1. Lay out the game board in the center of the table. This is the Rug Market Square.
2. Place Assam in the center of the Rug Market Square.
3. Each player receives a value of 30 Dirhams (coins).
4. Each player receives a certain number of Rugs depending on the number of players. (Four players = 12 Rugs. Three players = 15 Rugs. Two players = 24 Rugs of two different colors.
Game Play - On your turn, each player must perform the following three actions:
1. Move Assam - Choose the direction you want to move Assam. You may leave him pointed in his current direction or rotate him 90 degrees either way. (Note: He may never be rotated 180 degrees.) Then roll the die, and the number of slippers on the die indicate the number of squares Assam moves in a straight line.
2. Pay opponent (if necessary) - If you land on an opposing player's rug, you owe your opponent one Dirham per connected square with rugs of the same color.
3. Lay your own Rug - Lay one of your Rugs in a square next to where Assam landed following these placement rules. A rug can be placed on two empty squares, an empty square and half a Rug, two halves of different Rugs. You may never completely cover a single Rug with another single Rug.
The game ends when the last rug is played. Score is then tallied with each Dirham counting as one point and each visible half of a rug also counting as one point. The most points wins. If there is a tie, the player with the most Dirham wins.
At its core, Marrakech is a simple area control game. You want to be the one with the most visible rugs, so that your opponents land on them and have to pay you for them. However, there is a bit of luck involved with this game as well. Yes, you get to dictate which way to orient Assam before you move, but it's all luck of the roll how far he will move. There are two main things I like about this game. The first one is the simplicity of the game. The setup is quick and the way each turn plays out is three little things. The box says it is for ages 8+, but I can see younger kids being able to understand the basics of this game. With that said, there is still a bit of strategy to this game, so it's not all just dumb luck on who wins.
The other thing I love about this game are the components. Assam, the die, and the coins are all nice, chunky wooden pieces, which feel good in your hands and like they will be long-lasting. And the rugs are actual fabric bits! It would have been so easy (and probably cheaper too) to just have paper squares represent the rugs, but having actual fabric makes the game feel more thematic and it engages not just your sense of sight, but sense of touch as well. I can't wait for my son to get a little bit older, so I can play this game with him. Until then, my wife and I will keep enjoying this game and teaching the area control mechanic to our friends who are new to the gaming world.
This game was provided to me by Gigamic in exchange for an honest review.