This is a really interesting game in that it’s different than many others you will find. During the course of the game you will build what is called an Alhambra. The way you build the Alhambra is buy purchasing certain pieces, but you need to decide when and what pieces to buy to guide you towards winning the game. The rules are a little more complex than some games so I will not try to explain all of them in this review but give you a general feel of the game. If the review interests you I strongly suggest you purchase the game or check other sites for more detailed copies of the rules to help you decide to buy or not.
In the game everyone starts with at least 20 units of money. The person that draws the least amount of money to start the game goes first. On your turn you have the options of collecting more money, purchasing a piece for your Alhambra that is available in the market, or to exchange a piece between your reserve area and your Alhambra. Each building piece has a market value and if you are able to pay exact change for the market piece you are able to take another of these actions. Otherwise your turn either ends (if you collected money), or you put the piece you purchased in your Alhambra or on your reserve area.
While building your Alhambra there are some rules, basically you have to build logically. Walls must touch each other when putting one piece next to another piece. When you play a new piece it must have one of it’s edges against the edge of another piece on your Alhambra that already exists. You also can not block the path to your fountain (your starting piece for your Alhambra) with any walls.
There are three scoring rounds in the game. These are determined when cards that end the round appear or at the end when you run out of Alhambra pieces. In each round the person with the longest wall receives points, and there are special scoring bonuses for each round as well. AT the end of the first round the person with the most of each type of piece gets a bonus for that particular type of piece. After the second round the first and second place people as far as the number of each particular piece score points. Finally at the end of the game the top three owners of the different categories of pieces each get points. At the end you add up all your points and a winner is determined.
The great thing about this game is it’s so much different than all the games that are just different variations of the same theme. You get to build, collect, and strategize at the same time. It will take a few games for you to start develop your strategy, but over time you will pick up on the nuances. I strongly encourage anyone looking for a different type of game to pick this up. This game is not cheap, but has strong replay value!