Reviewing board games that shed a tear.

Altiplano - Board Game Review | The Tabletop Crier

Altiplano Alpaca and Board Game Box


a review of the board game Designed by Reiner Stockhausen

2-5 Players, 60-120 minutes


I'm Weeping!

Game Aesthetic

Blue player board game meeple and Altiplano shoreline location board with fish and canoes
Each location has resources and actions available 
that correspond to the player mat.


I would be up for throwing money at this game to get wood chips instead of cardboard for the resources -- I'm being taken back to a special copy of Orleans I saw at a game night once -- but it seems difficult considering the location sizes, box size, and size of the personal crate. Also since we're using wooden cubes, I'm assuming we feed an animal to drag around a wooden crate with no wheels... sounds legit. Though the misshapen locations for funsies is a nice touch.


Pretty typical for a eurogame, the colors are 2D standard, familiar colors. I really enjoy the rustic and Andean rural feel of the way the resources are drawn, with of course the welcome exception of the cartoon alpaca (NOT LLAMA), which has that Dramatic Chipmunk vibe. Note that you are using the alpaca fur in this game to make blankets and since alpaca clothing is much more expensive than cashmere, you'll need to keep that in mind if the life of Altiplano is your Plan B.

The First Turn

Altiplano side boards and buildings with fish and food resource chips
Player has a personal warehouse,
standard player mat,
starting asymmetrical side board,
and ability to purchase additional buildings for more options.

Altiplano warehouse and personal crate with money
There is a distinction between your personal bag (to draw)
and crate (to hold new purchases and used resources)


As far as the game mechanics go, this is part worker placement, part bag builder, and action selection. So, in addition to the standard player board which provides movement, you have a individual starting side board with asymmetrical resources that can run it.There are also opportunities to buy things with cold hard cash but you really shouldn't since you don't have resources for shit that can power anything you're going to buy. Arguably, the unique sideboard is "your jam" and allows you, worst case scenario, a fall back action to avoid analysis paralysis. 

So, hooray, 3 options right off the bat. Since you can start anywhere with your worker, and have 3-4 resource chips in your bag, it translates to 1-2 actions depending on your first turn plans. 

You are restricted in movement and you're attempting to try and maximize on that limited movement but are you maximizing the right things?! YOU DON'T KNOW, AND YOU'RE WEEPING. You cannot possibly do everything, because restriction is based on draw capabilities as well -- of which you have fail amounts of in the beginning.

I was a fish person, so I could make a fish right away but had no idea whether I was using fish to turn into more food to turn into more fish or... waaaaaaaaaa?!

Rewards and Objectives:

Contracts and Warehouse Storage can both thin out the collective supply and your personal resources BUT, if planned well, lead to points at the end of the game. So you can at least reverse engineer that into your first turn since you can poke through the deck to get an idea of what the point expectations are.

Note that since you need at least two levels of resource acquisitions before you can get to more luxury goods that are higher value when trading in for money, and you're only able to do that if you're at the specific location AND if you're lucky -- er, have planned -- enough to have drawn that...

Food is involved in most actions on the standard player mat, but taking the time to generate food restricts the locations where you end up and consequently your future positions unless you spend money on carts (which are pointless without food). 

You get the picture. You feel short on everything at first, and then feel intimidated by the abundance of resources.

This happened to me. I leaned in too much to my fish powers and was like WHAT DO FISH, I CAN HAS POINTS NAO? Oh wait, there's nothing except the warehouse that will take massive amounts of fish. Damn.

Ability to Pivot:

Thinning your bag aggressively is irreversible as you need resources to make resources. GASP, a resource-tight eurogame? WUT.

Not progressing your base resources -- basically your building blocks -- into resources that can be traded for money limits and restricts actions available in order to accelerate. The buildings that come out in the market really provide the flexibility you need to generate points, but again that's quarternary level planning that you can't double back to achieve if you're mid-game.

Just because there is a strong chance you'll end up with an abundance of resources you risk falling into the fallacy of needing to thin, but without thinking clearly you can thin too much and decelerate quickly without ability to recover by the end game trigger. Which brings us to...

Game End

Altiplano end game scoring sheet
End Game Scoring consists of:
values of resources in possession (bag and warehouse),
personal goals,
and warehouse progress.

This is the part that can catch you by surprise if you're not paying attention. Game ends when a location is depleted of its resources (cards, carts aka sad wooden blocks, resource chips).This will happen if you're producing too much of your "jam" or if other people are producing like mad. 

It seems attractive to make that sweet sweet peanut butter and jelly but if you haven't figured out a way to turn this into points, your resource engine was all in vain. You can only murder -- er, store -- so much stuff in your warehouse on your turn. While you are able to claim points on just having things, the ROI is better in the warehouse or in the contracts. Again, assuming you've had the grace and foresight to balance murder from your bag and breathing life into it. 

I, on the other hand, became an Andean fisherwoman with a mostly empty warehouse because I'm an amazing planner.

A Glimpse into What's to Come

tl;dr About Me is the place to start for a feel of what the heck you're in for.


Conversational, with a good chance of run-on sentences, improper grammar, poor use of the American English language, haphazard use of (but not limited to) em dash, semicolons, colons, italics, bold, underline, capitalization, and quite possibly profanities used properly or improperly,  BUT still understandable! Will almost always come with a headliner if you're too lazy to read on any given day.


New (within the past year) and Old (more than a year prior) releases of eurogames/German-style games, with focus on game mechanics rather than theme. 

Rating System

Silent Tears


I'm basing everything off the first turn, and the number of figurative -- or quite possibly literal -- tears shed when making your first decision (but I'll never admit it specifically one way or the other).

Silent Tears: Intimidating. However, actions really only fall within 2-3 options, all of which are rewarded immediately in some fashion that will help you reach a secondary-level objective for your next turn. You have time to pivot throughout the game, if need be.

Weeping: Actions fall within 4-5 options, all of which are rewarded immediately in some fashion that will help you reach a secondary-level objective for your next turn. If you learn something new in your next two turns, victory can still be obtained.

Sobbing: Actions fall within 2-3 options. However, there are clear repercussions at a secondary- or tertiary-level objective in 3+ turns that you can identify. You may have the ability to pivot if you have obtained more information in your next turn (but it's unclear).

Blubbering: Overwhelming. You have a world of options, all of which lead to what is a clear, immediate reward but unclear impact on tertiary or quarternary objectives and/or your second turn. You cannot pivot from here if you missed anything.