Gameday First Play – Grand Austria Hotel

“I grew up so poor in Austria that we never took a vacation with my family.”

~ Wolfgang Puck

In the thick of the Viennese modern age, exquisite cafés are competing for customers. Inspiring artists, important politicians, and tourists from all over the world are populating Vienna and in need of a hotel room. This is your opportunity to turn your little café into a world famous hotel. Hire staff, fulfil the wishes of your guests, and gain the emperor’s favour. Only then will your café become the Grand Austria Hotel.

To have a Grand Hotel, you need to attract guests into your cafe, feed/water them. prepare their rooms and show them upstairs.

This is done via drafting dice. The dice (10 in a 2 player game) are rolled and placed on their matching action, 1-6. On your turn choose one of the actions, activate it for each die on that space then take one die away from that space… That’s the main mechanism, but before that, you have the chance to get a guest into your cafe…

There are 5 guests out on the board each with their own Food Requirement and Ability. They also have a colour which refers to their position in society which is used later.

When you take a guest you add them into your hotel cafe and refill the board. Each cafe has 3 tables so will seat 3 guests.

Then you draft a die… As mentioned the dice are rolled and placed on their spaces then after you get a guest (or not) you take an action…

The actions allow you to…

Get you food into your Kitchen. One action is for Wine and Coffee, the other for Cake and Strudel all represented by cubes.

Prepare Rooms by adding room tiles ’empty side’ up in your Hotel.

Gain Money (money is tough to come by) or Favour with the Emperor which I will explain later.

Play a Staff card from your hand with a discount for hiring them depending on the number of dice.

Number 6 is special, it let’s you take one of the other 5 actions using the number of dice here for the cost of 1 money.

You get to take 2 dice each round and they are snake drafted, so in a 2 player game you choose 1st and 4th.

After you take your die there are a few extra actions you can take. Pay 1 money to move 3 Food from your Kitchen to your Guests table. If your Guests order is complete you can move them to a room in your hotel, assuming you have one of the right colour rooms prepared for them. You flip the tile face down to show it’s full.

The only other things you need to look out for are the Politics cards and the Emperor scoring.

Politics cards are cards randomly added each game. They have a specific criteria on them worth several points given to players that complete the criteria in the order they do it. The first player gets 15 points, second 10 and 3rd 5.

There are also 3 Emperor tiles, again, all 3 are different each game.

On round 3,5 and 7 you move back on the Emperor track 3,5 and 7 spaces, then resolve the tiles. If you have a high enough score you gain a little bonus, if you are on 0 you get a pretty harsh penalty.

You also have Staff cards which you can play for one off, once per round, persistent and end of game scoring abilities.

After 7 rounds you score points for the Staff cards you have that give with end game scoring. Any Occupied Rooms score points depending on the level they are on. You gain points for Money and Food in the Kitchen you have left and then lose 5 points for each Guest still in the Cafe.

Most points wins.

Positives

Everything feels really nice and all the mechanisms play very well. It all makes sense.

Differing Politics cards, Emperor tiles and Staff cards add a little randomness and replayability.

Very simple yet challenging play. You want to do EVERYTHING, EVERY TURN but how you go about doing it is very straight forward.

Negatives

Needing to do EVERYTHING, EVERY TURN it can lead to analysis paralysis.

Turns can be a bit long, even in a 2 player game.

Was warned over and over by people that have played it that 3 and 4 players has a lot of down time. In a 4 player game you pick 1st, and 8th so yes, I can see that being an issue.

Summary

Really enjoyed this first play but I want to see if 3-4 player games are bearable before I decide if I keep it or not.

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