3 Chits, 3 Giggles
Province is a game for two players, each of whom takes on the role of a rival family battling it out for dominion over a small, seemingly tranquil provincial town. It's a pocket sized worker style game with it's own interesting mechanic.
A pocket sized worker game? Don't mind if I do. I'm a big fan of worker placement games such as Manhattan Project, Agricola and Lords of Waterdeep, and whilst Province is in a much smaller arena of complexity, it still has a great feel when you play it.
There is no real placement of workers. Instead, you kind of shuffle workers around the resource areas to try and get you what you need on your turn. Sometimes you might not want to move one to get a resource as this may stop your opponent getting what they are after. This adds a bit more strategy to the game.There are only two resources on offer; money and hammers. HAMMERS! Resisting the urge to shout “Hammer Time!” every turn is a major part of the game. Anyway, these resources buy you buildings, and the buildings get you victory points and more resources which get you more buildings and more victory points and more resources which get you more buildings… you get the idea. When all of them have been built, or a player has built seven of them, then the player with the most victory points wins. It's a classic winning condition for a reason; it just works. Players can also gain points by meeting victory conditions such as having a ton of cash at the end of their turn or hammering away on their turn like a person possessed.
It's a lot of game in a rather tiny package. The box could actually be even smaller still as I've popped the entire game in a little baggy when travelling light. It's a great game to play on train tables or aeroplane trays.
Province isn't perfect, but it is a rather fun pocket sized game that does something different and I love it. I've had a lot of games involving some tough decisions and seen some great turns by my opponents. Often they can be really close, with only a few victory points in it. A game only lasts about 20-30 minutes so you don't have to worry about getting too invested. Good timing and sabotaging your opponents turn as much as you possibly can is a major part of it too. Players can get a bit of a cheap win occasionally, as sometimes you just get lucky in that you happen to meet the conditions of each of the newly revealed VP tokens scoring you a load of points. This isn't that fun to watch if your opponent is the one getting all the VP’s especially after you've meticulously planned your turns to give you the best chance of a win (but on the other hand it is a bit funny if you're the one getting them). Luckily there are easy ways to mitigate this, through having the victory condition tokens all on show, this way players can aim for them if they wish rather than accidentally achieving them which is a bit rubbish.
The best bit about this game is that it only costs £7.99. That is an insanely low price for a game I enjoy so much. It’s the same price as Love Letter! Both are fantastic games, and whilst Province can only be played with two players and doesn't have the pacy fun of Love Letter, at just £7.99 I couldn't recommend it more.
Review by David Murcutt