In the town of Dale there is a guild of extraordinary prestige to which every aspiring merchant yearns for membership to. But only the winner of the annual trading competition is asked to join it. From across the lands famous merchants gather in Dale to partake in the competition and win their place in the guild. You are among them; ready to trade your goods, manage your stock, and complete your astounding merchant stall so that you can take your rightful place as one of the greatest merchants to trade in Dale and a member of the Guild of Extraordinary Traders.
Snowdale Design has a project on Kickstarter called Dale of Merchants designed and illustrated by Sami Laakso. It supports 2 – 4 players and plays in 20 – 30 minutes. Set in the town of Dale players are animal merchants competing in an annual competition to complete their ‘astounding market stall’ and gain entrance into the guild.
Dale of Merchants is a set collection/deck building game with an interesting twist. When setting up the game you will choose a number of different decks (on deck per player) from among 6 different animal themed decks that come with the game. Out of these decks you will take cards to build personal decks for each player, then remove the remaining base cards and shuffle the rest to create a market deck which will provide players with cards to purchase. Players will race to complete 8 sets of the same colored animal cards in increasing value from 1 – 8 called stacks. These stacks are put on display in your market stall and not used for anything else for the remainder of the game. The first player to complete a stack of value 8 wins the game.
To complete these stacks on their turn players will perform one action. They will either use the cards in their hands to buy market cards, form a stack in their merchant stall, discard cards from their hands, or perform various techniques as written on each card which may result in the ability to perform an additional action. After your actions you will refill the market cards you purchased and draw cards until you have five in your hand.
Dale of Merchants may sound like a lot of other deck building games out there but it does have an interesting difference. Being able to choose from the various animal decks at the start of the game will make each game interesting and unique. This is because each of the animal decks brings a different play style into the game when they are used. For example the Thieving Northern Raccoons deck brings more player interaction into the game while the Adapting Veiled Chameleons deck makes you play your cards as if they are other cards in the game.
If you are a fan of deck builders, are looking for an interesting twist on the deck building genre, or are just curious about the game after reading this article than I encourage you to check out Dale of Merchants on Kickstarter here.