Alhambra was the new game we tried today. A tile laying game withsome good strategy. It is simple to set up and learn even for newbies. For those familiar with Carcassone there is a certain likeness in the way the Alhambra or palace is built. But we are talking about an individual Alhambra as opposed the common in Carcassone. Another factor here is that tiles have to be purchased here with money cards. Money cards are in four different currencies and there is abulding market for the tiles. The market carries 4 tiles but each has to be paid for by a different currency. So when u have the currency the cost of the building might change as someone else would have bought what u had in mind. So there is a lot of choices to be made in each turn with taking money cards, buying and laying tiles or redisgning the Alhambra by taking away a tile, placing a new tile or exchanging a tile. Here is where a stock of reserve tiles not used for the building comes into play.
The most advantageous position for one would be when u have the exact amount required to buy a building because if u pay more u do not get back change! Now when the exact amount is paid u get another free turn to do one of the three actions. Tus a maximum of 5 turns can be exercised if u can buy all the 4 building on the market by paying the exact cost in that exact currency. In essence u also have to collect and save your money cards to maximise a good turn.
Scoring happens only three times in a game. This comes when a scoring card is drawn which was originally placed inside the pile of money cards. In the final round the longest connected road also scores points. There are 6 different kinds of building tiles and points are given for the holding the most of one type of building.
We played a good tight 3 player game. Even though it was our first game we got into it pretty fast and there was tie for the 1st place between Aarthi & me. Everyone liked the game and we are looking forward to more plays.
The game is simple, plays fast and is easy to understand. A typical Spiel des Jahres winner (2003). The quality of the components are excellent and the game comes in a smaller compact box.
Personally I neither found it strategically exciting like Puerto Rico or Funkenschlag nor was it great fun like For Sale or Ticket to Ride. But I think it is likely to grow on me after repeated plays.