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Subject: Review: Finca - El Razul rss

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Mikael Vintermark
Sweden
Göteborg
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We had played about 20 games of Finca before we decided to get the El Razul expansion from Spielbox. I ordered the #2-2010 issue and the delivery took exactly two weeks, as promised. The cardboard with the different pieces was wrapped in plastic for protection and the printing of the colours and quality of the tiles was immaculate, no difference could be told when compared to the existing ones. The rules where provided in the magazine and they where clearly written. It was no problem getting it right from the start. The reason for ordering the expansion was that both I and my wife felt that Finca was a bit too light for us and we were hoping to spice it up a bit with the new parts.

The El Razul expansion consists of 4 different parts. These are the Fruit choice windmill blade, the Drought fruit tiles, the Marionette action tiles and El Razul himself with a corresponding windmill tile. We have played 5 two-player games using the expansion.

Fruit choice windmill blade
This is a windmill blade with all the 6 different fruits printed on it. When you land here you choose one type of fruit and get as many as there are farmers as usual.

This windmill blade is obviously a bit better than all the other ones, but it’s still balanced. There tend to be more farmers around here, but the Marionette action tile makes you think twice before lining up for moving in and grab the fruits you miss for the moment. It doesn’t add much to the game except cutting down the play time a bit, which we both think is great.

Drought fruit tiles
The two Drought fruit tiles are mixed in with the existing fruit tiles. When it presents itself in a community you don’t need to deliver any fruits to get it, just a donkey cart (or just take it while making another delivery). You permanently remove two of each of the fruits in the supply and it’s worth 2 Victory points at the end of the game, not counting toward collecting a set.

We always play with 12 fruits each in the supply in a two-player game and these tiles made for a more interesting game. You usually tend to grab them as soon as they are flipped over; as they are worth 2 VP’s and you get them for free. This means that if both are collected the supply will only contain 8 each of the different fruits. Since you can force your opponent (and yourself) to return all the fruits when a supply pile is empty, the game became a little bit more cutthroat. I really like this aspect of an otherwise family-oriented game.

Marionette action tile
When playing this, you are allowed to move any opponent’s farmer and collect the fruits and donkey carts for yourself.

This tile works great with the Fruit choice windmill tile. You need to think twice before lining up for a big grab. You also need to make a choice if to use the tile early in the game, since you give your opponent more freedom after it’s gone. I feel that the Marionette tile adds a bit more interaction in the game, which is good. It’s by far the funniest action tile to play.

El Razul
This consists of the El Razul windmill blade (which is always in play) and the El Razul figure. When you land on the El Razul windmill blade you may take two of the same kind of fruits regardless of how many farmers are on the tile and you must move the El Razul figure to a new community of your choice. If you deliver fruit to the community where El Razul is located you may deliver any kind of fruits, just the number and ratio stays the same.

The El Razul part of the expansion further cuts down the play time of the game, since you can use any fruits you have in your stash. It’s useful for collecting that last tile you need for a complete set and it can also be used to "drain" a pile of fruit tiles to get a Finca you are sure of winning, as you can run through a pile faster when El Razul is located in that community. It doesn’t make for any crucial decisions but it’s useful nonetheless.

Summary
The El Razul expansion certainly adds a bit of spice to Finca. Some parts just cuts down play time really, but I think that’s a good thing. The other two parts add a bit more cutthroat and interaction, which is equally as good. It’s not like it’s changing the entire experience playing Finca; it’s more like a subtle change in the game. It will definitely make us play Finca more than we have been doing before. I paid 8 Euros for El Razul and got a magazine as well and with that in mind I really recommend it to everyone who owns a copy of Finca.
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boardgamemuse
United States
Denton
Texas
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Thanks for the information. I have the expansion as well but have yet to remove it from the shrink.

Now I must give it a go! meeple


Peace
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Andy Andersen
United States
Ada
Michigan
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My wife and I play Finca every few days. I have the expansion, but hadn't really taken much of a look at it until reading this excellent review.
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kat costa
United States
Santa Rosa
California
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This was a really helpful review. Thank you.
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Tony Bosca
United States
Royal Oak
Michigan
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We've really enjoyed this expansion. It seems to add just enough complexity to open the game up to more creative play. I sort of feel while the El Razul figure makes fruit tiles easier to get and the drought tiles being free, our games haven't felt much "easier". In fact I'd say they're running a few minutes longer due to the extra considerations and choices.
 
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Jonathan Powell
Ukraine
Berdyansk
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I'm in my prime.
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TheRakeman wrote:
Phagocyte wrote:
What does El Razul mean?


Google returns more or less nothing. Maybe it just sounds cool?


Can't remember where I saw it, but I think the designer just pulled letters from his name.

El RAlf ZUur Linde
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