Christian Fiore &
Knut Happel


No. of Players:
2 - 4




G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game :

The newest game of Christian Fiore and Knut Happel is the fourth game that has been published by these two authors in the last three years. This is no mean feat for the two young authors, both full-time workers. And again, like in the other games, the authors invented and implemented some very interesting new mechanisms that give the game a unique taste. I hope that we will see many more games from these authors in the next years.

The game itself was one of the few games that attracted the visitors from far away on the SPIEL 07 convention in Essen. Due to a three-dimensional well designed palace in the middle of the board, the game is very appealing right from the beginning. The game material is rich and seems to be of very good quality.


In the game the players try to impress the mysterious Queen of Saba, who is also mentioned in the Bible, by building more and more new parts to her palace. To do this, a player first of all has to provide for supply of building materials. In every round a player may take raw material from one of the four places in the harbour. But he always only has the choice between two of these places that are indicated on the two cards lying before him. Whenever he chooses one of these cards and the corresponding place, he turns the card to the backside that shows a different place in the harbour. So in the next round he has the choice between two other fields. There are exactly four types of raw materials, one for each of the four places in the harbour. An interesting mechanism, especially because the places in the harbour have different space for the materials, beginning with two fields and ending with four fields. Now, whenever a player chooses one of the raw materials, he takes all of this type in the place in the harbour and the all other material that is left in the harbour is pushed to the left to the places with a bigger space. Free places are filled up with the same raw material and the place to the right side (with two fields for raw material) of the harbour is filled with the kind of raw material the active player just took. This is a clever mechanism, because you always have to consider which choices your opponents have (indicated by the cards before them) and on which place raw materials of your need could be on your next turn.


The rest of the game is explained quickly. With the raw materials a player can expand the palace. There are three types of building parts that can be build in the eight fields of the palace's garden. Buying these building parts uses a similar mechanism like choosing the raw materials in the harbour. There are always three cards on special fields on the board showing the available building parts. While on the first field the player has only to pay the normal price, he has to pay an additional fee of one or two gold on the two other fields. After choosing one of the cards, the free field is filled with the cards from the more expensive fields and a new card is placed on the field with the additional fee of two gold. More significant parts of the palace are more expensive but will dispel an opponent and his influence on the queen with a minor part in this area of the garden. Dispelled influence stones are put into the Serail (= the Harem) where they still have a limited influence on the queen.


Whenever a player has built a new part to the palace and has placed an influence stone into a garden area, he may also put another influence into one of six different town districts. These influences in the districts guarantee him either a specific raw material per turn or the ability to trade raw materials.

At the end of a player's turn, he takes a new action card. These action cards may be played during a player's turn and give the player additional raw materials.

There are three scorings in the game that can be chosen by the active player instead of acquiring one of the building cards. Then the player with the most influence stones on the board places an additional influence stone in the treasure chamber of the palace. In the end the player with the most influence stones in the palace wins the game.

Saba is a nice game with some interesting elements that work well even in a two player game. Like many other new games, the design of the board, the cards and especially the palace is impressive and will attract a lot of gamers. The rules are straightforward, but complex enough to guarantee an exciting game play that will last for a lot of games. What I personally like best in the game is the interesting mechanism of getting raw materials. Because influence stones are also limited, players that fall behind will still have a choice to win the game. The rules are easy enough to allow children with the age of 10 to participate in the game. A good family game!

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2008 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany