Tuesday, June 28, 2016


A beautiful, completely stuck, Alhambra

Most of my Alhambra sessions can be broken down into two parts.

Part 1. Look at my awesome wall surrounding my Alhambra
Part 2.  Crap I don't have any legal places to build anything.


Queen Games


Dirk Henn

Elevator Pitch:

You are building an Alhambra.  Each turn you take money or buy land tiles with exact purchases allowing for extra turns.  Tiles get added to your Alhambra in a way that aligns walls.  Three times throughout the games players score based on their wall size and by having majorities in each land types.

Personal Impression:

There are plenty of games that I adore, but rarely get to play.  Alhambra is kind of the inverse.  I enjoy it just fine, but am never dying to get a game in.  However, it fits a lot of groups and situations well, so I end up suggesting and playing it quite often, and am glad to have it in my collection.

Good for People who Grew up Playing with

Ease of Learning:

Players have at most 9 possible actions they can take on a turn, but even that overstates the complexity.  Usually all a player needs to decide is if they want to overpay for a building and if not which money they want to take.  New players should be able to get into the flow of the game very quickly and be able to score competitively in their first couple games.

Fidgety Index

Well you get tiles, but you can’t move them.  Besides that, you get one lousy game piece whose only purpose is to remind you what color you are.

Universal Theme:

You get to build stuff which is fun.  However, given that the game was able to be re-themed to New York without any significant changes, shows the theme isn’t too strong.

Player Count and Length:

2-6 though the 2 player game requires the use of a dummy player, which is a little awkward  The game can also be frustrating at higher player counts as the cards you want often disappear before your turn.  Sweet spot is around 4. The game moves fast and is playable in 45 minutes of so regardless of player count.


There are currently 6 main expansion to Alhambra and a couple of promos.  Each expansion contains a few modules that can used separately or in conjunction.  You can combine modules from different expansions, though some are mutually exclusive. Most individual modules have a small impact on the game.  Generally when we have access to all of the expansions, we roll a d20 to choose a few modules to add to increase variety.

Alhambra the Big Box: contains the first five expansions, The Vizier’s Favor, The City Gates, The Thief’s Turn, The Treasure, Chamber, and Power of The Sultan, along with the base game.  If you are interested in the expansion the Big Box is a much more economical option than buying the expansions separately.  Otherwise just purchase the ones that sound most interesting to you.  

Spin Offs:

New York is Alhambra re-themed with Manhattan skyscrapers replacing Spanish architecture.  It is the same game, albeit it one which doesn’t have all those expansions.

Granada is another similar game with slightly more complex rules.

There is also an Alhambra dice game and an Alhambra card game, though neither has been as well received.

Introducing the Game to New Gamers: 

Watch new players to make sure they don’t build themselves into a corner.  Suggest good tiles for them.

There is a universal app for the iphone/ipad, but I have not gotten it yet.  The reviews have been poor mainly due to bugs and crashes, and it hasn't been updated in quite a while.


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