Marrakesh – A simple elegant kids game

HABA is a company that makes great kids games. I had read about Marrakesh and got it on my recent Germany trip. Opening the game I found excellent components with ‘meeple-ised’ camels and a modular board to be constructed with different pieces of the desert. Two pieces however were different, they being the Oasis and the Drifting dunes pieces. The object of the game is to collect precious tokens marked with numbers that count for victory points. These pieces are in 4 colours in descending order of value. Camels move across the desert to reach Marrakesh where they can pick up these tokens. Each player has 4 camels of a colour.

Movement is through the drawing of tokens in a bag. These tokens are of 3 kinds. The ones marked with dots allow you to move your camel the number of pieces on the desert as there are dots. The other kind of movement tokens are sandstorms. These cause the desert path in front to get extended by moving the last piece of desert to the front. This is a very interesting addition whereby the race track can get extended. Also the camels occupying the last space on the desert that has to be moved now automatically drop out of the race. The third type of movement token is an exchange token. This means you can move one of your camels to the space occupied by your own camel in front. Or move an oppenent’s camel back to the last space occupied by another of your opponent’s camel.

When a camel lands on an Oasis piece of desert it gains 3 additional spaces. If it passes through the Drifting dune space it just stops there that turn even if it can move according to the token drawn. The game ends when all but one of the players’ camel/camels remain on board. Then this last player can draw 3 tokens. Movement tokens are limited in number and are recycled back into the bag after all of them have been drawn atleast once.

The game is a typical kids game which engages everyone with a little bit of tactics and luck. The theme is pretty good and some of the mechanics are very thematic especially for kids. The scoring also is quite tight and both the games I played was won by just 1 point. Overall an excellent kids game that needs to be in every house that has young gamers below the age of 7/8.

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