Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sultaniya - A Magical Review

Hi everybody!

Welcome back to another review. Today's review is a bit of a bigger game than I have been talking about recently. Sultaniya by Charles Chevallier is a tile laying game set in the age of 1001 Arabian Nights. The story goes that the person that builds the best palace for the sultan will become the royal vizier. So let's dive right into a realm of gems and magic and get on with the review.
An Enchanting Box
Sultaniya is a game for 2-4 players that plays in around 45 minutes. The object of the game is to pick tiles and place them into your playing area in order to make the best possible palace. The game starts with each player picking a character board. The board gives the players all of the information they need in order to maximize the points they will receive for their palaces. Depicted on the board is the player's 4 methods of scoring, whether it is +3 points for gardens or + 6 for archways, the board shows detailed pictures and a score for each item the player can build. The board also has 3 starting tiles, 2 on the first floor and 1 on the second, that will get the players going.
Beginnings of a Palace
On the lower section, near the scoring part of the board are two slots for Secret Objects. Each player is given 2 secret objectives that will score them points at the games end. These can really be game changers when it comes right down to the wire.

Players can place tiles on to any floor of their palace as long as there is at least 1 tile below it and there are no empty spaces/holes left in the board. The palaces will end up being 4 rows high and the game ends when a player completes their 4th floor.

Besides tile laying the game also features it's own currency, sapphires. The sapphires are used to summon the power of Djinns that grant the user a special power to use that turn.
Greedy Djinns
They have powers that can grant you more tiles, the ability to swap out tiles, and even the chance to take a tile of your choice. The Djinns are expensive to use, but let's face it you have nothing better to use those sapphires on. From here once the game ends the players calculate their final scores, including what they earn from their secret objectives and the person with the most points wins and becomes the new vizier.

The convenience of Sultaniya is that each floor of the palace has it's own theme and color-scheme. This helps keep the piles of tiles in order, easy to store, and easy to place when the time comes. In a game like this it is easy enough to have just  made it random like a Carcassonne type game, but instead they built it in layers which works very well. Along with the color and theme of the layers comes the change in art. Each layer has it's own style and type of architecture that can be found. This makes it so players can really try to focus on what they need for points, however, the tiles can have 1 or 2 items in common so a race for certain pieces will come up. This is mostly true for the pieces that score +6 points.
Tiles, Tiles Everywhere
 The artwork itself is beautiful. The tiles and player boards are vibrant and lush while the plastic pieces (sapphires and Djinns) are robust and dazzling to look at. My one complaint with the sapphires is that the edges tend to flake leaving a fine blue plastic dust in the box. The Djinns, though, are my favorite pieces in the game and may be my all time favorite game component. They are fantastic to look at and have a great level of detail in their translucent plastic.

The rule book is very well laid out and an easy read. The game is also easy to teach and can be a good for newish gamers. Now, I haven't talked a lot about box inserts, but this one is great. The box insert fits everything snugly and has a bit extra room for any possible expansion in the works.

The double sided player boards and tokens are also nice. One side is more of a beginner character while the reverse is more advanced. Each character has their own starting layout and advantages, so you can dive into the game however you choose or mix and match.
The Box Innards

All and all Sultaniya is a fun game with a lot of possibilities and great production value. I really enjoy this game and give it a big recommendation. However, at this point in time I am feeling a little worn out by the 1001 Nights theme, but it works here. It is an enjoyable game and I feel it is suitable for people of all skill levels. Sultaniya gets a big thumbs up and a high recommendation.

Thank you again for reading Daemonic Teutonic. I hope you have enjoyed this review of a neat game.

Thank you all again.

Cheers,
Phil

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