Alhambra is a very accessible game where each player builds their Moorish palace from a sets of tiles, following three simple rules of placement: tiles must be placed ‘upright’; every tile must be accessible from a central starting tile (a fountain), and the walls on certain tiles can only match up with other walls, or run along the circumference of your palace.
On your turn you have a two choices – either pick up a card, which represents money, or use cards to pay for one or more tiles, which have a monetary value assigned to them. The cards come in four colours so essentially there is four ‘currencies’ – and which tile will be available in which currency is completely random.
If you purchase a tile then you place it in front of you as part of your ever-expanding palace. Paying the exact amount for a tile allows you to take another turn, so you may purchase more than one, or use the second turn to pick up a card. If you can’t or don’t want to add the tile you’ve picked up, you can put it in your reserve and place it later – but this will cost you a turn, so it’s ideally avoided.
The tiles themselves represent different parts of a palace, from Towers to Gardens to Arcades, and having the most, second-most or even third-most of a particular type of tile scores you points during the three scoring rounds – the last one being when the tiles are exhausted and there is no more building to be done. Players also score their longest wall, and this can make the difference between winning and losing if you incorporate a long wall into your tile placement.
It’s so simple, but really fun. There is a bit of luck in the game in how the cards you’re picking up tally with the available tiles, but really this game is about the joy of building. Great for kids and adults.
Very little to get upset about, though there is the possibility of buying a tile you can't add to your palace just to stop someone else getting it - and vice versa.
Minimal. The game moves fast.
Again, very little. There is strategy in Alhambra, though, in when and what tiles you purchase. Towers are the most rewarding tiles in terms of points, but going all out for one type of tile is likely to backfire.
The simple rules and quick play make Alhambra very replayable