Marrakech

RRP: £29.95
Now £25.49(SAVE 14%)
RRP £29.95
[yith_wcwl_add_to_wishlist]
Nexy Day Delivery

Order within the next

7 Hours & 57 Minutes

for Next Day Delivery

Nexy Day Delivery

You could earn

2549 Victory Points

with this purchase

The rug market in Marrakesh square is on tenterhooks, the best salesperson will soon be named. Each salesperson tries to have the highest number of rugs visible at the end of the game while also amassing the biggest fortune. The player with the biggest fortune (worked out by adding together the number of visible rugs and the amount of money held by each salesperson) wins.
Read More
Category Tags , , SKU ZVR-6044 Availability 3+ in stock
Share
Share this

Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Extremely easy to teach
  • Language-independent
  • Emergent strategy with minimal rules
  • Atmospheric production

Might Not Like

  • Dice rolls can decide outcome
  • Felt pieces can sometimes shift around on board
Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

Related Products

Description

The rug market in Marrakesh square is on tenterhooks, the best salesperson will soon be named. Each salesperson tries to have the highest number of rugs visible at the end of the game while also amassing the biggest fortune.

The player with the biggest fortune (worked out by adding together the number of visible rugs and the amount of money held by each salesperson) wins.

Marrakech is, rather appropriately, a lot like a Moroccan tagine. It’s accessible and comforting, but reveals depth over time, and a spicy kick. It’s a greatly underrated family game and will always have a place in our collection. Here’s why.

A Welcoming Mat

To get started in Marrakech is extremely simple. The players each get a stack of small felt carpets and some pleasing wooden coins, and take it in turns to move the game’s singular pawn and place their carpets next to his destination.

The pawn, given the quite un-Moroccan name of Assam, starts at the centre of a 7×7 grid. The active player chooses one of three directions of travel; either the same as last turn, or 90 degrees in either direction. The player then rolls a die, and moves Assam the resulting distance.

Finally (at least to start with) a carpet piece can be placed anywhere around Assam, providing one of the two squares covered is orthogonally adjacent to the erstwhile carpet salesman. Once all carpets have been placed, scores are calculated by adding the number of squares over which a player’s carpet is visible to the number of coins they have. Simples!

Rug Of War

After a few turns, the game reveals its spicy little secret- it’s a very abstract and quietly nasty area control game. Two rules drive the interaction here: firstly, you may place your carpet over part of another player’s (or two of their carpets, but not a single, entire carpet).

Secondly, if Assam lands on a space where an opponent has visible carpet, the active player has to pay the owner of the space. The amount paid equals the area in squares of continuous colour which the player has just blundered into.

At the beginning, the game proceeds serenely, each player trying to build up areas of their own, with occasional mutual encroachment. But as the carpet-free space contracts, players start to weigh up the risk of landing on an opponent’s mega-carpet (official family term) on the way to where they want to place their own. Which brings us to the game’s other engine, the die.

Roll Out The Red Carpet (Or The Blue, Yellow, Or Brown One)

Without a die, Marrakech would be chess-like, and lead to far more analysis paralysis than such a simple rule set can justify. Conversely, a simple D6 would introduce too much randomness, and the decision on what direction to send Assam in would feel like it had too low stakes to be interesting. So the die, which has 6 sides, has two sides each that make him move 2 or 3 squares, and one each for 1 and 4. This leads to a delicious tension before rolling the die, when only one result will result in disaster, and then inevitably that exact face is face up.

I say disaster, but even ending up in the middle of an opponent’s mega-carpet isn’t without its upside, because that’s where placing your own carpet (which you can always do) is most likely to break up their plans.

This middle phase of the game plays quite differently across player counts- at 2 players it’s a quite strategic experience, as you position your opponent so they have only a small chance of avoiding your encroaching felt army. At 3 or 4, it’s more chaotic but there are more options, for instance on whose area to risk landing in, depending on who is in front.

Towards the end of the game (about 20 minutes start to finish) it’s often fairly clear who has won, as you can see how much money everyone has and how much of the board they are covering. One unlucky roll can make all the difference, which can be frustrating, but there is a pleasing crescendo as the board fills up, and a late swing in points is not unusual. Also, as mentioned, it’s 20 minutes, so strategic tightness can perhaps be sacrificed to brevity.

Carpet (Love) Bombing

When we bought our family copy of this game, my son was 7. He is now 18, and we would both still play this without hesitation. I’ve taught it to 5 year olds and 85 year olds, and it’s a hit every time.

The production is simple, but pleasing. There’s something so satisfying about laying actual (sort of) carpet, and the board by the end is a pleasingly chaotic mess. The pawn and die are chunky and tactile. I’m not aware of many games where the money is wood with metallic paint, but it really works, especially for the cosy aesthetic of Marrakech. The board art is minimalist but in its curves and filigrees evokes north African design elegantly.

This is not a thematic game, but what it does very effectively is create an atmosphere, convivial but competitive, exotic but welcoming, which is in a sense far more ‘thematic’ than other games set more explicitly in near-eastern cultures.

Marrakech is one of my very favourite family games, and deserves a place alongside titles such as Kingdomino and Labyrinth, as a game for all ages and aptitudes, which nonetheless offers enough bite to satisfy experienced gamers. At least, for 20 minutes.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Extremely easy to teach
  • Language-independent
  • Emergent strategy with minimal rules
  • Atmospheric production

Might not like

  • Dice rolls can decide outcome
  • Felt pieces can sometimes shift around on board