I really needed to put a pic of that because I thought this has to be one of the most perfect plays I had for a while.
Alhambra is fairly straightforward, except a few instructions when it came to shuffling cards. The board we had had:
- 2 scoring cards
- 1 deck of currency cards
- 6 different stacks of building tiles
- Fountain tiles – the starting point of our Alhambras
- Playing / Reserve mats with final scoring points
- Colour counters (2 for each colour)
- Playing board to place buildings, currency, and keep track of points with
For a start, each player chooses a colour and places their counter at 0 on the scoring board. Then each player is dealt with:
- 1 fountain tile
- 1 play / reserve mat
- Currency cards, dealt face down until the player has reached the total value of 20 or above
The board is then set up with 4 building tiles (taken blindly), on each currency slot.
Currency cards are then shuffled and split into five piles. Between the first and second pile, the first scoring card (with only 1 column) is placed. The third pile is placed below these two piles. Then, between the fourth and fifth pile, the second scoring card is placed.
The first 5 cards from the top of the currency deck are revealed, and the game starts.
The Game We Played
In Alhambra, the player with the least cards goes first. Gameplay is as straightforward as the setup – you either take money (or currency cards) up to value of 5 (so if you want to take a card with value 6-9, you can only take 1 card), or buy buildings.
Each building is priced according to the number on the bottom left corner of their tile and their corresponding currency. Players who pay exact change of that particular currency is entitled to a bonus action during their turn, and this can result in players clearing the building board in one turn.
We messed up the rules on our first game because our instruction manual was in German and we were relying on whatever we remembered on Tabletop to get us through. It was also funny when we realised we were placing our buildings in the most preferably orientation possible – not upright. The end of our first game ended up in weird-looking alhambras which looked like someone got desperate trying to beat a Tetris score.
Our second game was slightly better, with the three of us each at least taking a turn to reshuffle buildings in the most optimal way possible. While both Eisu and the Tiger laughed at how their Alhambras looked like, I was really proud of mine.
Gameplay Winners: The Tiger won both rounds…
…with myself and Eisu coming in second place for each of the two games we played. However, considering that the rulebook was in German and almost no one free had played the game before, Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop and Google helped us get through both games.
Experience-wise, I was glad I finally got to play Alhambra after I watched it on Tabletop. It’s multiple scoring mechanic makes the end game uncertain, but all the more exciting. Leading in the first round of scoring doesn’t guarantee higher points later on.
I loved the need for constant strategizing through the game, especially with the free-play-because-of-exact-change mechanic. And I’m sure the Tiger had fun too, because he had fun doing what he loved to do with regards to resources in board games – HOARD. LOL.
Nonetheless, Alhambra was designed by Dirk Henn. For more information on the game, click here.