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El Caballero
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El Caballero

English language edition

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Product Awards:  
Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 1999

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 90 minutes 2-4

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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

  • Designer(s): Wolfgang Kramer, Richard Ulrich

  • Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Hans im Gluck

  • Artist(s): Doris Matthaus

  • Year: 1998

  • Players: 2 - 4

  • Time: 90 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 835 grams

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.1 in 10 reviews

Purchased as a gift, then bought for myself
December 21, 2000

I originally purchased this game as a gift for a strategy game playing family member. We are used to playing games which involve what we both deem to be too much luck. This is not that game. The reviews here are primarily true--it is a highly complex and strategic game. If you do not enjoy playing games where each turn can take an extensive amount of time, then this is probably not the game for you.

I will not go into the game play, but will highlight a few things. The play can be long--each round usually takes longer than the last. The instructions are complete and completely understandable, but like any game are subject to interpretation. I would encourage you to make firm interpretations as the need arises. I disagree that the playing pieces are not of a poor quality (yes the box could be designed a little more efficiently). However, my primary review is based on the game play, and this game fits my definition of a must buy.

I could go on, but all in all this was a great purchase. We enjoyed it to the point of ordering one for myself as well. This is definitely a game located in the easy to reach portion of my game closet.

Very engaging game in the El Grande mold
February 02, 1999

While related only loosly to El Grande, this clever game retains much of the same feel of the original, so if you liked El Grande (and what's not to like? :), you are likely to enjoy this also. Players use tiles to build up islands and sea areas, and then use their Caballeros, ships, castles, and governors to control and score points for the areas. With a variety of available actions each turn, but a strictly limited capacity to perform them, there are always lots of choices and the strategy is challenging. The variable turn order and number of Caballeros available provided by the power cards (direct from El Grande) adds uncertainty that keeps the game exiting. Play the expanded game; it's only a few (minor) extra rules and much better than the basic game.

The one caveat is that the number of available options and somewhat analytical nature of the game can sometimes make it seem slow, and it takes a game or two to get up to speed - it is like El Grande in this respect, more cerebral than many games. Still, once you've played a couple games and gotten some of the quirky rules down, it should play more quickly.

At the price, it's very hard to beat this game.

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.

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