El Grande is by no means a new game, in fact it was winning awards back in the mid nineties and was the 1996 Spiel Des Jahres. Indeed for many Eurogame fans it remains one of the best releases from that rich period of "German-styled" strategy games.
El Grande is an area control/influence game and is based in 15th century Spain. The map and components are excellent, but I was concerned that they would give our non-Euro players the impression of a risk-style conquest game, instead of the more subtle area control strategy game that El Grande is.
Each player is a member of the high aristocracy (or "Grandes") who exert their influence across the different regions of Spain through the placement of "Caballeros", lower ranked aristocracy.
Each round players bid for action cards that allow them to exert their influence in different ways and swing the balance of power in their favour.
Regions are scored during rounds three, six and nine to establish which Grande has gained the most victory points by best using their influence in Spain.
It was a first game of El Grande for ChrisG & DaveB, but they did well to stay in contention throughout the evening. GaryG 108pts, AndyA 98pts, DaveB 90pts and ChrisG 78pts.
El Grande is a fine Eurogame, hopefully we'll get to use the expansion next time we play.
The other games played were Bucket King and Bluff.