About game:

Withe the great anticipation I was awaiting another game in The Great Statesmen series – Versailles 1919. I am a big fan of Churchill and Pericles so my hopes were really big.

Versailles 1919 takes us to the peace conference after The Great War, held in Paris in 1919 for six month. The main decision makers then were Woodrow Wilson (United States), David Lloyd George (United Kingdom), Vittorio Orlando (Italy) and George Clemenceau (France) – and the players would be able step into the boots of those leaders.

The game introduces a card-bidding mechanism in which you use your influence to settle issues aligned with your agenda while keeping domestic constituents in support of your actions i.e.e happiness. You need to balance the need to demobilize your military forces while simultaneously keeping regional unrest under control. All of these decisions are set against the backdrop of regional crises and uprisings.

To win you do not only have to settle issues but also progress with your agenda – depicted in the game by strategy cards. Whoever gets the most points once the finishing issue is settled, wins the game!

You can play the game with 1 to 4 players. The solo mode is pretty interesting, as you do not manage one, fixed nation representation. It changes during the play and each time an issue is unsettled, you immediately take the place of the side with least points! How to win? You need to accumulate 20 VPs (normal difficulty level) and you score only if at the begging of the turn your faction is leading in negotiations. Sounds difficult? Oh, it is!

So would you stand-up to the task and manage the negotiations to prevail against your opponents?

Number of players:

This is one which you can play from 1 to 4 players although I personally prefer full table, with 4 live opponents or alternatively the solo mode. Still, teh game facilitates and number in that range.

Playing time:

Definitely the game is not overly long – first sessions might take you up to 2.5 hours, but with experience you can finish in 1.5 hour. A lot depends on number of players and variant you plan to use – you can manipulate game length with the number of issues to settle.


The game is not overly complex and you will pretty quickly grasp the main mechanics – the board helps you to a great extent to guide you through main events – like settling issue or uprisings. Also, in case of doubt you can find the help on Boardgamegeek. In essence, that game have a moderate entry barrier but could be really hard to master!

What I like:
  • Theme – I love history and Paris 1919 negotiations are one of the most important episodes in XX century but on the other hand – pretty obscure and overshadowed by World War II. But the roots of the majority of future problems – like Middle East, Africa, Nazis – lay there. It is great to have a game which touches that very interesting topic.
  • Superb quality components – just have a look at the board, the cards, the player aids! They are designed to the finest detail and truly reflect what would you expect from.
  • Length of the game makes it perfect even for a weekday evening and even in full, 4-players set-up. We also option to shorten it or prolong, depending on the number of issues used.Solitaire rules – here we have a very innovative approach – no fixed nation to lead but more like a “behind the scenes” manipulation to maximize your gain. The rules itself are written in very straightforward way and if there is any doubt – you just interpret it in the player favor. Still, this is very challenging and difficult mode and I managed to win only once so far.
What I do not like or would like to see in the game:
  • The game looses a lot if you play it in a group where there is no willingness to negotiate and to feel the theme of the game. I am blessed with boardgame friends who can really immerse themselves into almost every topic so the play becomes a great endeavor. But that possibly might not play out with completely random group of players.
  • In Churchill, I really loved to see how our negotiations influenced the war effort; in Pericles, I had immediate translation of won issues onto the internal and external situation; In Versailles we are negotiation the peace but we do not see the final shape of the World. Oh, how I am missing some kind of the depiction of the negotiated agreement – be it a political map or some other mean of conveying the info. I understand it might have been hard to put this into the rules / box but maybe some clever developer will create an app to which you will be feeding the settled issues and out of which we will get the New World?
For whom?

Definitely for people who love to digest history, appreciate well-designed and beautifully produced games. For those who treat the boardgames as a way for social meeting, negotiations and even some friendly bickering 🙂

More about the game:

And now let us have a look at the components – all pictures taken during my plays (you can click on each and every of them to enlarge):

An overview of the Versailles session in the middle of play
Trying to out-play bot in solo mode is a real challenge; above one of my attempts.
The board and cards are beautiful to the last detail
Close-up on the VP track and exhausted and demobilized forces



Let us be clear – Versailles is not a game for everybody. The essence and key area of that title are negotiations rather then actions (although the latter is also important). When comparing to other Great Statesmen series titles – like Churchill or Pericles – we have here much less war / violence, much more politics / agreements forging. This is beauty in itself and when you approach that position from that dimension, you will enjoy it wholeheartedly. Of course, that does not mean that you do not plan to outplay your opponents; simply, the tools used are different and much more nuanced.

As a final words, I am really glad that Mike Herman continues his series and that new designers are contributing to it – like Geoff Engelstein. I can only wish we get more designs like – and Congress of Vienna is already on its way!

See you in another game review!