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Rating Summary (23 Total)


2-5 players 45-60 minutes


Nice mechanics with no real knowledge of who is going to win! The setting in Venice has extra appeal for me. Easy to learn and quick to play. Big bonus in my group.


GAMEPLAY Classic Feld: Players represent families vying to gain the most influence in Renaissance-era Rialto. The game plays over six rounds with each round consisting of three phases. Phase 1: Several rows of six cards are dealt face up and, in turn order, players choose a row and take two cards from the deck. Players can also activate green buildings. Phase 2: Players play cards going in the assigned card order, and they can activate yellow buildings. Phase 3: Players can activate blue buildings. The cards (in card order): 1. Doge: turn order and tie-breaker; 2. Coins: payment for building activation; 3. Buildings: purchase buildings; 4. Bridges: earn VP and place Bridge Tile; 5. Gondolas: bring Consuls onto player board and place Gondola Tile; and 6. Consuls: move Consuls from player board into the current region. Players score VP for playing Bridge cards, getting district bonuses, building values, and area majority VPs that are the sums of all Gondola and Bridge Tiles for each area. THOUGHTS Somehow, I came across San Marco on BGG and immediately wanted to play it. Being well out of print, I accepted the fact that I would probably never play it (still haven’t). And then Rialto came along. Whether Feld has made any attributions or not, Rialto is at least inspired by, if not a reworking, of the classic San Marco. The game has drafting (in a sense), hand management, and area majority. In typical Feld fashion, you want to exceed in all the different card suits but each turn you’re limited to what row you choose and the cards you draw blindly. Of course, you can alter the number of cards you draw and keep through green buildings but this is going to cost you coins. Altering your hand becomes important because if you have the most of a card type, you get a bonus – kind of like the bonus you get for selecting a role in Puerto Rico. If there are any ties, you look at the Doge Track: it can make or break bonuses and ties when you score each area at the end. Bridges not only score you VP but also let you place the Bridge Tiles which could mean the area you’re winning scores 6 VP or only 3 VP depending on the way it’s oriented. You can’t ignore Gondolas though because you need to get Consuls onto your player board in order to put them out via Consul cards. Rialto distills many of Feld's mechanics into their most basic forms: a turn order track, punishment criteria, engine building, and needing to do a little bit of everything but not quite being able to do it all. Although Rialto is far from a thematic experience, it’s parts interlock tightly while at the same time allowing players to explore different strategies. The cards you get each turn and the order of the areas give the game a bit of variety but it’s dryness, be forewarned, will not be denied. PROS -The card and tile art are great and the component quality for both are above average. -I’m impressed at how all the systems interlock around the main game of playing the cards. -I like the fact that Gondolas allow you to sneak a Consul into a previous or future area but you can otherwise only add to an area during its specific round. NEUTRALS -I think the card play was supposed to feel like there is a certain amount of bluffing or moments of “A-ha!” à la Broom Service but this doesn’t really come through. Maybe because you’re bound to get one or two bonuses per round so losing the competition for a bonus doesn’t seem like a big deal? In the end, I don’t think the card play detracts from the game but it doesn’t have a wow or fun factor. -There are a few weird corner cases (e.g., what happens when you don’t have Consuls in the general supply) that cause you to reference the rulebook a few times too many but I understand why those exist. -The board isn’t an eyesore but it’s not appealing either. It wouldn’t have been hard to gussy the board art up a bit. Missed opportunity. CONS -Rialto might feature one of the worst score tracks in history. Instead of having the numbers be on the lights that dot the score track, you need to place your marker in the nebulous spaces between. -This game is in desperate need of a player aid to help new and returning players with bonuses, building abilities, and what those weird corner cases are.


2-5 player (best 4) 60 minutes


Decent mid-weight and quick game from Feld.


Turn order: the game.