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Maharaja by Mayfair Games
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Manufacturer: Mayfair Games  Visit their site
Designer: Wolfgang Kramer
Michael Kiesling
Players: 2 to 5
Time: 90 Minutes
Categories: City Building
Mechanics: Point to Point Movement
Ages: 10 and up
Availability: Unavailable 
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Our Price:  $36.00 - Retail $45.00
Reward Points: 3,600
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This item will be available sometime in the future. As soon as we have a fairly accurate arrival date, we'll open this item up for pre-orders.
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From the Publisher...

The maharadja has called and you, a distinguished Indian prince, are obeying his call! Build magnificient houses and palaces in his name!

Maharaja is a clever strategic boardgame for two to five players. During the game the players take different roles and travel from city to city in India. Their architects build palaces and houses for the maharadja. Of course, building a palace is expensive. Therefore it is important to earn enough money in the cities.

The first player building seven palaces is the winner.
Besides the basic game the rules booklet contains two advanced versions for players who seek even more depth in their game play.

Our Comments...

Also known as: Raja: Palastbau in Indien, Maharaja: Palace Building in India, Maharadja: Paleizenbouw in India, Maharadja

This mini-review by Mike Petty originally appeared in our August 22, 2004 newsletter:

Maharaja is the latest effort from the great design team of Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling. Published by Phalanx games, it delivers exactly what we've come to expect. Many tricky choices arise as players choose from a limited number of actions each turn. One twist in this effort is that actions are chosen simultaneously, so you're never quite sure what your opponents will be doing.

I have to comment that the components to this game are very nice. I'm not one to notice fancy bits, but there's plenty here to be impressed with. The large board is nicely decorated and glass stones are used for palaces. Another thing worth mentioning are the nice "action wheels" used to select your actions each turn. My first worry when I read the rules was that the dials could accidentally change if they were loose. I was glad to see a threaded fastener was used to keep the arrows on the dial and it can be tightened appropriately. If anyone has had to deal with loose dials in Pirate's Cove or El Grande, you'll appreciate this added touch. This is a top-notch production from Phalanx. Since they're usually known for their war games, this game from them was a surprise to me and I hope it's a sign there's plenty more to come.

In terms of game play, there is so much going on in Maharaja that I can't begin to touch on it all in this mini-review. In essence, players are trying to build seven palaces. That's the long-term victory condition. The problem is, gold is pretty scarce and the only way to get gold is to accomplish some short-term goals each round. Specifically, one of seven cities will "score" each round. Players get payoffs in gold based on how many points they earn in that particular city. It's not cheap to move around the board, though, so you may not even be represented in the city, let alone have enough houses and palaces built there to get gold. Players can perform two actions per turn, but you'll soon find you want at least three! Use of special character abilities adds another layer of strategy throughout every round.

Simultaneous action selection and many variables to control makes for a tense, enjoyable game. There are quite a few rules to remember. Some actions are similar, but just different enough that mistakes can easily be made. It's definitely a gamer's game! Personally I can see myself playing it a lot more before I feel I have the hang of it. As Kramer and Kiesling usually do, though, there are also advanced rules included, as well as a few variations. That should make the game all the more interesting when our group is ready for them.

Read more information at the Board Game Geek website

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Customer Raves - Write your own Rave about this game!
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Andy Anderson - Las Vegas Gamers

This game is top quality with a nice large board, and includes thick pieces, gem type stones, wooden houses and well written rules with plenty of examples. The use of a hidden wheel on which you forecast your two moves makes for lots of fun seeing if your plan were right, or if the other players foiled your plans. You will file this game in your library of great games.

Maharaja is an all around beautiful game. The components are top-notch, which range from colored glass stones to sturdy action discs and nice wooden houses. The board artwork is fantastic as well, adding additional enjoyment to the game. I enjoy chaos and trying to predict what my opponents might do. This game caters to those tastes, with plenty of depth for hardcore gamers, but fun mechanics that should please even casual players. The only drawback (which frankly, I don't consider a drawback) is that players who start off slowly will have a very difficult time catching back up to the leaders in this game, since the game rewards those who do well. I actually prefer game mechanics such as these which reward good play as opposed to penalizing it (like you might see in Power Grid). I highly recommend Maharaja and consider it to be one of my Top 5 games.

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