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El Grande box image

El Grande

El Grande is a strategy board game for 2-5 players set in medieval Spain. Players use cards and worker placement to control regions and score points, with the goal of becoming the most powerful noble in the land.

7.75 / 10
BGG Rating
published year
2 - 5
player count
3 - 5
Recommended player count
60 - 120 mins
play time

How Complex is El Grande?

2.98 / 5

El Grande has a moderate complexity, with simple rules but deep strategy. It may take a few plays to fully grasp the game's mechanics and nuances.

How much Luck is involved in the gameplay of El Grande?

1.5 / 5

Luck plays a minor role in El Grande, as players have control over their actions and can plan ahead. However, card draws and player order can have some impact on the game.

How much Player Interaction does El Grande offer?

4.5 / 5

El Grande has a high level of player interaction, as players compete for control of regions and use action cards to disrupt opponents' plans. The game also features a unique "court" mechanic that allows players to influence each other's actions.

How much Replayability does El Grande offer?

4 / 5

El Grande offers high replayability due to the variety of strategies and the randomization of action cards and scoring cards, ensuring each game is unique and challenging.

Why you should play El Grande

Strategic Depth

El Grande is a game that requires careful planning and strategic thinking. Players must manage their resources and make tactical decisions to outmaneuver their opponents.


With a variety of different action cards and scoring opportunities, no two games of El Grande are ever the same. This means that players can enjoy the game over and over again without it becoming stale.

Historical Theme

Set in medieval Spain, El Grande offers players a chance to immerse themselves in a rich historical setting. The game's components and artwork are all designed to evoke the feeling of a bygone era.

Player Interaction

El Grande is a highly interactive game that encourages players to engage with one another. Players must constantly be aware of their opponents' moves and adjust their strategies accordingly.

Easy to Learn

Despite its strategic depth, El Grande is relatively easy to learn. The game's rules are straightforward and intuitive, making it accessible to players of all skill levels.


El Grande has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Spiel des Jahres in 1996. This recognition is a testament to the game's quality and popularity among players.

Classic Game

El Grande is widely regarded as a classic board game, and has been enjoyed by players for over 25 years. Playing El Grande is a great way to experience a piece of board game history.

Why you should avoid El Grande


While El Grande is relatively easy to learn, it can be quite complex to master. Players who prefer simpler, more straightforward games may find it overwhelming.


El Grande can be a long game, with an average playtime of around 2-3 hours. Players who prefer shorter games may find it too time-consuming.


While the historical theme of El Grande can be a draw for some players, others may find it uninteresting or irrelevant to their gaming preferences.

Player Count

El Grande is designed for 2-5 players, which may not be ideal for larger gaming groups.

Luck-Based Elements

While El Grande is primarily a game of strategy, there are some luck-based elements, such as the order in which action cards are drawn. Players who prefer games with no luck-based elements may not enjoy El Grande as much.

Where to find the Rules of El Grande

You can find the community-driven rules summary, player aid, etc., in the El Grande files section on the BoardGameGeek website. You need an account on BGG to download files.

Beginner Strategies for El Grande

These strategies are for players who have either not played or played one or two games of El Grande.

Understand the scoring system

In El Grande, players score points based on the number of caballeros (meeples) they have in each region at the end of each scoring round. It's important to keep track of the scoring rounds and plan your moves accordingly.

Use your action cards wisely

Each player has a set of action cards that they can use to move caballeros, add or remove caballeros from the board, or score points. It's important to use these cards strategically and not waste them on unnecessary moves.

Focus on controlling key regions

Some regions on the board are more valuable than others, so it's important to focus on controlling these regions. For example, the Castillo (castle) region is worth a lot of points, so it's a good idea to try to control it.

Keep an eye on your opponents

El Grande is a game of strategy and tactics, so it's important to keep an eye on what your opponents are doing. Try to anticipate their moves and block them from scoring points.

Don't be afraid to take risks

Sometimes, taking a calculated risk can pay off in El Grande. For example, if you see an opportunity to take control of a valuable region, don't be afraid to commit more caballeros to that region than your opponents.

Overall, El Grande is a game that rewards careful planning and strategic thinking. By understanding the scoring system, using your action cards wisely, focusing on key regions, watching your opponents, and taking calculated risks, you can increase your chances of winning.

Advanced Strategies for El Grande

Use the power cards to your advantage

In addition to the action cards, El Grande also has power cards that give players special abilities. These cards can be very powerful if used correctly, so it's important to pay attention to them and use them to your advantage.

Think ahead

In El Grande, it's important to think several moves ahead and anticipate how the board will change over time. For example, if you see that a region is likely to become more valuable in the future, it might be worth investing more caballeros in that region now.

Be flexible

While it's important to have a plan in El Grande, it's also important to be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances. If your opponents are blocking your moves or taking control of key regions, you may need to adjust your strategy on the fly.

Use the king to your advantage

The king is a key element of El Grande, as he determines the order in which players take their turns. It's important to use the king to your advantage by positioning your caballeros in regions that will allow you to take advantage of his movement.

Don't neglect the smaller regions

While it's tempting to focus on the larger, more valuable regions in El Grande, it's important not to neglect the smaller regions. These regions can still be valuable, especially if they allow you to block your opponents or gain a foothold in a new area of the board.

Overall, El Grande is a game that rewards careful planning, strategic thinking, and adaptability. By using the power cards to your advantage, thinking ahead, being flexible, using the king to your advantage, and not neglecting the smaller regions, you can increase your chances of winning.


Simultaneous Action Selection
Hand Management
Open Drafting
Area Movement
Area Majority / Influence
Turn Order: Stat-Based
Turn Order: Auction
Turn Order: Progressive
Action Drafting
Selection Order Bid