Morocco’s Marrakech encompasses an old fortified city, parts of which are packed with vendors and their stalls heaving with goodies: including rugs and carpets of course. That’s what you’ll tread as you play this lightweight game. Its carpets are one of the things that people find fun about Marrakech. As well as a small board and a somewhat simplified, chubby carpet vendor with a red fez, there’s a pile of rectangular rugs for each player (12 each in a four player game).
Really! Little felt rugs!
In each turn, players take control of Assam (the carpet king), which firstly demands that they tell him which direction to take. Having decided which way he’ll go, and hoping that his route will be to their advantage, they throw a die with slippers on it (rather than numbers), and he obediently moves that number of slippers. He never walks off the edge of the board, because the market’s surrounded by arcades: he simply walks in one entrance and straight out of another, back into the market place.
Rugs get laid down as Assam moves around the market area. One is put down each time he comes to a halt. The market place is a mere seven squares by seven and each carpet takes up two squares, so it doesn’t take long to find the display space filling up, with carpets being laid one upon the other.
The idea is to lay out your rugs in such a way as to trap as many feet to fall upon them as possible, because every step onto somebody else’s rug costs dirhams. The more carpets that dealers have laid out, touching sides within a group onto which an adversary has the impudence to step, the more dirhams they’ll demand.
By landing on an adversery’s red carpets (as in the image), Assam would be called upon to cough up a full 13 dirhams! There are that many side-touching carpet squares.
As the game proceeds, someone’s money making carpet displays may get covered by another’s: a dirham-disaster for one, and money on the way for the other. There’s a constantly shifting nature to the area of carpet control, until the game ends when the last rug is laid.
Watch out for rug rage.
- minimal setup
- easy to play
- good fun
- family game
- luck involved, with just some strategy
► let me roll out a carpet!