Carnevale is a skirmish wargame from TTCombat with a strong narrative focus and features dynamic acrobatic movement. It’s set in the canals and alleyways of a dark fantasy Venice where factions of thieves, underwater creatures, plague doctors, vampires, the nobility, and religious enforcement battle it out.
Carnevale is a narrative-driven skirmish game, which aims to keep the rules-light and action fast, so it has simple mechanics for tests. All rolls are done using 10-sided dice (D10), and usually require rolling a 7 or more, with a number of dice rolled based on the stat being used for a test. Opposed tests see players rolling off against the same stat and some tests use an opposing stat for the target number.
Each turn, characters have a number of action points that they can use to complete actions, like moving and attacking, and leaders also come with command points which they can use to give other units additional actions or activate powerful command abilities.
There is a focus on acrobatic movement and the use of water that dominates the Venice setting. Some units are sea-based creatures and can swim through the canals to fall upon their prey, which they can drag into the water. Other units can make use of gondolas, which can help ferry your characters around the map. There is a bonus for attacking a foe after moving from a higher position, which benefits games with lots of multilevel terrain.
It’s this focus on 3D movement that makes Carnevale stand out. Games take place in the tight streets and canals, but there’s always room to maneuver and usually an awesome story point to come of it.
Carnevale - What Do You Need To Play?
To play Carnevale, you need the following:
- A copy of the Rulebook of which 3 options are available:
- Full Rulebook - Gloriously illustrated with a huge amount of background detail
- Digest Rulebook - A smaller, thinner edition that's easier to navigate and great for use during play
- Free online PDF - So you can see how Carnevale plays before delving further
- 10-sided dice (D10) - Ideally 6 or 7, with 1 of a different color from the rest
- Miniatures for your gang - The awesome Carnevale miniatures by TTCombat are full of momentum and character and each starter gang box is well designed to get a feel for each gang before expanding further. All of the stats and character cards are available for free via the Carnevale Gang Builder so you can see them before you buy.
- Tape Measure, Templates, and Markers - Some weapons and abilities require the use of an area of effect and teardrop marker, as well as other counters and tokens for marking effects. The 2-player starter set comes with all the templates and tokens you’ll need, but if you’re looking to start playing outside of the starter set, you can pick up a dedicated Carnevale Tokens and Template Set that also includes a range ruler and dice.
- Game Mat/Scenery - Games of Carnevale are designed to be played over multi-levels and canals. This can be achieved easily with a game mat and some small card boxes. Both the Intro Set and Starter Set contain mats and card buildings to get you going, and Carnevale MDF scenery is also available from TTCombat to really bring your games to life.
Intro Set - Escape From San Canciano
If you’re looking to taste Carnevale, the Intro Set is the perfect way. It contains 2 small gangs, a copy of the full rulebook in digest form, and all the other dice and tokens you’ll need, along with a game mat and some card buildings. The miniatures are single piece sculpts, so if you’re a beginner hobbyist, you can start playing very quickly.
It expands perfectly into the 2-player starter set, or you can start collecting a different gang straight away from this set.
You can read more about the Escape From San Canciano intro set in our preview here.
2-Player Starter Set
If you’re already interested in Carnevale, the 2-player starter set is incredible value and contains a huge amount of content. It has a copy of the full rulebook, which includes a huge amount of background information and lore. It also contains dice, acrylic tokens, loads of card buildings, and 9 map tiles so that you can create a variety of different cityscapes to battle over.
The 2 includes gangs are the same as the Intro Set, expanding them further, without any duplicate sculpts, or if you’re starting here, both gangs offer a solid foundation for building up if you like how they play.
Starter Gang boxes give a solid foundation from which to build a gang up, whilst gaining an insight into how they play. Each of the 7 factions has a dedicated Starter Gang box, except the Gifted, who are a group of individuals rather than a dedicated force, so an Expansion Box is available for the Gifted.
The Guild and Rashaar Starter Gangs include leaders and henchmen from the 2-Player Starter Set, with different sculpts, so even if you have the Intro or Starter Sets, you won’t double up on any miniatures and will gain a lot of flexibility in building your gang.
The available Expansion Boxes for each faction contain warriors with unique elements to balance out your chosen gang, such as the offensive Holy Crusaders for the Vatican, the comical Pulcinella Pub Crawl for the Guild, or the wild Beast Tamers for the Doctors.
You can find all the unit cards for all the Carnevale units in the Carnevale Gang Builder, so you can see what each box adds to your faction before purchase.
There are several individual heroes available, some unique to a gang like the Black Lamp for the Guild, who protects them from magic, or those that available to several gangs, or can be united under a Gifted gang.
You can see the stats and which gangs can take the different individual heroes in the Carnevale Gang Builder.
- Templates and Markers - An acrylic template and markers set is available, which also includes a set of dice. This is the same set included in the 2-player starter set but can be purchased separately if you want to start playing with a different gang from those in the starter sets.
- Dice - Custom dice in the colors of the different gangs are available to show your allegiance when you play.
- Agenda / Magic Cards - The rulebook contains details of the agendas and available magic, but for ease of play and super-quick reference, they can be purchased in card packs.
Carnevale is best played on a battlefield with tight streets and multiple leveled buildings. The Intro and Starter sets contain enough card building to get you going, but TTCombat also produces a huge range of great value MDF scenery that’s easy to put together and can quickly fill a battlefield with great looking terrain.
There are 7 different factions available for Carnevale, each with their own playstyle, and while we always advise you to pick the faction that looks the coolest to you, you can see a quick overview of each faction below, to see which one appeals to you.
- The Guild - The street-level citizens of Venice, thieves, and tradesfolk. They have a focus on mobility and have a Union ability that gives them a bonus to attack for having other members of the Guild around, but they have limited access to magic.
- Rashaar - Cultists, monsters, and their fanatical leaders. They have a great affinity with the waters of Venice and their gangs contain a mix of human spell-casters and powerful monsters.
- The Doctors - Magic users with strange and wonderful abilities. Some of them even power their weapons with their insane henchmen who follow them.
- The Patricians - Venice’s noble elite. Their heroes are very effective warriors and their henchmen are very effective at doing what they’re told, and taking damage for their betters.
- The Vatican - The religious military arm, looking to clean the streets of Venice. They’re considered a defensive faction, able to withstand large amounts of punishment, whilst buffing friendly units and slowly dealing damage back.
- Strigoi - Vampires. They specialize in close-combat, where they can do solid amounts of damage to their opponents, and gain health points back through their vampiric abilities, which they can then use to boost rolls at the cost of their own health.
- The Gifted - They are mercenaries for hire by other factions, but can be played as a gang themselves. Each character is a capable warrior, and they don’t have lower cost henchmen. This means they’ll usually be outnumbered but rarely outgunned.
The Carnevale Products used to produce his guide were provided by TTCombat.