Poison and Corruption: Council of Verona, Perfected

Last week, I wrote about Council of Verona, one of my favorite 2-player games right now. It has bluffing, drafting and a dramatic reveal at the end of the game. What could make it better? Add a splash of poison and a cup of corruption, and you have the best form that Council of Verona can take.

The Poison Expansion is tiny, just two more tokens for each player representing a vial of poison or a healing antidote. But Poison adds such a wonderful aspect to the game that it should come standard in the base game. Poison tokens introduce death into the town of Verona, just in case you thought Exile wasn’t harsh enough.

Instead of placing a scoring token on a character card, you can choose to poison them, killing them at the end of the game if no anitdote is administered as well. Many times in games I’ve played, Romeo and Juliet have met their demise even after finding each other in Exile.

Ouch.
Ouch.

Poison is harsh, brutal, and I love it. You can’t bet everything on one character because what if your opponent has secretly killed him? What if that’s just a bluff? What if they knew that you knew about how you felt about knowing that they knew?

Poison can change the composition of Council members at the end of the game, and the reveal is even more dramatic than before. Who died? Who scored? Will Romeo and Juliet ever NOT die? Poison is a fantastic expansion and I never play Council of Verona without it.

Just a few of the devastating cards in the game.
Just a few of the devastating cards in the game.

The Corruption Expansion is a whole other beast. With only 22 mini cards, this addition still fits inside the original box, so don’t worry about making this small game spill into other boxes. Compared to Poison, Corruption adds a lot of reading, unpredictability, and a lot of powerful effects. But don’t worry, it makes the game even better.

At the beginning of the game, each player is given four cards to choose from, each with different effects and powers. For example, Secure locks down a card so that no tokens can be moved. Pretty handy when other cards can swap tokens. But trying to choose only two cards is tough and it can shape what strategy you take for the round. The cards have enough variety that you can pick a lot of different combos to try out. One issue with the variety is that players have no idea what cards are in play, so predictability goes right out the window. But it’s not like Council of Verona was super predictable in the first place, so I’m totally fine with it.

During the game, players can play cards face up for an immediate effect, like swapping cards on the Council with those in Exile. Cards can also be played face up on characters for permanent effects. But the best part is that any card can be played face down on a character, only to be revealed at the end of the game. Corruption cards add another layer of bluffing and intimidation and it makes the reveal even more exciting.

Every player only has two cards, so there isn’t as much randomness as I thought there was going to be. But then again, I do prefer the 2-player game, so I can’t say what it will be like with 3-5 players. All I know is that Corruption is a welcome addition to Council of Verona because it adds more of the best parts already in the game. Bluffing, sneakiness, and all-around sabotage is what makes this game great, so Poison and Corruption are a must-have. This is the only time where poisoning someone can be a good thing.

Rob Cramer
Board games, board games, board games, board games. Board games? Board games. And Star Wars.

Tell us what you really think.