It’s that time of year again – the carnivals have arrived in Littleton and each one wants to be the biggest and best in town. Set in the summer of 1937, guests can expect to be entertained by the house of mirrors, dodgems, fire breathers and more. As the manager of one of the carnivals, it’s your job to be the best at the Grand Carnival!
Place the railyard board within reach of all the players, and place the foundation tiles in two face-down stacks in the ‘1’ carriages. From these, draw a tile for each of the carriages labelled 2 -5 and place them face-up. The white tent is the round-marker and starts the game on the space marked Sunday.
Next, shuffle the Tricks of the Trade cards and deal 3 face-up so that all the players can see them. The remainder won’t be needed this game.
Randomly select a number of attraction tiles of each size and place them on the table. Don’t stack them, as you’ll need to see which shapes are left throughout the game. If two of you are playing, use five of each size, for three players you’ll need six and for four players eight of each size.
Make a pile of tickets, a pile of purple guest pawns, and a pile of barkers. The number of barkers is again dependent upon the player count: five for two players, six for three players and eight for four.
The starting player token is a gold carousel horse and should be given to the last player who went to a carnival (or fairground, or school fete). Don’t stress too much over this as it really makes very little difference who goes first.
Each player chooses a player board, which they place in front of them. Take the eight corresponding action pawns and place five of these next to the action spaces labelled 1 – 5 on the left of the player board. The other three may be needed later if you earn the right to use tricks of the trade.
Place a purple guest on each of the two entry spaces on your board.
On your very first turn there is really only one option available to you and that is to place a foundation tile. The tile you take is governed by the action number you move a pawn onto. So, if you use action space ‘5’, you can take any tile, from carriage 5 down to 1. If you move onto action space ‘3’, you can choose a tile from the 3, 2 or 1 space. And so on.
If tiles are taken from face-up spaces, those remaining are moved left and a new tile is placed onto space 5 for the next person’s turn. If you used the 1 action space and took a face-down tile, you can opt to remove all the face-up foundation tiles from the railyard and
replenish from the stacks. If the stacks ever run out, simply shuffle the discarded ones and make new stacks.
Your new foundation tile can be placed anywhere on your player board, but any mallets on it must be the right way up ie you cannot rotate the foundation tiles. Bear in mind that the mallet squares are construction sites, on which you will be able to build attractions later, and the green squares are grass walkways, enabling guests at your carnival to move around and visit those attractions. You may also be thinking about how to achieve those tricks of the trade already.
After each person’s very first go, you will have three actions to choose from on your turn:
- Place a foundation tile as before.
- Take and place an attraction. Again, the number you choose for this turns action will dictate which size of attraction you can take. As the round progresses, and you have used some of the action spaces for other turns, your choices become more limited. If you choose action space ‘2’ for taking an attraction, you can only select one that covers 2 squares or 1. Then place your chosen attraction on foundation tiles on the board. The attraction tiles can be rotated and flipped over, but they must not be outside the original 4x4 board, nor must they overlap the large foundation squares, or grass walkways. You may only take one attraction on your turn, for example, if you are using the ‘4‘ action space, you cannot take two attractions of size 1 and 3.
- Move a guest. You can use a pawn’s action space to move a guest the equivalent number of spaces onto and through your carnival grounds along the walkways. When the guest ends up next to one or more attractions you’ve already built, add one ticket to each of those attractions. Each attraction can hold the same number of tickets as squares it covers eg a size 4 attraction can hold up to four tickets. Note that ending a turn diagonally adjacent to an attraction does not allow you to place a ticket on it. More on guest movement later.
Once all players have used up their five action spaces, move the round-marker to the next day of the week and replace the action pawns at the side of your player board ready for the next round.
Tricks Of The Trade
Each of these cards is divided into two halves. The top half tells you what you need to achieve in order to gain the benefit depicted on the bottom half. For example, once you have five tickets on your attractions, you may place tickets on diagonally adjacent attractions to a guest after movement.
Once you have achieved the requirements to use a trick of the trade, place one of your spare action pawns on the card. Each other player now has only one more turn to achieve it themselves, or they forfeit the chance to achieve it for the whole game.
More About Moving Guests
Guests may only move on grass walkways, and may not move through a square occupied by another guest or a barker. They can’t move diagonally.
At any point when both your entry spaces are empty because you have moved both guests into the carnival, place a new guest into each of them. You can now add a barker to one of the walkway squares in your carnival. Careful here, as you don’t want to block access for guests, but tucked away in a corner, barkers will benefit you. For each barker in your carnival, you may move guests one extra space if you choose that action.
If you manage to move a guest through the fairground and into the big top, they stay there for the remainder of the game and are worth points when the scores are added up.
The End Of The Game
After Saturday, the carnivals pack up and move on, but work out how well you scored first!
The player boards have a very useful scoring summary, so that you don’t forget what you are aiming at during the game. This is certainly worth checking every now and again, as it’s easy to forget something (mainly tickets).
You are awarded points for sets of three or more attractions of the same size, as long as each one has a ticket. The bigger the set, and the larger the attractions in it, the more points you get. You also get 22 points for having at least one attraction of each size, and again, these all need tickets.
If you have fifteen or more tickets, you gain 12 points.
There are points available for each barker in your carnival, and for each guest that made it all the way to the big top.
A point is subtracted for every visible construction mallet, large or small.
Add up your scores and see whose carnival was the grandest!
This is a fantastic game in which you always need to be thinking about which action space to use for which action, which scoring opportunities you want to prioritise and what your opponents are doing. Have fun but be warned – Grand Carnival is addictive!