Every gamer I know – both hardcore gamers and casual gamers – have a “bucket list” of games they’d like to try/buy and Marrakech has been on mine for a very, very long time. Probably since it was nominated for a Spiel des Jahres back in 2008! And here it is, more than a half decade later and I’m finally getting to play Marrakech thanks to Gigamic –and I REALLY enjoyed it!
The game is about rug sellers in the bazaar – and you want to be the best rug seller! Each player gets 15 rugs of their color (they’re cute little fabric rugs) and the goal is to have both the most money AND have the most squares of your color rug showing at the end of the game. (The rugs are rectangular, so they are made up of 2 squares.) There is one mover, named Assam, and he can move right, left, or forward – but never backward. When it’s your turn, you must play from where Assam is on the board. You may, however, turn Assam to face the direction you’d like him to travel and then you roll the die. You move Assam the corresponding number of spaces and if he lands on a blank space or a rug of your color you’re fine. If you land on someone else’s rug, you owe them money! You must pay the number of squares of their rug color that are connected to the space you are standing on. So if you look at Assam in the pic above, if he’s not the red rug seller he owes someone a TON of money! At the end of your turn you always lay one of your rugs adjacent to Assam. Your rug can cover up other rugs or empty spaces, the only rule is that it can not be placed exactly on top of another rug so it covers it completely — but it can be placed across 2 rugs of the same color.
When everyone is out of rugs, the game is over. Count up the number of squares of your rug color that are showing and total up your money. Add those two numbers together and the player with the highest total is the winner!
Marrakech is great to play with a variety of ages! Because you can’t control where Assam is on the board when you start your turn and what you roll is pure luck you can’t purely out strategize your opponent. I also liked that it’s quick to learn and teach, and a game doesn’t take too long. I also was quite impressed with the fabric they use for the rugs. There’s bit of tooth to the fabric so the rugs kind of stick together and we were able to play outside despite a slight breeze.
In the two-player version of Marrakech, each player alternates between 2 colors of rugs and we thought it played just fine. I think that playing with more players was more enjoyable, but I wouldn’t turn down a 2-player game if someone asked.
~$30 at Amazon and local game retailers