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Cities of Venus Review

The year is 2222, and the citizens of Earth have figured out ways to colonize floating cities out in space. Above Venus, a group of immigrants work to establish a floating colony, complete with its own ruler. Whomever builds the best city in the sky will be crowned the ruler of this new world.

Check out this amazing game over on Kickstarter, and prepare to back this May!

With supplies and immigrants from Earth, can you build the best city in the sky? Cities of Venus is a medium weight science fiction Euro game for 2-4 players (5-6 with expansion) and includes a mixture of worker placement, tableau building, and resource gathering and management. Do you have what it takes to build the best new colonized city?

How to Play

In Cities of Venus, players will complete a number of actions that will decide the fate of their growing city. Each turn begins with new drop cards being dealt out, followed by events (usually bad), shield reduction, population growth and deployment, various city actions, and completed by selecting a card from the drop row or obtaining a new immigrant. We will refer often to workers and citizens in this review, both of which refer to the games V-Nauts (Venus Astronauts).


The game relies heavily on the management of your citizens in the various sectors of your city. For example, the lower value between your Food sector and Water / Air sector determines how much population you will gain. Having citizens working in your Shield sector is key, as each round you’ll need to spend one citizen from that sector as your shields get lowered.

Maintaining workers in your Mining sector will guarantee a steady stream of minerals, and workers in the Science and Mechanical sectors will allow you to build new upgrades in your city.

While managing this population, you will also be managing limits throughout your city. The general limit for most sectors is 6 workers, but this can be upgraded by purchasing cards from the central board that were revealed during the canister drop phase at the beginning of the round. These cards, while good for your city, do have costs associated with them, requiring workers to be spent from certain sectors, as well as minerals in select situations.

Having your population as high as possible is important. For one, you will want to move workers during the deployment phase to the International Innovation Station as having 8 workers on the station will allow you access to special, more powerful upgrades for your city. However, leaving your city underpopulated coupled with terrible events (round 2) could have devastating impacts on your growth opportunities.


The game is over when the Earth card is pulled during the third phase of turns, after which each player counts up their victory points and the most wins. Points are earned for every 2 workers and an additional 2 bonus points for the person with the most in their city. You will earn points displayed on your various cards you have purchased, as well as points for every 4 minerals unspent in your mineral storage. The player with the most gems also earns an additional 2 points.

Game Components

I was playing the game with a prototype version of the game, and so it’s worth noting that some of these components could change in the final version of the game. There were a few notes the developer shared with me around my copy, which I will share here.

My version of the game included 150 V-Nauts, while the final version will include 200. The final version of the game will also include a mech-unit for each player which is purely cosmetic and doesn’t change the core gameplay in any ways. There are also little plastic trays that hold the V-Nauts, and three different mineral variants.

The card quality on my copy of the game was better than expected for a prototype copy, so I have high hopes for the final production copy. The components themselves were all of fantastic quality. The screen print on the workers was fantastic, giving them a true astronaut vibe.


The minerals included were great little plastic bits, and the die each player gets was marbled and etched, not screen printed. The central board isn’t really a board at all, but a stitched neoprene mat. This comes standard in every game.

The player boards are really unique, and I enjoy how they work. Throughout the game you will be upgrading your city with new cards, and these cards will slide into slots for each sector. The cards easily slid in and out on my prototype copy, and the developer promised even better quality in the final version.

The system works really well, although on a few occasions we did leave a card or two in a city when cleaning up!

The rulebook itself was probably 95% clear on most items. There were a few instances where my gaming group felt the rule book could be better, but when we brought those concerns forward to the development team, they assured us they would be fixed in the final copy of the game. The art throughout – the rulebook, the cards, and the mat – was fantastic, and we had no complaints what-so-ever.

How does it Play?

If you play board games a lot – which my gaming group does – this won’t feel as much like a medium weight game as the development team has billed it as. That’s not a knock on the game in any way, but rather a statement echoed by everyone who’s played it with me so far.

For reference, my core gaming group has a combined 500+ board games, and play multiple nights per week. We tackle quick card games, and long, drawn out Euro style games as well. If you are as experienced as we are, you might find this one a bit light, which is always good every once in a while. That being said, the ease of play and the quickness of the experience (15 minutes per player, average) makes it a great game to bring back to the table time and time again.

While there were minor mixed feelings on how all the systems worked, the overall opinion was that this was still a fun game, and one everyone would play again and again. With more cards than necessary in the box to play a game, there is a great chance that each of your games will feel unique, or at the very least, slightly different than the last time you played.


There are more than required cards for each phase, and more than the number of cards required for the International Innovation Station upgrades. How you use these cards will also change, making it hard to establish a one-strategy-to-win-them-all approach. This variability in games is a really key component for my gaming group, and drastically changes how often a specific game will make it to the table.

I felt that, even with some of the more complex systems (resource / worker management here is key to success), my 9 year old could easily play this game, which is fantastic. Finding good games that kids can play, that are also fun for adults, can be pretty tough. It is also a game I can introduce to a wider audience of players, perhaps those who don’t have an affinity for worker placement and resource management games.


I’ve reviewed a ton of board games over the past half decade, and worked with some truly outstanding partners. This, however, is the first game I’ve ever reviewed that wasn’t widely available at retail. I’ve introduced this experience to over 10 different folks over a two week period, and played it at multiple player counts, and it continues to hold up in many ways.

As an introductory game, it’s really great as the ease of learning and the quickness of play keeps players engaged. However, the complexity of the systems and mastering the art of creating your city also makes this enjoyable for seasoned gamers. One thing that was fairly consistent, however, was people asking where they could get their own copy. And that’s pretty good praise.


Article By

blank Kevin Austin has been in gaming journalism in one way or another since the launch of the Nintendo Gamecube. Married and father of 3 children he has been gaming since the ripe age of 6 when he got his first NES system and over 30 years later he is still gaming almost daily. Kevin is also co-founder of the Play Some Video Games (PSVG) Podcast network which was founded over five years ago and is still going strong. Some of his favorite gaming series includes Fallout and Far Cry, he is a sucker for single player adventure games (hence his big reviews for Playstation), and can frequently be found getting down in one battle royale or another. If it's an oddball game, odds are he's all about it.

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