Monday, February 27, 2006

Mark's #4: El Grande

I can still remember when & where I bought my copy of El Grande. It was June of 1997; my wife & I were in San Francisco on an extended road trip (7 weeks) around the western U.S. In the heart of San Francisco, on the line between the Castro & Haight/Ashbury, sat a little game store chock full of European (and other) stuff - Gamescape. (It's still there, btw - just visited it back in the late fall.)

This was the first time I'd been in a store where EVERYTHING I had read about on r.g.b. (rec.games.board - the newsgroup that most newbies found their into when hunting information about German games) was on the shelves. I was like a kid in a candy store.

In the end, I couldn't go too crazy - but there was no question: I was taking El Grande home with me. (I heard the siren call of the Castillo...) I've never regretted that purchase.

Over the years, I've played many games of El Grande - and I continue to love how the game varies based on the timing of the various action cards. I enjoy the bluff & double-bluff that goes into trying to plan your based on what your opponents should (or shouldn't do). I like the way resources are limited by turn position... and I think the map is gorgeous.

As with some of my other favorite games, it really works best with only one number of players: 5. (It will work with 4, but you must avoid 2 or 3.) The expansions are interesting, though not necessary.

2 Comments:

Blogger Tim said...

Definitely one of my top 5 - and one of the earliest German games I can recall purchasing (and playing).

This is one of the few games that has stood the test of time - it's still a challenge, and fun to boot!

5:41 PM  
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