Lorenzo il Magnifico, the videogame

Dominate over Renaissance Florence in this strategy game

The name of “Lorenzo the Magnificent” takes us immediately to the splendor of Renaissance Florence, where the Medici and other noble Florentine families competed for power and prestige.

Lorenzo il Magnifico is the title of the video game I’m playing during these strange days of 2020, in which, at the head of a noble family in Renaissance Florence, we try to win as many “victory points” as possible to win over other members of the nobility to emerge as a Lord from Florence.

The game is a turn-based worker placement strategy game and is the direct transposition, by Studio Clangore, of a highly successful board game developed by Cranio Creations. It was created thanks to a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter and, after a period in “early access”, debuted in October 2020 with its official version.

Everything takes place on a virtual board that reproduces Renaissance Florence and closely resembles the board game. Valuable victory points are earned by placing members of your family in strategic positions in the city. Each member of the family has a different level of potential decided by a roll of the dice, done by the computer in the digital version.

The game is divided into 3 eras and each era in 2 rounds, symbolized by day and night. During each round, it is possible to perform an action, sending a member of one’s family into the “tower” to become artists, abbesses, leaders, or even to conquer territories, build buildings or embark on enterprises. It is also possible to visit the market to obtain gold or servants, or to the council palace to assert one’s prestige by obtaining resources, or even to start the “harvest” or “production” to make conquests bear fruit.

It is even possible to enlist some “leaders” in your game, characters such as Michelangelo Buonarroti, Niccolò Machiavelli or Pico della Mirandola, who, if we meet certain resource requirements, can bring their unique qualities to our faction.

A brief video to show game play in Lorenzo il Magnifico

While managing resources we must also be careful to remain in the graces of the Church, accumulating with our actions “faith points” that will be required of us at the end of each era. The lack of these can lead to excommunication, with the relative loss of power of our family members!
At the end of the sixth round, the player with the most victory points, collected in various ways during the game, wins the game.

The game is actually quite pleasantly complex and it took me some time to understand the dynamics and become competitive with the computer. There is a well articulated and detailed tutorial, which I have done at least a couple of times, and which helps to overcome the rather steep learning curve. For a beginner like me, the easy AI level was pretty good already, and it took me several games to enjoy a win. I haven’t tried the medium level yet.

The game surely offers more fun with a friend, but at the moment I have not found any public online games available. The graphic interface perhaps needs to be improved and made more dynamic: it has many elements “pressed” all together, not always in the best position in relation to their importance. It is still a 1.0 version, so presumably it will be improved upon more (for example, an “undo” button would be appreciated to cancel the last action, one that was made by mistake!) and several small bugs need updating that I found in the text. The feeling is certainly that of a nice board game and will appeal above all to fans of the genre, but it is enjoyable for anyone, thanks to the charm of the setting.

If you like board games or even simply turn-based strategy video games of a certain complexity – better yet if you have one or more friends with whom to share this passion – we highly recommend Lorenzo il Magnifico, to buy on Steam. It is certainly worth the price, but occasionally you could also buy it at a discount when there is a sale.