El Grande Board Game
by Pamela Laurenne Laserna
El Grande Board Game
Board game manufacturer:
Rio Grande Games
Number of players:
El Grande is an amalgam of strategy, luck and deceit. In this best board games Spiel des Jahres award-winning game set in medieval Spain, players take on the roles of Grandes struggling for control of the various provinces.
The game and gameplay
Your aim is to get majority of your pawns in as many regions as possible. You draft the Caballeros (knights) to help you with your quest. Regions are scored after every third turn. At the ninth turn, the Grande with the most points wins the game.
Most newbies may be intimidated with El Grande since it is a tactical game, but it is easy to learn and comes with an introduction that ensures a fast entrance into the game. Even 8 to 10 year olds can join in on the fun.
Although Rio Grande recommends that it can be played with two players, it is best played with four or five, since some tactical options disappear when fewer players are involved.
The game board is designed to look like an old map of Spain, but doesn’t draw too much attention with its fairly muted colors. However, the components, especially the Castillo and the brightly colored caballeros, is visually stunning and will draw impress your gaming group.
Strategy is the name of El Grande board game. There are multiple ways to develop strategy, such as forsaking some territories in favor of others, bidding and bluffing for turn order and knowing when to sacrifice and when to go all in.
But even if you have a pre-formed tactic in mind, the unpredictable flow of the game requires for some flexibility and fast-thinking on your part; it is suggested that you shouldn’t just adhere to one particular strategy throughout the game or else you’ll most likely find yourself in the losing end.
Pros and Cons
Although there is little luck involved in the game, winning all boils down to strategy and this is what makes the game’s replayability high. Your strategic abilities grow each time you play and you must think of new ones for every game (especially if the same players are involved), since it probably wouldn’t work anymore considering other players can now anticipate your moves if you employ the same tactics.
The Castillo element is the gem in this game. It injects unique bluffing or doublethink element into the game and keeps it fresh.
This is a beautiful looking game, with excellent components that you have come to expect from Rio Grande Games.
With its quick pace, dynamic and political play and with all the critical thinking involved, you wouldn’t even realize that 60-90 minutes has passed. The right balance of skill and luck makes it a highly entertaining game.
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