Published by the German company Queen Games, Alhambra is a board game for 2 to 6 players, age 8+, and has already won several awards since it first came out in 2003.
The idea is to build your own Alhambra palace, buying in masons and architects (i.e. the buildings) from 4 different countries. Of course, everyone wants paying in their own national currency and not only are your resources limited and semi-random, but there is no such thing as foreign exchange. Or change.
There are various types of building available, each with its own value when it comes to totting up points – providing you’re among those with the most of that type of building at the time.
So Alhambra requires a certain amount of strategy and forward planning, especially if you don’t want to be stuck because of the way you’ve built your walls. What is currently on offer from the architects may well be affordable now, but do you really need that extra tower? Will the walls around that pavilion be a problem later? Maybe you can’t use that seraglio, or it won’t get you any extra points, but if you buy it that’ll stop one of your rivals building one and getting marks for it…
The winner is the one with the most points at the end of the game, with the twist that points are calculated at three points throughout a game, with different criteria each time. Now that can make things a bit more fraught.
An enjoyable game with easy-to-follow rules for all the family. You can also play it with friends and still keep them as friends afterwards. Highly recommended.