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Aldabas: Doors of Cartagena is live (Knock knock knocking on Colombian doors)

Update: Aldabas: Doors of Cartagena is live on Kickstarter and the campaign will run for 14 days. You may pledge for a copy of the game or for the PnP files. The Aldabas prototype is also available in limited copies.

Our preview post below was published on April 30.


Aldabas: Doors of Cartagena is a card drafting and tableau-building game for 1-4 players that draws inspiration from the colored doors of the Colombian city of Cartagena (their door knockers are called aldabas). It will launch on Kickstarter on May 4.

Image source: BGG

In Aldabas, each card has three distinct characteristics: color, suit, and influence rating. All cards of a given suit and influence rating also have a special ability. Each suit comes with a specific scoring condition at the end of the game; however, you can benefit from that scoring condition only if you achieve the highest influence rating for that suit among the players (a lesser scoring condition also triggers if you are the second highest).

On your turn, you can perform two out of three available actions: take two coins from the supply, draft a card from the central display (with a cost of 0 to 3 depending on how recently it has been drawn from the main deck), or play a card. Your cards are played on your tableau, in a 4x3 grid. When you place a card there, it must be adjacent to a previous card (starting with the bottom left blank card), but of a different color of the adjacent cards. Card effects may then trigger if relevant (for instance, playing a Soldier door with a 2 Influence allows you to reserve a coin for the end scoring).

The game ends in three ways: if the display cannot be refilled from the deck, if the coin supply is empty, or if any player completes their tableau. Other players are granted one last additional turn once the end has been triggered. The scoring can then begin. You score depending on the suits' scoring conditions (if you achieve influence majority for them), and you score an additional 2 points per reserved coin, and 3 coins if you have the highest total influence.

Image source: BGG

In the solo mode, you are pitted against an AI. The AI follows goal cards (drawn at the beginning of the game) that will shape its strategy by prioritizing specific cards. On its turn, the AI always drafts a card by calculating the value of each card on the display. A card’s value is the difference between influence and cost, with a +2 modifier if the card suit/rating combination matches one of the AI’s goals. The AI does not use money and does not pay for the cards, but their cost decreases their value and makes them less likely to be drafted. Then, if the AI has three cards in hand, it will play the oldest one on its tableau, sequentially from left to right, row after row, ignoring color restrictions. At the end of the AI turn, you also discard the free card from the display and then refill it.

The AI does not get a score. Its tableau is only used to assess the majority over the different suits. You score as normal, except if you have the second place for a suit, you do not benefit from the lesser scoring condition. Your goal is to achieve the highest possible score.

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