This game has a large deck of oblong cards and a fairly simple map of provinces in Renaissance Italy. The object of the game is to acquire four connected provinces. Game play is fairly simple as players use numbered cards to get the highest bid for a given territory. Unlike standard auctions, in which only the highest bidder loses their bid to the "bank", in Condottiere, every player loses their bid. Players are, in effect, bidding the number of troops they are willing to lose to win the territory. However, several special effect cards shake the contests up and keep the players guessing. The newer version (FFG) has a much smaller box, standard sized-cards, slightly tweaked rules, new card abilities and a lower price.

BoardGameGeek Info

Fantasy Flight Games
Published in
My Rating
BGG Rating
BGG Rank
1.9577 / 5
December 2009
Eager to Play
Last Played
February 27, 2010
Time Spent

In Condottiere players are trying to win control over areas of Italy by committing militia into a fight. Players have a handful of cards which they play as they bid for control of an area of Italy, as determined by a marker on the map. The winner of the contested area usually gains control of the marker for the next fight. Among the various types of cards in play some merely add a numerical value, some wrest control of the marker for the next fight away from the champion, some invoke the Pope thereby removing the highest valued militia from play and marking an area off limits, some alter the value of militia, some allow a player to put a militia back into their hand, and some immediately end the conflict. Players each get an opportunity to play cards or pass, but once they pass they cannot play again for that area. Once everyone has passed the conflict is resolved, meaning the last person to pass has an opportunity to play lots of cards. The caveat: you do not get new cards until only one or no players have cards left!

Not all the cards in the deck will be played, because when new cards are dealt the deck is shuffled again, so counting cards will not help. This adds to the tension in the game because no one is certain what the other players have. People can start strong committing high-number militia only to have the Pope remove them, or they take them back into their hand again. Players have to carefully consider how many cards they are willing to play, and which ones, and decide when to allow their opponent(s) to win an area.

Five plays

  • February 27, 2010
  • February 20, 2010
  • January 15, 2010
  • January 01, 2010
  • December 31, 2009