GTM #205 - Morocco
Reviewed by Rebecca Kaufeld

The markets of Morocco overflow with possibility. It seems like chaos: the sound of chattering vendors and clattering crates mixes with the jingle of coins in their visitors’ pockets, and you can practically smell the anticipation in the air. The noise is almost musical, and vendors like you are drawn to it.

There’s plenty of competition for space, but you’re confident that your business will succeed. You’ll only need a bit of cunning and luck to claim the prime areas of the market; after all, your assistants and bodyguards will do most of the work. That’s what you hired them for, right?

In Morocco, players work to become the most successful vendor in the market. By scouting the best areas and assigning workers to stalls, they try to outwit each other in a clever game of strategy and chance. Two phases and multiple rounds later, only one vendor will be the most successful; for everyone else... well, there’s always tomorrow.

The key to becoming the most profitable vendor lies in the information they gather. For example, where are people going in the market? Where are the other vendors setting up? Is there a corner to avoid, or someplace they have to be? From the rooftops above, everyone can see the market, outlined like a grid. It’s the perfect spot for scoping out their next move.

Since all the stalls look alike from the ground, in order to differentiate between one area and another, each row and column is identified by a particular color: orange, black, purple, green, or brown. These colors allow vendors to select which area they’d like to send assistants to on the ground below – however, those colors represent information, and information has a price. Players spend the first phase gathering corresponding colored cubes to spend on sending their assistants and bodyguards to chosen aisles in the market – they don’t always get to choose the colors they receive, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Once the information is confirmed and they’ve gathered their colored cubes, it’s time for phase 2: assigning assistants, bodyguards, and the occasional tourist to the market. Each stall has four spaces available for occupants: assistants take one spot, bodyguards (due to their imposing size) count as two... and if a tourist stops by, they take up one space, too. Tourists, though, have a tendency to move...

When all four spaces of a stall are accounted for, a scoring round begins. The stall itself is awarded to the most represented player (usually accomplished with multiple assistants, a bodyguard, or others). They receive 5 victory points, and place a market tile on the stall, identifying it with their color for the rest of the game. The second and third players in the stall also reap rewards - victory points, coins (which can be used to complicate things later in the game), and access to one of their bodyguards as a future turn. Not bad for showing up to the market for a turn!

There are plenty of other secrets in Morocco (including juice sellers with bonus points, gold coins, and tourists that wander from one stall to another), but I’ll let you discover those on your own. Game end triggers when there are five or fewer stalls available for vendors to take over; at the end of that round, players count up their points, and the most successful vendor wins!

Morocco, brought to you by Eagle-Gryphon Games, is a work of art. Not only is it visually beautiful and incredibly organized (which is a rare feat for board games), but the game, itself, is a marvelous balance of strategy and luck.  Players plan, gather materials, and compete against each other for power in a legendary market of the world: the crossroads of culture, Morocco.

Fast Facts:

  • Ages – 13 and up
  • Plays – 2-5 vendors
  • Time – 45-minutes
When a whirlwind of whimsical words beckoned from worlds away, Rebecca knew she had to follow. She fell into a rabbit hole of metaphors and cliches, mixed with more similes than water drops in a storm. Somewhere along the way, she picked up a love of games that would use her words to create beautiful reviews, and that's where she is today.