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El Caballero
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El Caballero

original German edition

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Product Awards:  
Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 1999

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 90 minutes 2-4

Designer(s): Wolfgang Kramer, Richard Ulrich

Publisher(s): Hans im Gluck

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Product Description

On to the New World! is the cry from the fans of El Grande. Leave the Spanish mainland behind and set sail to discover the New World! This time let your trusty Caballeros help you control the islands and the seas of this new land. Both land and sea may contain special treasures to add valuable points to your collection of victory points.

As the players explore the islands, they discover the land and sea areas of the New World. One discovered, they rush their Caballeros to the most valuable areas to claim them for themselves. They buy Castillos to protect their Caballeros from attacks and build ships to support trade and fishing. Power is gained by dominating the land areas and launching ships into the sea areas. All this with the goal of showing up the other Grandes that are trying to take control of the New World.

Governors allow you to further secure your regions. And the Grandes themselves travel to the New World to grant their most prized region with their special protection.

Product Awards

Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 1999

Product Information

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.1 in 10 reviews

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by Joe G
An absorbing, intense game.
May 02, 2001

Depending on your tastes, El Caballero will be either a treat or a chore. It's heavy on forethought and calculation, but a little creativity is also necessary to generate points in a game where the board is a work in progress. There is even room for a bit of deviousness, as you can make it a point to knock others' caballeros off the map--at the risk of having the favor returned, of course. You will be quite proud of the little empires that you build, once you convince yourself that they are safe. The 'board' will look like a maze to passers-by, but you will know every island and isthmus by heart.

However, the game will likely seem dry to non-gamers, as the explorer theme can easily be forgotten amongst the point-counting and decision-making. As others have mentioned, this is definitely a game that can and will promote 'analysis paralysis.'

There is one point mentioned below that is worth reiterating: the 'basic game' should be ignored entirely. It seems to be an afterthought designed to make the game easier to learn, but I am not sure that this is necessary. Moreover, without the 'Grande' pieces the game is seriously flawed, as the board tends to stretch out in a line rather than spread out in all directions, and it is just less interesting in general.

If you are hard core, you may want to give this game a try before it disappears.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Not your mama's El Grande (or Cacassonne)
April 27, 2001

'El Caballero' is the little brother of the classic El Grande. It shares some of the same mechanics as its sibling, but it is definitely a separate game and should be considered on its own grounds.

The mechanics of the game are quite well documented elsewhere, so I will merely give my own take on it. El Caballero is a difficult game to grasp. The strategies are subtle and opaque. There are so many options available to a player that it can quite easily induce 'analysis paralysis.' Each turn must be carefully considered, because even the slightest mistake can result in a crushing loss.

Unlike El Grande, the caballeros of this game can easily be lost completely. Cabs equate to influence, influence to victory points. Losing one's place in the game can result in a many-turned struggle to regain one's place in the New World.

I would not recommend El Caballero for the casual gamer. It requires too much of the player to be played on a light, frequent basis, such as the somewhat similar Carcassonne. It is a game that rewards deep thought and a strategy played out over a number of turns. Peaceful co-existence is not the goal here. Utter domination is....

Recommended for the strategy gamer.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Fun and strategic
February 23, 2001

I have only played this with two people but it was a blast. There is a lot of thought involved during your turn. I love the fact that because of the tiles and their placements, the game plays different every time. The only reason I did not give it 5 stars is because, like I said above, I have not played it with more than two players so I do not know how well it works with more people.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.

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