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List Price: $47.00
Your Price: $37.99
(Worth 3,799 Funagain Points!)
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Here's a short translated description of Safranito from the publisher:
Saffron, curry and cardamom – in the bazaar everyone will be haggling over these precious spices. This family game features a strong atmosphere and requires exceptional tactical skills as players try as quickly as possible to get the right spices together for the meals they'll serve to the Maharajah.
Now what's left out of that description is the detail that Safranito is a dexterity-based strategy game, with players flicking their discs onto a market area with an array of spices available each round. As Teubner explains in a March 2010 article on Jeux sur un Plateau, he's a fan of little moments when you play – things like the feel of poker chips between your fingers or the placement of a Go stone. "I really try to reproduce these 'moments,' and after a while, I realized that the handling of poker chips and a trading mechanism were integrated perfectly and reinforcing one another."
Update, Sept. 16, 2010: Okay, the inclusion of the word "strategy" in the description above isn't entirely accurate. Let's explain Safranito in some detail and you'll then see why. The game board features bowls of nine spices arranged in a 3x3 display, with four smaller action spaces tucked around the central bowl. Each player receives a set of six chips valued 10-60 and 200 Rupees to start the game.
At the start of each round, 4-6 spice cards and 2-3 spice blend cards – which show some combination of three spices – are laid face-up beside the board. Starting with the active player, players take turns throwing three or four chips onto the game board one at a time, trying to place their chips on the action spaces or on top of the spice bowls. Once all the chips have been thrown, players first evaluate the action spaces, with the player who landed the highest total of chips in each space taking the action: throwing another chip, drawing an additional spice card, reserving a spice blend card by taking it into hand (so that it can't be taken by others); and becoming the head chef (i.e., first player in the round).
Why is being the head chef – a position that normally rotates position clockwise – important? Because the next phase of the game involves the selling and buying of spices, with the head chef determing the order in which the spices are handled. For each spice bowl, any player with spice cards of the chosen type may sell each one for Rupees equal to the sum of all chips lying on this bowl, whether or not that player has a chip on the bowl. Anyone who sells this spice removes their chip (if any) from this bowl, then each player who still has a chip on this bowl has the opportunity to buy this spice – assuming any of the relevant spice cards lie face-up next to the game board. The player with the highest sum of chips on the bowl purchases first, paying the chip total in Rupees, then removing his highest chip from the bowl. This process continues until no chips or no cards remain.
For the final part of the round, starting with the head chef each player has one opportunity to purchase one of the face-up spice blends by discarding the three spices depicted on the card. Players can also purchase any number of reserved spice blend cards in hand. The first player to claim three spice blend cards wins the game!