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Lungarno from ElfinWerks

By John Kaufeld
Published: November 10, 2010
Lungarno by ElfinWerks
Product: Lungarno casts players as the heads of merchant houses in 14th-century Pisa. The houses compete against each other to do business with the wealthy families of the city. The action takes place in the Lungarno district, along the banks of the river Arno.

The game's components live up to its Italian heritage. The pawns are a high-quality molded plastic, while the money is solid wood. Tiles feel thick and comfortable during play. The game should stand up to many, many playing sessions.

Gameplay: Lungarno makes some interesting tweaks and additions to the classic tile-based game-system customers love, like Carcassonne (Rio Grande Games) and Cable Car (Queen Games). By splitting the playing area into identically-sized districts, it adds a geographic challenge to the strategy.

Each round, players add one tile to any district of the city. At that point, they can place one of their merchants on the tile they just played, putting it on a shield representing one of the major families. As the tiles score, the merchant pieces come back to the player’s stocks, so they can go back out to new areas of the board.

But here's the catch: once any player claims a family's shield in a district, nobody else — including that player — may place a merchant onto the same shield in that district. Because some tiles score during play while others score at the end of the game, this adds a huge strategic element to the game. 

The game works well for any number of players, from two to five. It keeps two-player rounds interesting by reducing the size of the board and forcing players to interact more. That feature alone makes it a great recommendation for couples and people who seek out two-player games.

Marketing: Stock Lungarno near Carcassonne, since it's a natural up-sell for people who already like Carcassonne but want a new challenge.

Customers love hearing about the awards that games win, so talk up Lungarno's 2010 nomination for Best Family Strategy Game by Games Magazine.

To delight your customers and set up an easy add-on sale, consider printing and giving away copies of the free one-page Luminaria expansion below, originally posted on

The expansion requires 25 "candle" tokens to play. You can pre-package yellow pawns or counters in bags of 25, and offer them as inexpensive stocking stuffers to accompany the game. Koplow Games offers a selection of pawns, counters, and glass tokens that work perfectly for this, plus give you a very nice margin on the sale.

Product: Lungarno
Publisher: ElfinWerks and Red Glove, Italy
Stock No.: RG2004E
MSRP $35
Availability: All major game distributors

Interesting update of a classic style of game
Engaging for two players, as well as larger groups
Use the free Luminaria expansion for add-on sale opportunities
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