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Zena 1814: A Historical Board Game

This Christmas, many people in Genoa and surroundings have found under treir trees a copy of Zena 1814, an interesting board game set in the last milestone of the glorious Republic of Genoa (Zena in Genoese language). It has landed even on the shelves of Feltrinelli, a national-wide bookseller chain, from where it became one of the most popular Christmas gifts in our city.

The game board

The game board

April 1814: A British decision at the Congress of Vienna puts an end to the 8 centuries of the Rupublic, whose indipendence had already been suspended under the French rule of Napoleon Bonaparte. This is the scenario where the game play is set.

The players will have to compete each other in order to gain as much influence as possible in 6 city areas (Fort, Old Town Streets, Palace, Cathedral, Port, and Bank), each representing a very important part of the actual economical and power part of the historical city.

But they will also engage in risky ventures and therefore will have to cooperate, thus reflecting the very essence of the Republic of Genoa, whose noble families always struggled for power while trying not to damage their common good. But the undelying lack of unity, much stronger than in Venice, the main competitor of Genoa on the sea trade routes in the Mediterranean, was one of the root causes for the decadence and bad luck of the Republic.

Being a language service provider, we particularly appreciate that the authors decided to include in the game some well-known popular expressiones in Genoese language, incomprehensible to Italian people living outside the region of Liguria and foreigners alike, such as Manezzi (Manipulation in the official game translation), Dagghe Abbretio (Grab Everything), and Invexendase (Working Without a Plan). This is a part of an ongoing rediscovery movement of the ancient Genoese heritage, language, and culture.

Game cards

We hope you will have the change to try and enjoy this game too! If you happen to be located outside Italy, you can still buy it online (see below).

Zena 1814 video review by W├╝rfel Reviews:

Useful links: