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Taj Mahal
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Taj Mahal

#3 ALBS, English language edition of Tadsch Mahal

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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 75-100 minutes 3-5

Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Alea

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Product Description

Control of India at the beginning of the 18th century is up for grabs. The 200 year long rule of the Grand Moguls is collapsing, but they still have some power. Now is the time for the Maharishis and princes to take control of the Indian subcontinent. The players use strategy and cunning to win influence over northwestern India, province by province and city by city. The most successful player (and the winner) is the one who establishes the most magnificent palaces and has the most power in the end.

The board is divided into 12 Indian provinces. In the game, the players will visit each of the provinces just once. In each visit, the players compete, using their cards, for the influence available in the current province. Each visit consists of several rounds and in each round, the players, in turn order, can either play 1 or 2 cards or completely withdraw from the visit. When a player withdraws, he compares the cards he has played in the visit with those played by his opponents. The player wins influence in forces that he has more symbols for on his cards than any other player. There are two important targets for the players:

  • Winning the right to rule the province, symbolized by the elephant, adds the economic power of the province to the player.
  • Winning control over the prominent forces, like Vizier or Monk, gives the player rule of individual cities and their spheres of influence, which may extend beyond the borders of the province.

In both ways, players may score influence points in each province.

After all twelve provinces have been visited, the player with the most influence points is the winner.

Difficulty: 5/10

Product Awards

International Gamers Awards
Best Strategy Game Nominee, 2001
Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 2000
Deutscher Spiele Preis
1st place, 2000

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

  • Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Alea

  • Artist(s): Franz Vohwinkel

  • Year: 2000

  • Players: 3 - 5

  • Time: 75 - 100 minutes

  • Ages: 12 and up

  • Est. time to learn: 20-30 minutes

  • Weight: 1,098 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.


  • 1 game board
  • 100 palaces
  • 5 scoring markers
  • 2 black figures
  • 100 cards
  • 2 gold rings (crowns)
  • 12 octagonal province tiles
  • 24 oval influence tiles
  • 16 bonus tiles (15 square & 1 Taj Mahal)

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.7 in 20 reviews

Great Game
March 24, 2003

I brought this game after reading the reviews and was not disappointed. The rules are pretty complicated if you don't have anyone to help you out with. When I played this first, we did get some of the rules wrong but now they don't seem that bad.

I really like the strategy aspect of the game. I think that this game has more strategy and less luck than Settlers of Catan since in Settlers you are waiting for your lucky numbers rolled but instead in this game you have to plan your way in each city so that you play your cards just right for that round and also plan appropriate for the next rounds. The special cards are very important and each one of them is important to a certain strategy for the game. The emperor is important if you are looking for the most connections between cities, the elephant comes in handy for winning cities, +2 and change color are always useful.

I have played with only 3 players and have found it to be quite interesting. I would recommend this game to anyone who is looking to spend 1-2 hours on a game with good strategy options.

Good Game
March 20, 2003

I've read numerous excellent reviews of Taj Mahal and decided to give it a try yesterday and it turned out to be a good buy :)

Initially, we had a hard time trying to understand the rules, but fortunately a guy from another gaming group came over and taught us the game :) We played a 5 players game and I ended up last, but I really enjoyed the game... the mechanism of game play is original and innovative... requires a lot of brain work when deciding what card to play and which cards to choose... all in all, it's a good game... I would rank Taj Mahal to be on par with great games like Puerto Rico and EVO...

by Jake
Tough battles get tougher.
February 10, 2003

Is it poker? Better. It plays with cards but removes the luck. Add to that some glorious tile-play and decision-making and you've got one heck of a brain burner.

Knizia bears his stamp on Taj Mahal more than any other game designer has shown their personality in a game. The several, simultaneous methods of scoring that are impressively balanced; cumulative scoring that creates momentum and flow to the game; the agonizing choices; and, an original, but skin-deep theme (I still can't remember the name of the green guy - I just call them the 'green guy').

This is a game that's hard to win. The fights just keep getting harder and it's usually the pressure that forces one to make a bad decision - the sign of a solid game.

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