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Thursday, October 25, 2012

MARRAKECH - That carpet game


Today, I review this game called Marrakech. This game was first released in 2007 (hey the year I got married! :P) and was a 2008 Spiel des Jahres Nominee. The game is a light filler with interesting tactical choices. Its easy to setup, teach and play.
During your turn, you will first decide if you want to orientate the big meeple left, right or leave it as it is. Then you will roll a dice which shows 1-4 slippers and move the meeple that number of spaces in the direction you have chosen. If he reaches the edge of the board, you will just follow the arrows (subtly designed as floor mosaic) and continue moving the meeple. If the meeple ends his move on an opponent's carpet, then you will count the number of that same opponent's carpet that is joined to the carpet that the meeple has landed on. You will pay that opponent an amount of money equals to the number of squares. The last action for your turn will be to place your own carpet adjacent to the meeple (1 side of the carpet must touch the square the meeple is on). Then that is the end of your turn.
Depending on the number of players, the game will end once all players have placed their carpets on the board. Players now count the number of exposed carpets of theirs and combine this with the remaining money and the player with the most points (1 square of carpet = 1 point, 1$ = 1 point) is the winner.
The game has pretty good components. Each carpet is made of felt material, colored differently and has different patterns for the color impaired. The meeple is quite large and will not topple easily even though he is placed on top of multiple stacked carpets. In the games we have played, there can be sometimes 5 or 6 carpets stacked together so the heft of the meeple is quite important. Initially, the board will look rather boring and plain but the end game often presents a very beautiful image with all the carpets in various positions.
So far my gaming groups all enjoy this game and there is even hooting and hollering when we are hoping our opponent's meeple lands on our carpet. This reminds me of monopoly when we are hoping our opponents land on our hotels. I have only played this game with 4 so far but I have heard 2 players is also rather good. There are a 2 colors with more carpets though so playing 2 players I guess will be limited to those colors. Its a minor issue not a big one. The availability and the price point may deter some as this is quite hard to find and can be expensive so take note of that.
While this is considered a light game to me, it does present interesting tactical choices when it comes to laying your carpet. Do you want to cover your opponents but not join to your existing carpets just to protect yourself or prevent them from scoring more points? Do you want to keep moving the meeple to your area so you can grow the number of carpets you have for that big score?

So all in all, this is an oldie but a goodie in my book and I would heartily recommend it to anyone looking for a light family game that can appeal to casual gamers as well. Try to find your copy today!

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