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This is another one of our favorite games. We have the Alhambra Big Box which has the base game plus the first five expansions (The Vizier’s Favour, The City Gates, The Thief’s Turn, The Treasure Chamber, and Power of the Sultan). We recently acquired The Falconers expansion.

Only once have we played with all the components of the Big Box; it took us six hours to play! There are just too many choices and too many things to keep track of, so this time around we decided to select just a few:

  • Magic Buildings (bought separately) – Can be placed with any orientation. We always play with these because they’re super easy to understand.
  • From The Vizier’s Favour:
    • The Vizier Favour – If you flip your vizier token between turns, you can buy a building with exact change. For those times when you have exact change for a building, but you’re afraid someone else will buy it before you can.
    • The Currency Exchange Cards – Change money of one color shown on the card to the other color shown. So that you can pay with orange, even though you don’t have any orange money.
    • The Bonus Cards – If you purchase the building show on your card, the card counts as an extra building of that type. Even though we rarely manage to buy the buildings on our cards, it’s another easily understood element.
    • The Workers’ Huts – Receive points for each building of the same color touching the Worker Hut (unless blocked by walls). We like these because they can help in building your Alhambra and give points.
  • From The City Gates:
    • The Diamonds – Another currency type. For those times when you spent all your green money, but you want that Tower that just showed up in the green space in the Marketplace.
    • The Characters – Give various bonuses or abilities. Even though it can get expensive to buy them, they can be really useful.
  • From The Thief’s Turn
    • The Thieves – Used between turns to “steal” money of the same color from the bank. For those times you really want a certain color of money and don’t want someone else to snag it.
    • The Change – For every 2 money you overpay, receive 1 coin (random color). Not super useful, but another simple addition.
  • From The Treasure Chamber:
    • The Treasure Chamber – Buy treasure chests and place them on buildings of the same color (chests that can’t be placed get passed to the next player). Woo bonus points! Plus these are easier to place than The Street Traders.
    • The Master Builders – Currency or Redesign. We like that they can be used as money or to help redesign your Alhambra.

We aren’t overly impressed with Power of the Sultan, so usually if we play with an element from that expansion, we choose The New Score Cards (though we didn’t this time).

This game can move pretty slowly, especially when you have to rethink your strategy because Mr./Ms. Moneybags next to you bought all the buildings. Some of us like certain buildings not because of their point values, but because of color or name, so we may not always be thinking strategically when we play. The elements from the expansions can also be game changers. When we play with The City Gates or The Invaders, the game plays out differently.

Space Cat likes walls (so she’s usually pretty safe from Invaders). Her goal is to use her last tile placement to build an infinite wall (even though there are no bonus points for that). Even though she has yet to achieve this, her “I like walls” strategy really paid off in this game:

  1. Space Cat: 150
  2. Chubby Unicorn: 86
  3. President Gamer: 82
  4. Professor: 79
  5. Shutter: 61
  6. Clumsy Ninja: 44

First Scoring

Second Scoring

Space Cat destroys everyone

Final Alhambras Clumsy Ninja (top), Chubby Unicorn (right), and Professor (bottom)

Final Alhambras Shutter (left), President Gamer (middle), and Space Cat (right)
The only opening in Space Cat’s Wall is on the Chamber tile at the top

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