I taught Sophie El Grande this afternoon. I’d been meaning to teach her something new and she asked to learn a new one so opportunity knocked. Sophie liked the game and was fully able to grasp the mechanics. She said it would take her a little while to know how to play well but that’s certainly understandable. I’m glad to have taken the time to teach her such a great game, especially since I now have an opponent in the house that I can break out the oldies and the goodies on.
El Grande is an area control game. You ‘bid’ for turn order using power cards numbered 1-13. You are not allowed to bid the same as another player. Once all bids have been placed, each player takes their turn in the order of the bids (highest to lowest). The player bidding the lowest starts the next round of bidding.
On your turn, you first move caballeros from your provinces into your court according to the number indicated on your power card. You then decide which action card of the five available you wish to take and you then decide the order of the next two actions:
- Optionally perform the action described by the action card
- Optionally move caballeros from your court onto the board into the regions adjacent to the King’s region (the big black pawn).
When scoring is triggered either by an action card or a specifically designated scoring round, you score the regions based on the number of caballeros present. First, second, and third places are awarded to those that have the first most, second most, and third most caballeros in the region.
The Castillo (the black tower) is also scored as a region with the added benefits that the number of caballeros is hidden and the caballeros move to another region before those regions are scored. If you have the most caballeros in the region designated by your Grande (your large cube) you get two extra points for the region. If you have the most caballeros in the King’s region during scoring you also get two extra points. The King and the Grandes can move during the game due to performing actions.