Games with Two

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Isn't This Just Carcassonne - Alhambra - Take One

Jason Moslander
United States
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I recently obtained a copy of Alhambra in it's "Big Box" form (this includes the base game and the first five expansions to the game). This is a game that I have heard much about over the years, but had yet to play. This game won the Spiel des Jahres in 2003 and it appears that Queen Games may be gearing up for a 10th Anniversary edition of this game in the same vain as Puerto Rico and Carcassonne have done. Alhambra is a Eurogame to the core. Almost no theme, little to no conflict, and an awesome game mechanism that cannot go unnoticed. I have only played this game once so far, so this is going to be my initial impressions of the game and how our gaming experience went. Please keep this in mind as you read. My opinions may change as I play this one more, but until then here are my initial thoughts.

A quick overview of the game and then into my thoughts. Alhambra is a 2-6 player game that plays in about an hour. This is a tile-laying game where each person is trying to extend their "Alhambra". At the beginning of the game, each player has a fountain in front of them. They then take turns either collecting money of various currencies, purchasing tiles, or rearranging their current tiles. As you purchase tiles, you add them to your Alhambra or your reserve to be used later. Most of these tiles have a wall on them, and you have to make sure that as you lay your tile it is oriented so that a "person" can get from the fountain to that tile without crossing over any walls. Play continues in this way until there are not enough tiles to add to the market. At this point, the game ends. During the game, there are a three scoring rounds where you get points for your longest wall segment, and for obtaining the most of a certain color tile. In two of the scoring rounds, the person with the second most tiles of a given color also scores points. Then, in the final round, first, second, and third place all score points. The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.

We played this game with six players (please keep this in mind as I give my thoughts). First, of all this is a solid Eurogame. If you enjoy Carcassonne and you would like a similar feel, but something just a little different, this might be right up your alley. If you hate Carcassonne and want something just a little different, this might be right up your alley, too. There is some great game play in this game. There is simple decisions, but some deep strategy which makes this accessible to new players, but has depth for experienced players. There are also five expansions that I haven't even touched yet that will keep the game fresh for a long time to come. My criticism for this game is that with six players, it felt as if it took forever to get to your turn. The game really dragged with six players. I think this may have been caused by playing the game with six new players, but I felt the pace was very slow. I think this could pick up in future games, but it also seems that this would play much better with three or four players and that six players was a stretch. Another player at the table critiqued that there were not enough options and that they felt they were unable to do much on their turn. I think that if you add some expansions that could change drastically. Overall, if you enjoy Eurogames this one may be worth picking up, and I believe the price is very reasonable at around $30 to $35 dollars. The price maybe a little higher right now as I believe the game is in between printings. Overall, a lovely game. Could scale a little better, but solid play. I want bring this one back out soon for Mrs. Games with Two and see how she plays with 2-players.

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Subscribe sub options Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:59 pm
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