Weaving Your Way Through The Action
Tripwire’s contributing writer Simon Kennedy takes a look at VR Distribution’s Marrakech…
Produced by Fundex
One of the most unexpected games Game Club have played recently is MARRAKECH from Dominique Ehrhard and released by Fundex, who gave us a free copy to play test!. 2 to 4 players can indulge, from ages 6 and up. It takes about 20 minutes to play (for 2 players) and is incredibly easy to learn. Taking place in a busy market square in the Moroccan capital, players control Assam. On rolling a dice with 1, 2, 3 and 4 sandals, you move and place a carpet. Then to conclude the turn, you shift the direction of Assam by up to 180 degrees. If you land on an opponent’s carpet, pay the amount of interconnecting carpets value. End game is simpler. If the market square is covered by carpet, the game ends. If you run out of cash (you start with 10 coins, but these are easy to deplete), you lose. Simple.
MARRAKECH pieces, board and carpets look well thought-out and appear to be consistent. This is my way of saying that they are quality. Really quality indeed. I did an unboxing and was so impressed that I boxed and unboxed again. The carpets are felt, thick and bar sticking to each other, feel substantive. Assam piece is wooden and has a little smile that raised a smile from me. The dice is substantive as well. The board, which is a clay coloured series of squares and nothing more, has delicate touches and is nicely decorated. The touches of flair, in essence a gentle nod to Arab art of the region. This is stripped back and complimentary in product. Warm but not over laden with texture. Playable but still of a design that is rewarding to the player and the game. A rarity in the world of board games. Art is often dispensed for ego or for cost. This has skirted past these barriers to hit the mark.
MARRAKECH plays with effortlessness. It’s a roll and risk game. A play and pay (or place). There are no strategic plotting or evil side schemes. You move and then set up your opponent(s) to a position that is beneficial to you. You can see how families would love this game. Kids, adults, old and young. Its arbitrary yes, but its also a swift moving, funny game of placement. Because of this, the only complaint I have about the game. This style of play is best played in a group (hard in the current times). So roll and move does benefit 4 players the most. 2 players are hampered by a sheer volume of size. You have to much space and time to play. Then when the board fills up, players end up paying through the nose. Sometimes with monopolised sections and no escape from pay and play. This said however, I commend the designer for sticking to simple. Building a mechanic that crosses ages and blends luck, skill and design.