January 2013


So for the New Year, our family game group decided to pull out an old favorite, Alhambra.  While Valerie’s game is clearly Carcassonne, I’d have to say that after a few rounds on Ne Year’s Day, I think my version of EuroGame CalvinBall is Alhambra.

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basic box for Alhambra

Alhambra starts as a card trick taking game, with the prize being (a) a tile for your Alhambra and (b) if you get the value in addition to the right amount or more of color for the tile, you get an extra turn.  So the ability to get multiple actions means you can do more things, such as get more money or yet another tile, reassemble your Alhambra, and more.

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large Alhambra formation toward end of the game

Points in the game are assigned by (a) the color of the tile acquired and within that, whether or not you are first (or first, second or third) in that color holding, (b) the longest continuous outside wall you have formed around your Alhambra, and (c) other stuff.

In the basic game, the value of the tiles (i.e. which colors are better than others) is fixed, which means that after a while, it’s pretty easy to figure out which tiles folks are going to try to get first.

Image scoring lists by color and reserve board to keep tiles purchased but not in your structure

The basic “gold” anniversary set version of the game was recently featured on Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop as well!

However, with expansions, the expansions basically allow to selectively “break” some rules and/or add variations, but only at certain times.  Additionally, there’s other ways to make victory points as well.

Now, while we do get fairly expansion crazy with Carcassonne, we temper the crazy a bit when we play Alhambra.  Why?   Read on!

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1)      Castles of Burgundy – This appears to be Settlers of Catan meets Alhambra, and it keeps staring at me while I’m at Barnes and Noble on my lunch break.

2)      King of Tokyo – it’s a goofy “King of the Hill” meets “Yahtzee” sort of game.  Monsters beat up each other in Tokyo.  You roll dice and can either fight other monsters, gain powers, or gain hit or victory points. Ultimately, it’s the theme that sells this one – I suspect Max would like this one.

3)      Lords of Waterdeep:  Scoundrels of Skullport – an expansion for Lords of Waterdeep.  Need I say more?

4)      Carcassonne expansions – there are still a few left that we haven’t found yet… (see previous) chief among these are Der Tunnels, which still hasn’t received a US release.  Guess I’ll be checking with my Canadian friends for this one!

5)      Agricola – While I’ve sat through multiple instructional videos on youtube, I still haven’t fully grasped Agricola yet.  I still hope to be able to learn Agricola to the point of being able to teach it to the rest of the family.  I’m hoping that the upcoming iPad adaptation may help move this forward.

Honorable Mention:  Eclipse on iOS.  While I understand how to play it already, having the iOS do the work on upkeep of things will make for a smoother experience.