PALMYRA - Reviewed by John

Category/Format: Abstract/Board

Yet another cleverly designed game from Reiner W Knizia published by EG Spiele with rules in 5 European languages. Palmyra was an important trading centre in the ancient world. In this game each player is a merchant who must buy and sell goods profitably over the course of three years (rounds). The player who wins will have adopted the best strategy throughout the game.

The game is for 2 - 4 players, aged 10+, and lasts less than an hour. The board is edged by a number track which is used to record each players wealth (points). The centre of the board represents 3 trading routes converging on Palmyra along which are placed Amphoras (a Greek two-handed vessel) of the same colour as the route, the Yellow, Green and Red vessels symbolising gold, spices and wine respectively. Vessels increase in value along the route e.g. value 2 at Palmyra up to a maximum of 30. A pack of cards (42) exists to influence the market.

Each player starts with 50 points, one of each of the different colour vessels and 5 cards.

In their turn they can :

Trade in 1 of each of the colours (Buy and/or Sell)

Buy or Sell 2 of the same colour

Opt not to trade.

( Note, these limited trade options are restrictive and need careful management)

When buying, the nearest vessel/s to Palmyra are taken and the indicated price paid. When selling, the vessel is placed on the first available space in the direction of Palmyra and the indicated value is realised. They then lay a card to influence the market, and replenish their hand.

There are 4 types of card

- a) Cards that increase/ decrease ( +3 to -3) the value of the different commodities.

- b) Contract cards which carry extra rewards

- c) Tax cards which impose taxes on players holdings

- d) Mirage cards which cancel other cards.

A year (round) ends when all the card spaces on the board are full. The change in value of the commodities is calculated and the vessels move up or down the route to correspond. Players are paid for any contracts made, and a new year (round) starts once the players have had the opportunity to replace any or all of their cards.

At the end of the third year (round) the game concludes with each player taking turns to sell their amphoras, one at a time. The highest scorer wins.

Your game strategy should bear in mind the following :

Make the most of your cards, pay attention to the actions of the other players, remember you do not need a high score to win, simply one more point than any other player.

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