It is 13th century Italy. Trade is flourishing between the city-states and the Levant. Venice, Florence, and Genoa are all bursting with wealth. However, each city-state is also plagued with a weak national army, leaving them defenceless against invasion from their envious neighbours. Enter the Condottiere.
As veteran English soldiers returned from the Crusades, Italy found itself with an influx of desperate and capable men. These hired swords were contracted to fight for individual city-states by an agreement known as a condotta. The most elite of these men were the mercenary leaders known as the Condottiere.
To achieve connected provinces, players auction off different provinces on the board and bid on these provinces with a hand of cards representing mercenaries, seasons, scarecrows, and political figures. However, unlike standard auctions in which only the highest bidder loses their bid, in this game every player loses their bid.
For 2-6 players ages 10 and up, plays in 45 minutes.
See it reviewed on Shut Up and Sit Down: