Walking in Burano – EmperorS4 – Review

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This game is a real brain burner.  Yet, it can be played casually.  Players can have a relaxed game or analyze and agonize over every little decision.  Either way, it results in a beautiful Burano street.

Heather Swanson

MeepleGamers

8/10

Publisher: EmperorS4


Designer: Wei-Min Ling


Artist: Maisherly


Game Type: Set Collection


Game Type: Tile Placement


Game Type: Card Game


Initial Year of Release: 2018


Age Range: 10+


Expected Playtime: 20-40 minutes


Number of Players: 1-4

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Theme and What is it?


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10/10

I’m sure you have heard of the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy.  I’m pretty confident that you have heard of the famous city of Venice in the same country.  Most people think of streets of water navigated by iconic gondoliers.

However, I’m not sure you know of the Venice like city of Burano in Italy.  They have a leaning tower of their own and waterway streets.  That is not all the city is known for.

Burano is unique for its colorful and decorated buildings.  This of course draws tourists.  Despite the waterways, there is still enough space on the sidewalks to accommodate ‘walking in Burano.’

Now, you see the premise of the game.  You become a builder in Burano trying to build a great place for inhabitants while also attracting tourists.  You need to be careful to adhere to building codes while balancing the needs of residents.

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Gameplay Mechanics


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10/10

Walking in Burano is a card game.  There are three sets of building cards.  They contain the first, second, and third floors available to build.  They are placed out in a grid fashion with the required number of cards being based on the number of players.

The cards are drafted according to specific rules.  An individual may select 1, 2, or 3 cards but they must be in the same column.  If taking only 1 card, it must be the top or bottom card.  Also, if taking 2 cards they must be next to each other.

Money is acquired during the card drafting step.  If taking only 1 card then 2 coins are received.  If a player takes 2 cards they only get 1 coin.  If 3 cards are taken then no coins are received.

The cards and coins are then used to build the beautiful homes.  Each house must be one single color or building codes are broken.  Each neighboring house must be a different color.  As well, the building has to be built from the ground up.  This can be altered by using the scaffolding cards each player has 3 of.

Building is not simply a matter of throwing down cards.  They must be payed for.  Builders don’t work for free.  The first card placed down on a turn costs 1 coin.  However, 2 cards cost 3 coins and 3 cards cost 5 coins.

These constraints in building costs are tricky.  That is because at the end of each turn players must discard down to 3 cards and 6 coins.

But wait, that’s not all.  Once all 3 floors on a house are built they immediately attract either an inhabitant or a tourist.  As if figuring out the building costs and floor levels were not a challenge enough, now you are trying to please specific people for different end game scoring points.

BOOM goes your brain!  So many choices!  Do you want the police officer to live in a house?  He wants a streetlight on the second floor of every OTHER house.  Want the Mayor?  He likes lots of pedestrians.  Want the tourist who is a little girl?  She wants to look at cats.  The man likes to see lots of green plants on a house.  Such picky people.

There are 11 inhabitants and tourists.  You can even house Santa Clause!  Know what he likes?  Yep, chimneys.  

My game came with a small little expansion published in 2019.  It had 3 new inhabitants to add to the game.  BOOM went my brain again. 

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Initial Impressions


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10/10

This is such a unique game type that I was excited to give it a try.  I really liked that is was based on a real location.  The theme fits right in with the draw to tourists.

I like the beauty of the game.  You build something to be admired at the end.  I was drawn by the compact size of the game as well as the player count.

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Game Build Quality


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8/10

The game quality is wonderful.  The cards are a good thickness and I just love the coins.  They have a sparkly sheen that makes them so much better than all the other cardboard coins out there that are painted to look shiny.

The box is cute on the inside.  It has places for the specific cards.  I just recommend that the cards are banded together or put in baggies.  Otherwise, shaking the box around results in a mess.

The rules are the only draw back for me.  I found them to be a little difficult to follow.  I think it could be organized a more clearly. 

The scoring pad is great.  It is in full color and pleasantly organized.  I could not imagine playing the game without this aid.

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Artistic Direction


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10/10

The art in this game is charming.  It is in fact integral to the play.  Tourists and inhabitants are drawn to certain details in the artwork.  These includes cats, flowers, plants, awnings, chimneys, streetlights, pedestrians, and shutters.  Even the storefronts can result in end point games.

Everything about this artwork is fantastic.  I especially love the 3 dimensional cat that works as the first player token.  The really unique thing about this art is that it is as much game as it is a tour of Burano’s beautiful homes.

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Fun Factor


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8/10

This game is a real brain burner.  Yet, it can be played casually.  Players can have a relaxed game or analyze and agonize over every little decision.  Either way, it results in a beautiful Burano street.

I like playing casually and building a street I enjoy.  Sometimes I don’t have to work too hard to come across a card or two that I can use to my advantage.  As long as I’m playing with others who want a casual experience I really have fun.

I don’t enjoy playing really smart folks who can think through 10 moves into the future. I just wanted to mention that because I know others who do enjoy that kind of mental pain.  This game does not disappoint in the ‘thinky’ category.  There is so much depth in these cards.

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Age Range & Weight


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9/10

The principles of getting cards, money, and attracting folks to your street is not simple.  This means it would be harder for younger kids to understand.  That is why I think 10+ is a good rating.

Once the rules are learned the game is not difficult to play.  However, playing well is a whole other matter.  Kids, and even adults, are not going to catch how to be really good at this game immediately.  That will take practice.

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Conclusions


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8/10

Walking in Burano is a pleasant and fulfilling card game.  It is easy to learn but has a depth that is not easily mastered.  The artwork and final product is delightful.

The theme is classy and sophisticated.  I like that it is about a real location with a real objective to attract people to its beauty.

The mechanics are relatively easy to learn and hard to master.  There is some luck but lots of planning.  As cards change players must weigh and balance options in order to try to earn the most points. Strategy alone will not be successful.  A certain degree of risk needs to be taken.  What a creative game!

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