Samarkand: Caravan to Riches
multilingal edition of Samarkand: Wege zum Reichtum
List Price: $62.95
Your Price: $49.99
(Worth 4,999 Funagain Points!)
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Rich merchants and their families ply the Silk Route of the Orient with their caravans in order to make lucrative business.
The players assume the role of traders who marry into other families to extend their influences. Who will be the richest merchant?
Samarkand is a family game with its simple to understand rules and fast access to play.
This game is a reimplementation of Age of Scheme: Routes to Riches.
The catch-phrase of publisher Queen Games is "Connecting Generations", capturing their vision for games that can be played by junior family members as well as visiting grandmas. That's also how Samarkand it first appeared as a game for gamers from Winsome Games, under the name Age of Scheme. If Age of Scheme is the geeky older brother who hides in the basement and plays D&D with his odd looking friends, then Samarkand is the more social and outgoing younger sibling that everyone likes. Queen has transformed a no-luck game for gamers into a family game, with gorgeous artwork and components.
The theme of Samarkand could be a microcosm of Queen Game's motto, because it's all about connecting families. The city of Samarkand is famous for its central position on the Silk Road trade route between China and the Mediterranean, and that's what the main idea of the game is about. "Rich merchant families travel along the Silk Road looking for profitable bargains. The players act as merchants trying to marry into these families and take control of their business. Who will establish the most relationships and will be the winner in the end?"
Minor complaints relate to some fiddliness in relation to set-up, scoring, and use of the goods cards. But overall Samarkand gets major kudos from me. It scales well from 2 through 5 players; is an ideal length (most games will be over in little more than 30 minutes); is great for families; allows for strategic decisions; has fantastic components; and is highly interactive without being vicious.
Is Samarkand: Routes to Riches for you? As long as you come to the game with right expectations, Samarkand has the potential to be very well received as a family game with older children, or even as something lighter for gamers to enjoy. It has the advantage of offering a solid gaming experience in a very quick play time, without the brain-burning tension required by more unforgiving economic games. It's a good mix of straight forward rules, gorgeous components, and a satisfying game in a 30-45 minute time-slot. If you don't mind some fiddliness, this is a definite keeper. Recommended!