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Mercado

RRP: £43.00

NOW £10.09
RRP £43.00

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Welcome to the market of beautiful things! As well-to-do citizens in Mercado, gamers wander around the stalls, always on the lookout for special items to enhance their reputation. Noble shawls, elegant jewellery, or golden trophies with such a selection, the decision is difficult. But those who do not carry matching coins can also be unlucky because the other players have the same g…
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Category Tags , , , , SKU ZBG-692964 Availability 5+ in stock
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Awards

Rating

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

You Might Like

  • Simple, easy to learn game. Great gateway game
  • Great use of simple iconography
  • Plays quickly, making you want to play again

Might Not Like

  • The art style choice
  • Luck of the drafting
  • Cardboard quality
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Description

Welcome to the market of beautiful things! As well-to-do citizens in Mercado, gamers wander around the stalls, always on the lookout for special items to enhance their reputation. Noble shawls, elegant jewellery, or golden trophies with such a selection, the decision is difficult. But those who do not carry matching coins can also be unlucky because the other players have the same goal and might grab the valuable items from under your nose.

In more detail, different market stalls, each with one product, are laid out as panels in the centre of the table. Each player has a personal bag containing different coins. On a turn, you draw three coins from it blind and place them at the market tables of your choice. If a player has paid all the necessary coins of a product, they receive the board and thereby increase their reputation. Some tablets bring extra privileges or seals, others bring counterfeit money that might wander into a bag. Who can buy the most valuable goods?

Mercado Review

Ever had the feeling that your pocket is just a little too heavy? All those spare coins burning a hole in your wallet? Have so much money that you itch to buy something, anything, just so you are doing something with it? No? Me neither, with a debit card that occasionally declines from trying to buy milk and bread, this lifestyle is but a dream for a lowly peasant like me. But Mercado helps you imagine what it would be like to live the good life.

In Mercado you will be throwing your money around by purchasing valuable items and potions in a bid to increase your reputation amongst your peers, whilst trying to avoid the counterfeit coins that cannot be spent. Coin drafting and management will be the tools you utilise to carry you into your birth rite as the most reputable noble in the city.

First Impressions

I do not usually include my first impressions from unboxing or set up in my reviews, but with this game, they are worth relaying.

Straight off the bat, I was impressed with the small details in the production of this game. I loved that each of the resource bags came with their own purse pendants so that each character's bag felt unique to them, even though each is filled with the same resources.

The other detail that struck me straight away was that each of the characters can be used as either a male version or a female version simply by flipping the player board. I find small inclusions like this help make games much more accessible and it always brings me a smile when seeing them.

Mercado characters

Gameplay

This game was a delight to learn to play. It has such an easy-to-read rule book and can be learned and taught in a matter of minutes. Its engaging mechanics and simplicity make it an easily accessible game.

Mercado has a mechanic that I have not seen in any other game yet. The cards need to be laid out all facing the same direction, as each edge of the cards are represented by different colours. These colours are linked to each different character. It determines where you sit in relation to the game setup.

When you start filling up the sets you need to win each item, your coins go along the side of the card that represents your colour. This ensures that no matter the player count, or the number of coins in play, it is easy to see whose coins are whose. It is simple design choices like this that really appeal to me.

Luck Vs Tactics

The game does a good job of balancing these two pivotal roles. There is plenty of luck when drafting your coins from your coin purse. However, knowing exactly how many of each coin you have left, and with abilities, you can gain to draw more coins, exchange coins for universal coins, and trading 3 different coins for privilege tokens; there is always room to form a tactic or two.

The privilege tokens you can receive as rewards have dual purposes. You can play them at the start of your turn for the privilege (points) they produce, plus sometimes extra bonuses. Or you can choose to save them all up until the end of the game to cash them all in at once for their total privilege worth.

Mercado components shot

How It Looks

Mercado employs a rather simplistic art style that may have a bit of a hit or miss audience. For me, I fall slightly on the 'miss' side of things. However, this does not take away from the experience of playing in any way. The drab colour palette is somewhat fitting for the Victorian era art style they were aiming for and I know plenty of people who are a fan of this style.

On the other hand, I absolutely love the iconography used on the cards and board. They are simple to read, easy to remember and are covered in full detail on one whole page at the back of the rule book. This makes them easy to reference for any player. Although some small player aids would have been a smart inclusion.

Component quality is a little hit or miss too though. The wooden coin pieces are great and serve their purpose well, as does the cloth 'purse' in which they go in. These combined had me shaking my little coin bag pretending like I was wealthy nobility several times. The cardboard used on some of the other components are easy to damage however and I would advise being careful when punching them to avoid any accidental ripping.

Final Thoughts

There is not a whole lot to talk about when it comes to Mercado. It is a quick-playing, lightweight game that is easy to set up, pack up and will appeal to many types of gamers.

Even though I wasn't sold on the art style of this game, I was impressed with how much I enjoyed such a simple little game. There is a lot to love here. I love the variety in the items and potion cards, I love the interchangeable genders of characters, I love jingling the bag of wooden coins like a giant kid, I love that the card orientation is a reflection on where you sit. I think this game is ripe for some small expansions or rethemes if it proves popular.

Mercado offers up a lovely little filler game to pull out between your bigger gaming ventures. It's a good gateway to gaming, with easy to learn drafting and placement mechanics.

If you are in the market (huh, see what I did there?) for a new palette cleansing game then your wallet (ironically) won't be impacted much by taking a punt on Mercado. Give it a go!

Zatu Score

Rating

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

You might like

  • Simple, easy to learn game. Great gateway game
  • Great use of simple iconography
  • Plays quickly, making you want to play again

Might not like

  • The art style choice
  • Luck of the drafting
  • Cardboard quality