Wolfgang Kramer & Michael Riesling Hans im Glück
DIE PALÄSTE VON CARRARA
There are many, mainly European, board games with the common link or base premise of building. Some ask players to build Zoos, Cities, Churches, Cathedrals or build bank balances, each with it’s own (or borrowed) mechanic. This game has a simple but excellent, as well as very clever, basic mechanic - the resource wheel. Each time a player wishes to build, resources are added to the wheel after it has been turned by one segment - these segments lining up with resource costs marked around the edge.
There are times when a resource can be expensive and other times when it can be free - for example if there are Black resource cubes on the wheel on a segment where there are no prices for Black resources then you can have them for nothing. Using judgment, thought and skill, players can obtain the resources they require to build one of the structures on offer. (Building tiles are always on display on the board until there are no more available).
You are allowed to purchase as many resources from the chosen segment - you may only select one segment to buy from - as you can afford, you are not restricted by anything other than availability and cost. The board shows six cities, each of which can be claimed by the first player to build the necessary structures on their personal boards.
These personal boards show what the cities have to offer (VPs, Gold etc) and what resources can be spent to build in them. The resources are named but are generally only and easily referred to by colour; thus to build in the 3x VP multiplier city of Livorno only white resources can be used, but in the 1 x Gold multiplier city of Lerici resources of any colour can be used and in any combination. The cost of each building is shown on the structure tiles. This was the first game I played at Spiel Essen 2012 - on the Schmidt spiele stand - and it set the bar for the rest of the weekend.
This is one of the best building games of the last few years in my opinion. It is blessed with excellent pieces and superb quality artwork as well as the aforementioned unique resource wheel mechanic. Die Palaste von Carrara is for 2-4 players but plays better with a full compliment or at least 3. With only 2 players we have found it to be not so much of a challenge, but then we prefer multi player social games most of the time. The suggested age is 10+ and a game takes around an hour to play.
In the box there is an A5 envelope in which there can be found the rules and pieces for an expansion. The Player’s personal boards are printed double sided with this expansion in mind. I have yet to play using the expansion but it is penciled in for a game session and of course I will review it later online. This is a game that if you enjoy tactical building challenges and social interaction - there isn’t a lot of game play inter-action other than buying resources before your opponent - you won’t be disappointed with.