Game review: With Grand Austria Hotel, attract customers to become best hotel in Europe

Posted April 18

Mayfair Games does it again with a new, innovative and delightful "euro-style" game called Grand Austria Hotel. It is the modern age in Vienna, and players represent hotel owners competing to become the best known hotel in the world. Attract customers, meet their needs and put them up in a hotel room to win.

Each player takes a hotel board showing rooms in three colors that correspond to customer colors. A customer color must match to be placed in that room. Two shared central boards show available actions using dice, victory points, waiting customers, the power of the emperor, goal cards and a track showing game length.

On a player's turn, he or she must first decide whether or not to attract a customer from the central board to his or her hotel. This is a main action of the game. Each customer card shows an order to fulfill and a bonus granted when that customer's order is complete and a hotel room is provided. Customers can grant victory points, money, extra cards or other special items when satisfied.

Next a player must look at the dice actions central board, another main part of the game. Each turn several six-sided dice are rolled and assigned to the board according to their number. Each number, one through six, is represented on the board by a unique action. A player can select any action with dice on it and he or she can take that action as many times as the number of dice there.

The six available actions involve taking food cubes to meet customer needs, opening hotel rooms for guests, hiring staff, acquiring money or acquiring influence points with the emperor. There are also some other minor housekeeping actions that players can do multiple times as long as they can pay for them.

Each player begins the game with six staff members represented by cards. To hire staff, a player uses an action and pays the cost of the staff card. That staff member is placed on the table and becomes active, thereby granting a special power. Some powers are a one time bonus, a bonus every round or points at the end of the game.

A cool feature of the game comes at the end of the third, fifth and seventh rounds. On the main board the emperor track will reward players who progress along it with victory points. Players also receive a bonus or penalty depending on how far they have progressed on this track. Caution is the word because players can jump from first to last place by ignoring the emperor.

After seven rounds the game ends and points are rewarded for guests at the hotel, leftover food cubes and staff cards. Points are taken away if any customers still remain in a player's personal hotel cafe. The player with the most points wins.

There are a lot of things going on in this game, but it isn't overly complex. The theme integrates well with the gameplay and feels like managing a hotel in Vienna. It's also fun to play. This game is recommended for those who like a deep game with lots of choices, strategies, victory points and fun. What it does, it does very well. It supports one to four players and takes about 90 minutes. For me, it's a keeper. Find out more at MayFair Games website.

Email: rmorgenegg@deseretnews.com


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