Council of Verona

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Some games are draped with theme that immerses players in curriculum, while some require the application of content skills. A third category of games serve as instructional anchors, providing a launching point for discussion and a touchstone for review. Council of Verona is a game very centered in that last camp, introducing and helping learners understand many of the major characters and their relationships within the rich narrative that is Shakespeare's Rome and Juliet. In the game, players take on the role of citizens of Verona, working to help mediate the conflict between the Capulets and the Montague's. Players wield their influence in an effort to place characters in the game to the Council or to exile them from the land, all the while working within the agenda of the individual characters from the story. What sounds like a complex narrative, actually plays out simply during the game. Each player begins with a number of character cards in their hand. On their turn, the player places one card from their hand to the table, either on the Council or in Exile. Placement is important as each character has an agenda that needs to be met if it is to score. For example, Juliet will only score if she is together with Romeo (either on the Council or in Exile). Other characters have abilities that can be used when played, such as moving characters around. After placing a character on the table, players can choose to activate their ability, if they have one. Lastly, the player may place one of their influence tokens, which range from 0 to 5 points, on any of the characters on the board. Play continues until all the characters and influence tokens have been placed. Lastly, the players check to see which character's agendas have been met. For those that have, the influence tokens are revealed and the owning players score the appropriate points as indicated on the tokens with the winner being the player with the most points in total. The Council of Verona is a simple game of bluffing, betrayal and social deduction which fits nicely with the theme. While Romeo and Juliet can be complex and intimidating to some learners, the fast gameplay makes it easy to use Council of Verona as a nice lead-in or reminder for learners as they revisit the cast of characters throughout their studies. Additionally, character powers and agendas nicely reflect their motives from the story adding an extra element of support for learning. The game plays up to five, so a few copies of the game can easily accommodate a class of students broken up into four or five groups. The quick gameplay means it won't take too much time away from the class. But most importantly, the ease of play and the aid in helping learners understand the wide web of characters from this literary classic make the game a must have for high school english classes.