firstly you will need to write the play (consisting of 3 acts in total). Secondly you will need a decor and beautiful costumes. This will not come easy so you will need to recruit staff to help you. And of course you will need to pay that staff at the end of the week.
Luckily you start the game with 4 workers and get a new one every round. During the next rounds you will be able to put these workers to work for you. You can for example send one off the queen to nag her for money so you can pay the salaries, let a tailor make costumes, let others build the decor or have some actors help you write the play.
What i really like about Shakespeare, and what is pretty unique, is that each round starts with a bidding which will decide the order in which players get their turn to play. You bid with the amount of actions you would like to make that turn. They player who bids lowest (so wants to do the fewest actions that turn) will win the round. As players have to choose from the same pool of actions, being first can be a big advantage as you can pick the best actions for your (or in general). This can be very important as some actions are only available in limited quantities. For example, each round only contains a set amount of decor and costume actions. No matter how good your tailor or decor builders are, without actions, they wont be able to do anything.
But be aware, your workers are pretty lazy. They refuse to work more than 1 day in a row. So if a worker has performed an action in the previous turn, he won’t be able to perform one this round.
During the game there will be a 2 rehearsals. All fully dressed actors will go to the stage and award you with bonus points. After that you will receive money and or points for how far you are with writing each of the three acts. Lastly, you are able to score points during the game on occasion. For example, if you finish a dress you will be awarded money or points depending on how beautiful it is.
After the second rehearsal the game will end. You will be able to score some additional points for all the gold you implemented into your decor or costumes and for the amount of assignments you did for the queen. As usual, the player who has collected the most points wins the game.
Conclusion: Shakespeare “To play or not to play, that’s the question”
Shakespeare is easy and hard to play at the same time. The basis of the game is straightforward, in each round you choose a new character and perform the amount of actions you bid on. What each of the characters can do is pretty straightforward as well. But what make Shakespeare challenging is that you will always want to do more then there are actions available. Besides that, you will have to take what the other players want to do in consideration as well. So the order of turns is very important, you don’t want to bid to high so you can pick the best actions, but you don’t want to bid to low either because you need to do a lot of actions. This makes for a very interesting interaction (and internal struggle) all the time.
If you like heavy worker placer game this Shakespeare will definitely be for you. The game has a lot of strategy involved and looks amazing as well. The game also plays very well wit different amounts of players, so no matter if you want to play with your spouse or a group of 3 friends, Shakespeare will provide what you need. Besides the looks is the setting or theme amazing as well, I am sure a lot of people will really love this game.