EXCERPTS FROM THE FALL 1998 GA REPORT
FROM “K-BAN’S KORNER”:
EL GRANDE (Rio Grande Games; $39.95)
El Grande, Germany’s richly deserved 1996 Game of the Year, is finally available entirely in English…Wolfgang Kramer and Richard Ulrich’s collaboration is… the perfect 10! El Grande’s impressive map board represents nine regions of 15th Century Spain and includes a 4″ high 3D castle, the Castillo. Each of the regions, including the Castillo, has a mini-scoreboard indicating the points to be earned by having the most, second most, and sometimes, third most, nobles placed there.
The game is for three to five players and each player is randomly dealt a starting region where he places his high noble (represented by a large wooden block) or Grande and two of their average nobles (represented by small wooden blocks) called Caballeros. … Players are also given identical decks of color-coded power cards that are numbered from 1-13 and indicate, pictorially, how many Caballeros a player may transfer from his Provinces to his Court. The heart of this game is the interaction between five revealed action cards and the power card used to bid for them. Action cards allow players to move a designated number of their Cabelleros from Court to any region on the board adjacent to where the King (a tall, wooden marker) is currently situated. The action card also allows a player to take special actions that can benefit himself and/or hurt his opponents. Players study the five action cards on display and, in effect, bid on them…using their power cards… an elegantly crafted mechanism…to choose between long term and short term gratification…these choices can be excruciating…
Nine rounds make game (a playing time of 90 to 120 minutes) with scoring taking place after the 3rd, 6th and 9th rounds….El Grande has remarkable balance… no luck per se – just interaction caused by each player’s decisions….Highly recommended. – – – – – – Steve Kurzban
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Fall 1998 GA Report Articles