The Sultan has decreed that whoever builds him the most amazing palace will be named Grand Vizier.
Sultaniya is a game for 1-4 players. Everyone starts with a different palace base displaying large, gorgeous character art, with an equal gender spread, which is a big plus.
Each palace base also has a few different rooms already placed and different ways listed to get points. Perhaps you get points by planting palm trees in your palace, where someone else scores towers or domes.
But all palaces need good security – so everyone competes to have the most guards.
You also have two secret goals each. These might be having a certain feature aligned on as many floors as you can, or having lots of a certain type of feature on a single floor.
Some tiles have sapphires on them. As well as these symbols being involved in some of the secret goals, whenever you place a tile with sapphires on it, you get to grab that many big plastic sapphires from the sparkling pile of wonders.
Sapphires are the only currency the Djinn Union accepts. You can hire these beings of phenomenal cosmic power for such menial jobs as: revealing new tiles, removing a room and replacing it with another one, building two rooms at once, looking though all possible rooms for a single floor and building one.
The more tiles you add to your palace the harder it is to place new tiles. You see, the art has to match up, adding a puzzle-like element. So Djinn powers are very helpful to deal with this.
Sultaniya plays pretty quickly, decisions each turn are easy to understand but meaningful. And while competitive, it’s not cutthroat – there’s not much direct interaction with the other players, aside from taking tiles they may want. You only score at the end of the game, and scores can be pretty close – our latest game had only 1 point difference.
Each of the tiles is beautiful, and details on the rooms are varied, with nice little touches like parrots, monkeys and fountains – there’s some especially flashy stuff on some of the roof tiles. As you build your palace, it’s just a nice time where you’ve got the fun of tackling your own little puzzle, while enjoying the art and the other players’ company.