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Jessica
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Hacienda
Publisher: Rio Grande Games
# of Players: 2-5
Playing Time: 60-90 minutes

Rules: I found the rules to be very easy to understand. They are laid out over 6 pages with examples provided for most sections. Also included are 5 rule summary cards. These make teaching the game extremely easy. I just used it as a step-by-step instruction card and it provided a quick reference for players that are unsure of their next move.

Components: The components are high quality, which is exactly what I expect from Rio Grande Games. The tiles and rules summary cards are thick cardboard so they will hold up well to repeated play. I am a little disappointed with the small size of the cards. They are the same size as the Ticket to Ride cards. It makes shuffling a little more difficult, but the rest of the game is so well produced that I cannot complain too much.

Gameplay: Hacienda is a fairly simple game to play, but that doesn’t mean there are not any meaningful decisions to be made. You start out with 8 land and 4 animal cards in hand. Your options each turn involve performing three actions that include buying more land/animal cards, playing land/animal cards, harvesting your land tiles for more money, or playing a water tile or hacienda. The game is scored in 2 parts with each scoring round being triggered by the depletion of the animal card deck.

Impressions: I haven’t had a chance to try out the variants provided in the rules, but I do enjoy the basic game. There are many instances where one can play aggressively. You can work on blocking other players by cutting off their land tiles from further expansion or blocking access to a market. I feel this brings out the best in Hacienda since one has to work through problems as they encounter them. You enter into the game with a strategy in mind, but another player throws a kink into your plans. How are you going to adjust to earn the points you need for a victory?

Rating: 8/10
 
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