Review: Alarún (Waterfall Games) – English

The old wise Alarún the druid’s time is almost up, but luckily he has enough pupils to take over the druidic deeds. To make his choice easier, Alarún has devised a challenge. The druid who collects the best ingredients and brews the best magic potion will be his successor. Can you brew a positive view of yourself in the eyes of Alarún?

In eight rounds, players collect the best ingredients to brew the best magic potion. This is how we determine who will become the successor of the druid Alarún in the game of the same name by Waterfall Games. A round ends as soon as a player has passed and taken the Alarún figure in front of him or her. During a round, players repeatedly collect and exchange cards (the ingredients) to add to their tableau. Ingredients come in different types and colours. By placing rows and columns of different types in the same colour, or different colours of the same type, players earn points. The more of these cards in a row or column, the more points players earn (and thus brew the better potion). The player with the most points at the end of the game becomes the successor of Alarún.

At the beginning of a turn, each player receives three cards with ingredients. During a turn, players can choose one of three actions:

  1. Swap an ingredient (card) from your hand with one of the three open cards table.
  2. Pass and do not swap an ingredient.
  3. Swap all three cards on hand with the three face-up cards on the table. This also counts as passing.

The player who passes first in a round (action 2 or 3) takes the cardboard Alarún token. The other players all get one more turn and thus one more action. Each round has a limited number of available cards and it is a bit of a gamble to get the right cards and to guess whether you will have a chance to collect certain cards, since you don’t know when a player will pass. Players must therefore also be able to deduce which ingredients other players need or want.

At the end of a round, players place their three acquired cards in their personal tableau (a square of cards that players form). Cards must always be placed adjacent to previously placed cards. After eight rounds, the game is over and scoring follows.

Alarún is a simple game with a simple mechanism and an equally simple scoring system. Despite its simplicity, Alarún offers a wealth of choices. The mechanism where players exchange ingredients is intriguing since you don’t know exactly when a round is over and which ingredients you (expect to) collect before the end of the round. Alarún therefore offers refreshingly simple fun.