Build the Most Influential Neighborhood in ‘Aldabas: Doors of Cartagena’

GeekDad
12 min readJun 23, 2021

In Cartagena, Columbia, there’s apparently a long tradition of decorating doors with elaborate door knockers, or aldabas, as a symbol of status and influence. Now, the folks at Grand Gamers Guild have take this idea and made it into a fun tableau card laying game.

What Is Aldabas: Doors of Cartagena?

Aldabas: Doors of Catagena is a game for 2–4 players, ages 10 and up, and takes about 30 minutes to play. After a successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year, it’s now available to preorder via Backerkit for $20.

Aldabas was designed by Nathaniel Levan and Joshua J Mills. It’s published by Grand Gamers Guild, with art by Josh Cappel and Juan David Vargas.

Aldabas: Doors of Cartagena Components

Note: My review is based on a prototype copy, so it is subject to change and may not reflect final component quality.

Inside the box, you’ll find:

  • 81 door cards, in three colors and five suits.
  • 48 cardboard coin tokens
  • 1 dock board
  • 4 vault tiles

The prototype I was sent appears to be very close to final quality. The cards are plastic-backed, poker-sized cards and are the primary component of the game.

The deck is divided into three colors: red, blue, and yellow. These colors restrict how the cards can be placed on each player’s block; more on that in the “How to Play” section below. However, in addition to the colors, the cards are also divided into five suits, representing professions in colonial Columbia: soldiers, fishermen, nobles, clergy, and builders. While the deckis evenly divided between the three colors, the professions are uneven: there are 27 fishermen, 18 nobles, 18 soliders, 9 clergy and 9 builders. All suits are evenly distributed…

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