Friday, May 2, 2014

Casa Grande - English Rules

This is a fun game and the production quality is great, as you would expect from Ravensburger.
Contrary to what other reviews suggest, you can nicely tidy the whole thing up in the box, we didn't have any problem with that.

We have the German version, that only comes with a German manual but this is not a problem since there is no text on the actual game. We tried a number of variations on the rules but in the end we really like the following variation. I'm describing it here in detail for those who like to try it or those who don't have an English manual. The main deviation from the 'official' manual is that we chose not to play the bonus rules, as we find that they are really just a distraction from the main game...

So here are the rules we play with:

Preparation. Each player starts with all the building blocks of one colour and the associated building floors. Each player uses one marker piece in the same colour and places it in one corner of the playing board, where every player starts in a different corner.

Youngest player starts. The game is played in turns, players take turns clockwise.

Every turn consists of the following:
1. Player throws the dice and moves his or her marker the number of places clockwise as on the dice on the square path on the board. If you finish on a 'sun spot', a corner place, you move your marker the same amount of spaces again.
2. The player must place a building block in one of the 16 places that are visible when looking through a straight line from the place where the marker has landed. The building block may be placed on the bottom layer, on another building block or on a floor that may exist on a higher level. Building blocks may also be placed under where floors might exist on higher levels as long as they can easily be placed there (without removing that higher level floor).
3. Then the player may place a building floor if this is possible given the location of his building blocks in the game. The white rectangles on a building floor must be underpinned with the player's own pieces. Other rectangles on the floor may or may no be underpinned by any pieces, also from other players. The player may only place a building floor if all the rectangles of that floor are directly on a brick or without any piece under it (if they don't have a white rectangle) - however a floor may not be placed directly on another floor, there must always either be a brick or some space in between. The player then receives money to the amount of the number of rectangles multiplied by the height, so 1st level = times 1, 2nd level = times 2 etc.

The game is over when all the building blocks have been placed. When a player places his last brick he may also put a building floor somewhere this turn. All players finish their bricks during the same round. Then the player with the most money wins.
If you're playing with 2 players it's actually quite fun to continue playing with a second colour for each player once the first colour has run out. That way you can make really high buildings, even with 2 players. It makes the game a little bit longer (which we usually appreciate) and is really fun.

The simplicity makes this game very playable and there is a bit of strategy in there too. A pretty good and fun game for anyone over 8 or so.

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