Klicka för svenska      Taj Mahal

Distributor: Rio Grande Games / Alea
Category: Strategy game
Players: 3-5 (probably best with 4-5)
Play time: 01:15-01:40
Ages: 12+
Content:     1 game board
100 palaces (in 5 different colours)
    5 scoring markers
    2 black figures (marks first player + current province)
100 cards
    2 gold rings (crowns) (only 1 is used)
  12 octagonal province tiles
  24 oval influence tiles (6 of each Vizier, General, Monk, Princess)
  16 bonus tiles (15 square & 1 Taj Mahal)
Game target: During the visits to each of the 12 provinces gain the most influence points, by using their cards and carefully select when to play cards or withdraw, to collect points. When you withdraw, you compare the cards you have played in the visit with those played by your opponents. In forces (Vizier, General, Monk, Princess, Grand Mogul or Elephant) where you have more influences then the other, there you win the influence.

Winning the right to rule the province (elephants), adds economic power. Winning over the other prominent forces gives you the rule of individual cities and their sphere of influence, which may extend beyond the borders of the province.

Rules: Rules in English
Rules in French
Strategy: There are really many strategies to follow and you probably need to have a mix of them, instead of one long-term strategy. Mostly depending of which cards you may fill up your hand with. Also everyone are competing for the same resources as you.

Collect as many card as possible without bidding, which gives you points after the game. This gives maximum 33 points, which seldom is enough.

Connect as many palaces as possible. Could be a good strategy if the palaces are sequentially distributed (the visits are randomly decided at the setup of the game). Maximum it could give 78 points, but mostly are they pretty randomly distributed.

Get the princess card and try to keep it, as it after 2 rounds may give +2 points each round. Gives maximum 30 points. Also only 5 of 21 cards in each suit contains the princess.

Win the elephant battles and you win the commodities. Which can give a maximum of 80 points. But this is often the most popular strategy, so the battles can be hard, as the cards with elephants are most numerous.

Anyway, first and last you must consider the fact that if you battle too hard about the resources, you won't be able to replace the used cards, as you only get 1 or 2 replacement cards each round, so the most important is to withdraw at the right moment. Also the last to withdraw is the one who only gets 1 replacement card.

Comments: Created 1999 by Reiner Knizia.

We only played it with 2 player the first time, who each used 2 colours, the game was a bit messy to keep track of everything. Anyway, it showed up to be an interesting game with several options to follow and I'm looking forward to play it with 4-5 players (3 is probably to few).

The design of the game board and pieces are really great. All the plastic palaces are nicely made as small Taj Mahal palaces. The fact that I've already been to India and seen the mausoleum of Empress Mumtaz Mahal, the beloved spouse of Shah Mahal, who died 1631, makes the feeling of this beautiful game even better! This fantastic monument deserves all attention it can get, so why not a board game about it!


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