Lorenzo il Magnifico is easily my favorite board game of all time, so when Cranio announced they had an official app available I jumped on the opportunity to play it.
Just like the physical board game, it’s a worker placement game for 2-4 players that takes about 90 minutes to play. The best experience is with 4 players so all worker placement spots in the market are available for use.
If you want an overview of how the board game is played, you can check out our review of Lorenzo il Magnifico here. When first logging into the app I highly recommend changing the settings on Sound FX and Music as they run oddly too loud for me. From there, you can choose to Play Offline where the tutorial is located or Play Online where you can play virtually with other real live gamers. Play Offline is also where you will be able to choose to play against their easy or medium AI opponents. There is currently no option to play “hotseat” (i.e. have more than one human player on one app instance).
Digital Game Experience:
Learning the game using the app’s tutorial was actually quite effective and I would urge even those who are familiar with the board game to at least look at the Harvest and Production segment. I will admit that I did not go through the tutorial for the app, thinking that it would feel similar to the physical board game, and it proved me wrong, costing me the game. There are nuances with the app that will impact the power of your actions so don’t let your pride take over like it did in my first game.
I have not had any experience with public lobbies so unfortunately, I cannot share any insights on that. However, the private lobbies with Steam friends have some lag on when players can enter the game, which I can only assume is a bug. I tried creating a lobby with two other friends and one of them was able to get into the game but two of us were not. Cranio has indicated that they are constantly making improvements so you do have future updates to look forward to if you find more inconvenient bugs.
I would be remiss not to mention that this app takes nearly half my CPU and a third of my memory to run, so please keep your computer’s available resources free when trying to play. Despite the hog on resources, I noticed there was still some lag when reviewing others’ portfolios so don’t expect to be able to immediately review their engine if they added an asset.
There are some cosmetic issues in this app that bother me, simply because I have been playing Lorenzo il Magnifico since it released and I had high expectations for the app. In the app, each card gets its own page in a portfolio book that you need to manually tab through so it’s hard to really understand the engine your opponent made. I sort of get the literal portfolio interpretation but it’s more cute than it is practical.
It’s also so hard to see the track at the Church to interpret your standing with the Pope, which they have aesthetically changed to small candles in the windows. Opponents don’t have their own candles so I almost always ignore how they are performing on the faith track. The biggest issue with gameplay is the lack of information available on the four towers and their requirement that you select the asset to learn more about it. They did not implement tooltips in the app so you need to select most things to get the full explanation of their benefits. It’s understandable that they had to make some cuts on details to fit all of the game information into a 16:9 standard format, but it still bothers me.
All this being said it’s clear that this app seems to be tailored to those who have not had experience with the actual board game and if it weren’t for the AI I’m not sure this app would be worth it. If you are an experienced player, the medium AI is decent but beatable.
Although I have several complaints about the aesthetic experience, there were some improvements that can only be found by playing the app. Leader cards show that you can either “befriend” them or “discard” them and you get a thematic formal letter from the Leader after their requirements are met. You can also make easier connections between worker value and the dice rolls, and territories are auto-locked or auto-unlocked based on military power. Like any scripted implementation, automatic scoring and rules enforcement is also a welcome addition.
This app is for those who are both 1) patient with boardgame apps in early development and 2) eager to play Lorenzo il Magnifico which is difficult to find in stock these days. If you are a fan of the board game and can slightly modify the way that you assess the state of the game board, this is a decent way to get in gameplay with friends online or against the AI included in the app. However, if you rely on seeing the full glory of this board game on the table to understand the state of things, this app is not for you.
Final Score: 3 Stars – Head a family in Florence during the Italian Renaissance to vie for fame and prestige in this app adaptation of the original worker placement board game.
• Details are hard to read
• Game still has bugs
• Resource intensive to run on PC