El Grande: Decennial Edition - Board Game Box Shot

El Grande: Decennial Edition

| Published: 1995

The players are the Grandes in old Spain. Each wants to increase his influence at the court and in the regions. Each turn, the players choose from 5 actions, different on each turn. But first choice goes to the player who plays the highest priority card and you have only 13 for the game. Choose your actions and priorities wisely to become the most powerful Grande and win the game!

This Decennial version also contains the expansions previously known as Intrigue & the King, Grand Inquisitor & the Colonies, and Grandissimo.In Intrigue & the King, each player has 18 or 28 cards that replace the action cards from the basic game.

Before the game begins, each player chooses 13 cards to be his action/priority deck for the game. The players use these cards instead of the action and priority cards in determining turn order and special actions. Grand Inquisitor & the Colonies adds four new regions, the Grand Inquisitor, and new action cards to support these additions. The new action cards are in two new stacks, giving players seven options on each turn instead of the five from the basic game. By combining the two, you can play The King & the Colonies. In this game, you use the action/priority cards from Intrigue & the King, and the new regions, the Grand Inquisitor, and the new action cards supporting them from Grand Inquisitor & the Colonies.

Grandissimo adds a ship, jail, Portugal, the Grand Inquisitor, the Queen, the Jester, and new action cards in two new stacks to support these additions.

User Reviews (3)

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7
United Kingdom
Advanced Reviewer
Knight-errant
Tinkerer
9
35 of 38 gamers found this helpful
“Very close to my ideal game”

I’ll come right out and say that El Grande is one of my all-time favourite games. It just pushes all the right buttons for me. I’ll also state for the record that I don’t have the Decennial Edition: my copy is the original German version, alongside a couple of separate expansions (the German versions of Intrigue & the King and Grand Inquisitor & the Colonies). Rather than describe the rules, I’ll try to explain some of the things I like so much…

First, the presentation is lovely, with artwork that fits the theme nicely but slips unobtrusively into the background. I like the classic Eurogame cubes and there are plenty of them here, plus the tower is a nice visual aspect and provides a fun and intriguing element to gameplay.

The game is an open one with all players having an equal, almost-complete view of the state of play, but the simultaneous decision mechanism that comes in to play occasionally, plus the random sequence of the action cards means that there is still much to guess about.

The real heart of the game is the interaction between the priority cards and the action cards. The latter being revealed to everyone at the start of each round means that there is a good opportunity to make sure less-experienced players are fully clued up about the moves available and there is a natural opportunity for discussion.

I enjoy some negotiation and diplomacy but don’t get on quite as well with games that rely on it as I feel this can really slow the game down. El Grande, for me, fits into the sweet spot, rewarding some discussion and dealing, but getting too deeply into it is rarely worthwhile. Similarly, I’m not a strong long-term planner, preferring more tactical games which require you to work with what you have at the moment, and El Grande suits me perfectly here too. It is rarely worth planning beyond the next opening of the tower (in fact that can shake things up so much it isn’t usually even possible).

My friends who are power gamers, diplomats and big-picture strategists who like working to a long-term plan don’t generally get on with this game quite so well. But for playing fast and loose, adaptive tactics in a game that requires you to be constantly looking to play the angles, this is one of the best I have played. I love it.

For the record, I agree with Ururam Tururam about the expansions: they don’t really add much and the basic game is just so darned good that there isn’t any need for them.

 
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7
Paladin
Herald
Advanced Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Bronze Supporter
10
50 of 55 gamers found this helpful
“The Great”

Although El Grande is a 2-5 players game it is best for 4 or 5 ones as with decreasing number of players some tactical options disappear. Yet – I have to say – it is OK even for 2. In fact it can be seen as a medium-weight abstract strategy disguised as an influence-gain game. Well disguised! The board is looking like an old map of Spain and most of the components (with the exception of the king figurine) are great looking.

The aim is to get majority of one’s own pawns in as many sectors of the board (representing regions of Spain) as possible. The number of pawns does not matter only ranking places do: 1st, 2nd or 3rd in each region. The game has 9 turns and the scoring happens thrice – after turns 3, 6 and 9.

Each turn has several phases: the first is playing priority cards. Players with higher priorities can choose their actions earlier but they can get less pawns ready (so called “summoning nobles to the court”). Then players choose their actions in order determined by the priority. Actions may allow the players to move their “nobles” on the board, withdraw opponents’ nobles, get premium scoring and more. Each action also allows the active player to put a few pawns on a board (“sending nobles from the court to regions”). In general the more powerful the action the less “nobles” it allows to place.

There are two things in the game rules that spices the play up:
- “Castle” or “tower” – it acts as a hidden region (pawns placed there are not visible” that has its own scoring and allows sending the “nobles” from there to any region.
- Hidden choice mechanism – when the rules require some or all players to choose a region they do it secretly and the choices are revealed simultaneously, which gives a lot of opportunities to apply psychological trickery.

Playing this game lasts longer than an hour but it does not seem so. It is entertaining with well balanced skill and luck factors.

El Grande is one of my current top three games. (It had been the first before I got to know Arimaa and Caylus). As for the expansion included in the decennial I’ve tried them and I think that the game is better without them – in its basic version.

 
Player Avatar
9
5 of 26 gamers found this helpful
“The Ultimate Euro”

I would drive three hours for a game of El Grande with five players.

Each way.

 

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