Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de

- Die Gunst des Wesirs -


Author: Dirk Henn

Publisher: QUEEN GAMES 2004



G@mebox author Marco Klasmayer writes about the game:


Since Alhambra has won the German game awards "Spiel des Jahres" 2003 it has become very popular. So all fans were desperately looking forward to new expansion sets. Now the first extension of Alhambra is available and it is a pack of four independent variants of the game: "Favour of the Vizier" ("Die Gunst des Wesirs"), "The Building Workers' Hut" ("Die Bauhütte"), "Exchange Office" ("Die Wechselstube") and "The Bonus Cards" ("Die Bonuskarten").


Favour of the Vizier ("Die Gunst des Wesirs")

For this simple rule extension each player obtains a wooden chip with the face of the Vizier on one side and nothing on the other. At the start of the game each chip shows the Vizier (chip is active). The favour of the Vizier empowers a player to interrupt the normal course of the game. When a player has finished his turn and all open buildings and money cards have been completed again, all players (including the one who has finished) can use the favour of the Vizier to interrupt the normal clockwise order and make a special intermediate turn. During this special turn one can buy only one building card and only with the exact amount of the appropriate currency. After that the building can be placed as usual in the player's palace and the wooden chip of the Vizier is flipped face down and becomes inactive. The normal clockwise order is resumed as before the interruption. To activate the Vizier chip again it needs an action of the player during his normal turn, like drawing money or rearranging the Alhambra.


The Building Workers' Hut ("Die Bauhütte")

Each type of building cards like arcades, gardens, towers and so on are now extended by several building workers' huts (3 up to 5). These new buildings are placed in a pile of each type next to the normal purchase board. However, they can't be bought with money. Instead it takes one normal action at the end of your turn like drawing money cards or rearranging the Alhambra. The huts are placed like normal buildings during each players turn according to the common placement rules. During the evaluation phases these building workers' huts yield additional points, if the huts are properly placed in the player's Alhambra. For each neighboured corresponding building (without a separating wall) of the same building type the building workers' hut counts one additional point. For example if two towers are placed next to a tower workers' building hut the player gets 2 points for the two towers and 2 additional points for the efficient placement of the workers' building hut in the neighbourhood of the two towers. All points count for the majority of this building type during the evaluation. So obtaining the majority of a building type becomes trickier and also more interesting. However, each player is only allowed to possess three building workers' huts in his palace.

Exchange Office ("Die Wechselstube")

This extension consists of six special money cards which have two symbols of a currency on it. They enable a player to pay for one building in the two depicted currencies which is otherwise not allowed. They work in both directions. For instance one can change an arbitrary amount of Gulden into the same amount of Denar (1:1) and vice versa. The cards are mixed into the money card stack at start up and are treated as normal money cards. You can draw one Exchange Office card during your normal turn as one would draw money cards. There is no limit of Exchange Office cards on the hand. After they have been used they must be placed on the discard stack. So they can only be used for one purchase action.

The Bonus Cards ("Die Bonuskarten"). The Bonus Cards depict one special building each which can be bought and placed during the normal course of the game. Depending on the number of players attending each player gets 1 up to 3 Bonus Cards at the beginning of the game. If a player manages to place the depicted building card in his own Alhambra, the Bonus Card counts one extra point in an evaluation phase. But the clue is that the bonus cards are kept face down and have to be turned over only when they should participate in the evaluation phase. So with these cards the final evaluation can bring some nice surprises.


Each of the four presented extensions can be used in an arbitrary combination with the basic Alhambra game. I personally like the Workers' Building Huts and the Bonus Cards, which, in my opinion, add the most spice to the game. But the others are not bad either! Each extension has its own benefit and the players can choose at the beginning which extensions are useful. I do not recommend to use all of them at once, this might be too much variety. It is not possible to consider all extensions and extras during the game. The great Alhambra game obtains more variety and complexity with this extension set, though it will never loose its own charm.

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany