Gameday First Play – Morocco

Every country I would go to, even if it was just on a modelling job, I would go to their markets. If I went to Morocco for ‘Elle’ magazine, I would be in the spice markets during my off time and just come back with a suitcase full of stuff that I really wanted to try.

~ Padma Lakshmi

In Morocco, players are families of artisans carrying on the ancient traditions of the world famous Jemaa el-Fna market square in Marrakesh, Morocco. Each day, they work to claim the best stalls across the market and attract customers to sample their wares or be enthralled by their amazing spectacles.

It is going to be an extra busy day so the families fight even harder to claim their needed space. The ancient families of snake charmers, water sellers, rug merchants, magicians, and food sellers work hard vying for the best stalls.

To scout the best stalls, you’ll be going up to a rooftop and gaining information in the form of cubes.

Everyone gets pieces of their colour and the board is setup with some randomly placed Juice tokens and one of each colour cube is placed randomly at the end of each row and column

One of each token is placed on the Roof in a circle.

The game is played over 2 phases: Scout Stalls and Assign Workers.

To Scout Stalls, you move the rooftop pawn to any other space (it starts in the middle for the first player) but it MUST move. You then take a cube matching each adjacent cube colour while each other player gets a cube the colour of the space you moved the pawn to.

All players will do this in turn order.

Then you Assign Workers, everyone will take 2 actions in this phase one at a time.

You spend 2 cubes equal to the cubes on row/column you want to place an assistant to place one. Before doing this, you can spend a Gold to swap a cube on the row with another on the row (or column to column).

There are 3 other types of Characters you can play. The Bodyguard also takes 2 cubes and is slightly bigger than the Assistant which matters for scoring.

The Tourist costs 2 cubes plus one of any colour and is placed in the same way as an Assistant and Bodyguard. A Cousin Token can be spent by spending 2 cubes, plus one of any colour to play an assistant to market place plus another to an orthogonally adjacent market for free.

You MUST play a worker if able, if you can’t because you don’t have the cubes you can pass.

If a stall is full of people (Including overflow from adjacent tiles which I will explain later), close it. You then see who has the most Workers in that Market with the Bodyguard counting as 2.

Depending where you are (1st,2nd, or 3rd and depending on ties) you’ll get points, gold or a bodyguard. You’ll also either place a Market tile of your colour, or a neutral one.

Then several things happen…

You collect the Juice token next to all of your workers if one is still there and remove all non-Tourist workers. (Bodyguards go back to the supply, you need to earn them to use them)

You place market tile on that stall closing it, pointing towards an orthogonally adjacent ‘open’ stall. Tourists move to the market the tile is pointing to and is then replaced with an assistant from that players supply.

The Market the placed market tile points to counts as ‘1 Assistant’ of no colour in that Market for the purposes of counting them as closed.

When each player has taken 2 actions, the round ends

Pass the start player clockwise, centre the rooftop pawn, discard down to 1 cube.

When, after closing a stall there are 5 or fewer open stalls, this will be the last round and you score.

Juice market tokens are worth their value, your largest contiguous chain of market tiles is worth 3 VP per tile, Gold is 1 VP. Most points wins.

It’s a very nice idea… When moving the pawn on the roof you look for what you need abut also try to deny other players of a colour. Then you use those cubes to fight an area majority battle on 25 different fronts.

I like how you can combo Tourists and overflow from the Market Tokens to chain a couple of Markets closing, hopefully getting you a couple of your market tiles down. That’s where a majority of my points came from.

Scoring of the Markets is very balanced and the rewards at various levels and player contributions seems very fair.

It’s also very short, only 45 minutes so it doesn’t feel repetitive but it also doesn’t feel TOO short.

One annoying thing, well two things, are that firstly people (inc me) not paying attention when players are collecting cubes which happened quite a bit… Not the games fault really…

Also, when you put someone in a Market place and fill it, but another player places a Market tile and scores we kept forgetting who was the active player… This is partial the games fault… Eventually we started to use the yellow roof marker to denote the active player 🙂

So all in all, I quite liked it… It’s not ‘Great’ in my opinion but I can see this being a game that certain groups will LOVE and play every week.

Note: The copy I played was a review copy generously provided by Eagle-Gryphon Games, big thanks to them for this game.

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