A Gnome's Ponderings

I'm a gamer. I love me some games and I like to ramble about games and gaming. So, more than anything else, this blog is a place for me to keep track of my ramblings. If anyone finds this helpful or even (good heavens) insightful, so much the better.
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That Dirk is a mean bastard

Lowell Kempf
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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Last night, my fiancé and I sat down to try out Belgique which is, as near as I can tell, a Belgium landmark retheme of Alhambra the Card Game. And, if I understand the history of Dirk Henn’s games correctly, Alhambra is a retheme of Stimmt So with tile laying added. So, the card game is basically Stimmt So again with a couple tweaks and we’ve gone full circle.

Man, and people say that Reiner Knizia recycles games and mechanics! The good doctor doesn’t seem to have anything on Mr. Henn when it comes to that!

At any rate, Alhambra the Card Game is just what it says on the tin. Take out tile placement and wall scoring along with it and it is exactly the same as Alhambra. (Okay, that does end up being quite a bit)

I initially had some concerns that the game would become too random since the value of Alhambra tiles is partially based on the walls on them and how hard it would be to place the tiles due to the walls. However, the card game still has the rule that paying with exact change lets you get another turn. Because of that, cheap cards weren’t necessarily an auto purchase and getting majorities still required careful money management.

However, the absence of the tiles actually showed up in the two-player game. Normally, Dirk, the dummy third player, is a pain but one who you can usually compensate for by building walls and getting extra points that way. In the card game, though Dirk becomes a real threat.

Dirk randomly gets 18 or so cards to score. In our game, he managed to corner the purple, white and green cards after the first scoring and proceeded to hammer us like a fiend. Maybe it was just luck of the draw but we both lost to Dirk and we learned not to discount Dirk.

Despite losing to the dummy player, we both enjoyed the game. It’s not as good as Alhambra the real game but it does play faster and it takes up a lot less space. So I know we will be going back for a rematch with Dirk and next time, we’re going to try and take him down.
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Subscribe sub options Thu Aug 11, 2011 5:41 pm
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