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



Author: Dirk Henn




G@mebox author Marco Klasmeyer writes about the game:


The palace has been built, the gates and the wall of the palace are set up as well, but now it's time to plant Die Gärten der Alhambra ("Gardens of the Alhambra"). But this game only bears the name of the predecessors, it is a completely new games for 2-4 players in the context of Alhambra.

In this new game by Dirk Henn, it is your task to plant different trees in the gardens of the Alhambra (the palace you built in the first game!). These trees include lemon trees, orange trees, palm trees and lavender. Plan your planting cleverly, so that your trees surround as many parts of the palace as possible. The more palace buildings are surrounded by your trees, the more points you will get!


You are the gardeners of the Alhambra and it is your duty to plant as many trees in the Alhambra gardens as possible in order to make the Alhambra even prettier. Each of the 36 existing garden tokens displays all four types of trees that exist - yellow lemon trees, orange orange trees, green palm trees and violet lavender plants. Before you start with the game, you have to decide which tree type belongs to you. After that each player has to try to place the garden tokens on the game board so that his own tree types lie next to the most valuable palace buildings.

First of all, the palace cards are placed on the game board (49 in total). These cards show either a pavilion (worth 1 point), a seraglio (worth 2 points), an arcade (worth 3 points), a housing (worth 4 points) or a tower (worth 5 points). Around these palace cards (square) a garden token (octagons) has to be placed in each gardener's turn. As soon as a palace card is completely surrounded by garden tokens, this part of the garden is evaluated immediately. The garden tokens contain different numbers of trees on it. The surrounding trees of each kind are now counted separately. The player with the most trees of his colour surrounding the palace card gets the points for the palace card multiplied with the amount of different surrounding tree types. So a piece of the Alhambra's garden is more valuable if it consists of several tree types than if it is only a monoculture. If the result is unclear and there is a draw, then the player with the next higher rank of trees wins all points. This can lead to the strange result that, according to the rules, a player gets points even if he has no trees on the garden tokens surrounding the palace card. After a palace card has been evaluated, it is flipped over and the game continues until all garden tokens have been placed.



Die Gärten der Alhambra is a quite tricky puzzle game. When a player has to place a tile in a later stage of the game, it is nearly impossible to draw one and take only advantage from it. If you like it or not - you have to give some points to the other players. So placing a garden token means weighing up how many points you can get for yourself and how many points you will loose for the advantage of the other players. This makes Die Gärten der Alhambra a real fascinating game.

The rule set also offers two nice variants. Both variants add more tactical difficulty to the standard game, but it makes the game more interesting because they extend the players' possibilities:

  • For a two player game it is possible for each player to have two tree types. Applying the standard rules means that trees (respectively colours) which do not belong to a player are ignored. With this variant each player gets points for two coloured tree types instead of only one
  • Another variant is that each player holds three garden tokens in his hand from the beginning of the game on and draws one additional token each turn. Thus each player can choose from four tokens during his turn instead of only the one drawn.

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany