The Voyages of Marco Polo board game
The Voyages of Marco Polo board game

The Voyages of Marco Polo

A Grand Voyage!
The year is 1275, and Marco Polo has finally reached the court of Kublai Khan after four years of grueling travel over the Silk Road. Together with his father, Marco hoped to establish news trade routes to bring riches from the East back to Europe, and in The Voyages of Marco Polo, you will attempt to do the same.
Players will attempt to recreate Marco Polo's famous journey over the Silk Road, playing as Marco and his father or one of their many associates from their travels, each with their own unique power. Collect points by completing contracts, visiting new cities, and reaching your final destination of Beijing and the court of Kublai Khan. Do you have what it takes to prosper? Find out in The Voyages of Marco Polo!

Preparing to Set Out
The Voyages of Marco Polo is a Dice Placement game. At the beginning of each Round, players will roll their dice and then take turns placing those dice in space on the board for various effects. Some spaces have the same effect no matter the number on the die placed there, but some spaces have different effects depending on their result of the roll. Some spaces even require you commit multiple dice and take the action based on the lowest number rolled among the dice placed there.
Placing dice is how players move their merchants down the trade routes and toward Beijing, gather money to pay for goods and their travels, acquire resources to fulfill their contracts. And, spaces are limited! Once another player has filled a space, you'll need to spend more resources in order to take the same action, potentially setting your plan back or forcing you to readjust. Plan well and choose your actions wisely, and you may just find yourself ahead of the pack.

Multiple Strategies
There are many decisions to be made from round to round, and there are multiple avenues to victory in any given game. The roads you take to victory can change from game to game thanks to the special power of your character and the unique city bonuses used for each.

Unique Powers
Each character has their own unique ability that can hugely impact your strategy as the game progresses. Raschid ad-Din allows you to choose the value of your dice rather than rolling them. Niccolo and Marco Polo give you an additional figure to move across the map and a camel at the beginning of every round. Take advantage of your special skills and leave your opponents in the dust!

Different City Cards Every Game!
With 31 different city cards, every voyage will be unique. Plan your route carefully as you seek to take advantage of the bonuses each city has to offer. At the beginning of each game, the city bonus cards will be drawn randomly from the deck, providing new strategic opportunities and incredible replayability.

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User Ratings & Reviews

  • 53 mini euro
  • Resource convert game has been covered by concordia, dice placement doesn't seem interesting enough. Expect similar euro games with a plethora of option like this got about the same score
  • It's hard to find one unprecedented thing (arguably aside from the balanced, exciting and varied yet simple character powers) that this introduced to the euro formula, but the smooth implementation of everything these designers have learned from playing and designing other games shows. It's an immaculately balanced euro that takes the best parts of dice while tossing aside the worst parts, and it makes you feel good about the things you've done by the end, even if you've played poorly and lost.And I should mention: Dennis Lohausen has designed one of the most charming and beautiful boards I've seen in the dry-Euro style. It's lovely and vibrant with all the colorful icons and pieces atop it, with plenty of rich details while still being very readable. Sure, the faces are mushy, but it brings me a strange joy.The dice are implemented near perfectly. The shifting value of different... um, values depending on how much cash you have and what you plan on doing really makes them pieces of a variable puzzle. Every round, you must re-evaluate what you can and want to do. The various ways to use camels to modify them are nice, but ultimately not used super often (and that's a good thing-- it rarely feels like I'm forced into 'fixing' bad rolls). The way getting new workers is implemented is also great. It's not a must-do action like Agricola or Stone Age, but a difficult tactical consideration-- you COULD spend the camels to do it, but are you guaranteed to get enough out of it? Will the board be too tight to take the actions you want?The powerful characters really add some fun variability and a nice bit of theme. It's not "thematic," but the theme is there and rather charming. Admittedly, the history of Marco Polo and medieval Eurasia is a guilty pleasure of mine. That's icing on the cake. The cake being that this game is really, really fun.
  • Believe the hype! This is a marvelous game with unending replayability. I have only two quibbles with it:-while the rule-book is great, and the player aids are helpful, I do wish reminders had been added to the player aids about the "extra" costs for the various actions.-not too surprisingly, VMP is very AP prone, which can lead to major problems. How? A player can use up all of his dice before the others, and sits out the rest of his round. If he has one or more AP-prone players still playing that round, the player may have a long, tedious wait before there's anything to do again! You've been warned.For a euro, Voyages of Marco Polo is very well-themed. I don't know what it is with Italian designers, but they seem to have a talent for wedding historical theme with mechanics.
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Top Forum Posts

The Voyages of Marco Polo - First Impressions image
Marco Polo - First Gameplay image
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User Activity Feed

Honestly, mine would be #Root because the dice rolling still plays quite a large role. For family games, it would be #Camel Up (Second Edition) for nonsensical fun. For one that heavily features dice manipulation so that you can efficiently use/gain resources to fulfill contracts for VP's, I like #The Voyages of Marco Polo.

What exactly is your wife looking for in a dice-based game? Is it the thrill of luck? The puzzly fun of manipulating the dice rolls?

It gets worse.  I only mentioned the 2 that I thought were most "classic".  Off the top of my head I know there's also #SeaFall, #Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures, #The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game, #Istanbul, and #The Voyages of Marco Polo.  Those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head without looking at my shelves.  That's also not including the ones that I purchased to maybe give away as gifts or maybe keep. 

Oh shoot... there's also a little game called #Gloomhaven.  Forgot about that one. 

Let's see... with the family:

#Merchants of Amsterdam, featuring the best tagline ever: "Dutch auctions are the way to riches and power" :) Then a bit of an election kick, with #Campaign Manager 2008 and #Mr. President. And the always-enjoyable #Slapshot - scored a Tiny Tim goal!

With my (currently-online) game group:

#For Sale
3x #Codenames

#The Voyages of Marco Polo

And then in person on Sunday, 3x #Pax Pamir (Second Edition). 2 last place finishes, but one Turn 3 win! :D We're planning an all-Pax day soon!

Wow, lots of overlaps across the "games to start with" among others, and same for the out of print games. Will have to tally these up and report back on it at the end of this week :)

Concordia quickly became one of my wife and I's favorites. I eyed on #Troyes for the longest time but ended up going with #The Voyages of Marco Polo instead

Nice, I take it that dice manipulation/workers are one of your favorites? I have #The Voyages of Marco Polo and it's solid fun, although the cost of travel seems brutal at times

#The Voyages of Marco Polo is like that for me. It's a solid game--tight, fun manipulation of dice rolls and assigning where to place them, satisfying turns when fulfilling multiple contracts, and very unique variable player powers--but it never comes out because my wife and I prefer playing #Concordia and #Clans of Caledonia

I had a dice phase some months ago when I was on the lookout for the perfect game with dice workers! And I agree with you, I really enjoy the perfect mixture of strategical thinking and tactical decisions you make when trying to deal with the bad rolls.

The only ones I've played are #The Voyages of Marco Polo, #Atlantis Rising (second edition), and #Camel Up (second edition)

Marco Polo bears some resemblances to Coimbra I believe. In MP, you have a set number of dice workers that you can place on various spots. You can spend resources to hire more workers or get re-rolls. The big catch in MP is (1) when taking an action that requires more than one die, the "power" of your action is determined by the lowest numbered die and (2) when you want to place your workers on an already occupied spot, (1) you have to pay to take that action. The amount you pay is determined by the lowest numbere die. This makes it so that low numbered dice are just as important when you're really needing to take actions on populars spots without breaking your bank for it. Besides this, this game features highly unique variable player powers where one character doesn't even need to roll dice haha 

For #Atlantis Rising (second edition), it's a co-op game where players work together to gather different resources from different peninsula that jut out from the center of the island. The probability of gaining a resource increases the further you go out to the end of the peninsula but you also run the risk of not being able to take that action if the location you're standing on happens to flood away. You roll dice to determine if you obtained a resource. You can mitigate bad luck by spending "Mystic Energy"


#Camel Up (second edition) is a racing game and each die corresponds to a camel of the same color. To be honest, I think this is my favorite out of these three games. I absolutely love the random, silly, chaotic fun of it even though there's very little strategy involved.

I'd love to try out #Troyes. I feel like it would be one of my favorites within this category. I also have #Root that uses dice but it's not the biggest part of the game.

Some big games and some small games this week:

  • #The Voyages of Marco Polo (Yucata, multiplayer): I've been keeping an eye on this one for quite a while as it seems to be up my alley.  I definitely quite enjoyed it and the game seemed to fly by.  I probably could have used a turn or two more to it.  I might check out the second one to see if it fits even better.
  • #Imhotep (yucata, muliplayer) x2: I've played this one before.  It's a nice little game made good by the concept of filing boats with your stones but having any player move any boat to any location.  So do you fiit one more stone in a boat and hope you get it somewhere good but risk someone else sending it somewhere poor and/or taking the spot you want to go to, or do you send it now and get what you can?  Fun and quick.
  • #Concordia with #Concordia: Britannia & Germania map (britannia) (Tabletop Simulator, multiplayer) I've played this one quite a few times now although not on this particular map.  One of my favourite games and the TTS implementation we played was enjoyable and a good experience.
  • #The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine (Tabletop Simulator, multiplayer): First time playing this game.  It was a lot of fun!  Went through a few scenarios pretty quickly.  I could see even a non-gamer getting in to this.
  • #Kingdomino (Tabletop Simulator, Multiplayer):  I've played this game a ton.  A great fiiller game with just enough puzzle to keep your brain engaged. 

Would you say that the level of player interaction is pretty much comparable to most worker placement games then? It'll be mostly played at 2p with my wife, and the amount of interaction in typical worker placement games like #Viticulture: Essential Edition and #The Voyages of Marco Polo are enough for us.

How's #Coimbra? I looked into it when I was trying to decide between that and #The Voyages of Marco Polo. Ended up going for MP even though the overall presentation is sooooooo much nicer on Coimbra. Also, are you interested in #Alma Mater?

I tend to get to play most of what pops up as there are several game buys in my group.  However, there is always more to play.  My list not in any order:

  • #Lisboa Looks cool.  Play is complex.  Should make for a juicy afternoon.
  • #Ra I like auction games with my group.  I'm not great at them but we have a ton of fun.
  • #The Voyages of Marco Polo: Ever since seeing it on SU&SD I've been interested in playing it.  Looks like my type of game.  No one in my group owns it...yet...
  • #Eclipse: Traded for this game quite a while ago.  Haven't been able to get it to the table yet!
  • #Rising Sun: I love dudes on a map games but I already own quite a few so I can't justify getting this one.  Maybe I'll trade one of my other ones away for it one day.
  • #Grand Austria Hotel: Every automated "find your next game" web site always puts this one in my top few.  Looks interesting, want to try it!
  • #Mombasa: It's always looked interesting to me.  I haven't managed to find it for a price I am willing to pay yet.
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Ryan's Top 10 Favourite Board Games - Honourable Mentions (Nights Around a Table) image
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