If you search for “Malta!” online, you’re bound to scroll through pages and pages of search results before finding the game we’re going to talk about today. I wan’t to give you all a number, but I gave up after 14 pages of links to travel agencies, municipal services, and government sites (worth noting that these all could also be themes for a new euro style game. I expect great things from The Game Makers Guild.) all related to the country of Malta rather than the game called…
Malta! is a quick to learn and fairly straightforward abstract game for 2 – 6 players. The goal of the game is simple: don’t lose. They make a point of reminding you of your goal all throughout the instructions, so it’s not an objective that is too difficult to forget. That being said, there are two ways in which you can become a loser. If you run out of cards to play on your turn, you lose. If you find yourself in a position on the board where you cannot move, you also lose. Be the last person standing and you can win the game!
Actually playing the game is simple. At the beginning of your turn you’ll check the number of the space your playing piece is on. That’s the number of cards you’ll draw. After that you’ll play half of the cards from your hand. The card effects is where the heart of Malta!’s strategy is found. Without giving away too many of the surprises you can find in the deck, cards allow you to do all sorts of things from moving any player piece around the board in specific fashions to rearranging the board based off of the card’s text. After you’ve played half of your cards, you’ll go ahead and move your player piece one space in a direction that your current space allows (designated by the arrow shapes).
And that’s it! Malta! is a relatively quick game to play and easy to learn! It allows for some Munchkin-esque backstabbing in a more abstract environment. The variable playing board creates a new layout every game, and the large deck allow for a great variety in the types of cards you’ll find available each hand. So if you’re a competitive strategist, or just want to have a good vendetta-inducing time, come down to The Castle and give Malta! a try!