Wednesday, May 31, 2023

If Photography Was A Game, ‘Zoom In Barcelona’ Is What You’d Be Playing

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Zoom in Barcelona is a game of collecting location cards to score points. In the game players travel around Barcelona to take pictures of the best attractions worth points. Players move on the map by riding a bike, catching a taxi, or finding a bus to get to where they want to go. The game is for 2-6 players and the game takes about an hour to play. The game is designed by Nuria Casellas, Eloi Pujadas, and Joaquim Vilalta, and published in the USA by Blue Orange Games

Zoom In Barcelona box art

What’s in the Box?

  • 1 Board
  • 86 Landmark Photo Cards
  • 24 Transport Cards
  • 6 Photographer Pawns
  • 6 Natural Light Trackers
  • 6 City Skyline Tokens
  • 32 Skyline Building Tokens
  • 6 Themes Tokens
  • 6 Camera Boards
  • 6 Zoom Selector Tokens
  • 1 Dragon Token
  • 1 Rulebook

How’s it Play?

Players will be moving around the board in different ways to take pictures and collect pictures of key landmarks in Barcelona, as well as collect a variety of City Skyline tokens that score points in different ways. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins the photography contest.

Each player has a player pawn starting on the location matching the photo on their camera that they begin with. Players take turn in a clockwise direction and on your turn you move and perform one action. When moving, you can either move 2 points on the board or spend a transport card to move your pawn the number of spaces listed on that card. Players start with 3 of these cards and when used, the card is discarded. 

Zoom In Barcelona board on the table

After moving, player can then perform one action. The player can take one photo, visit an information point, or take the metro.  When taking a photo, you need to be on a location of a landmark, on a skyline building, on a a natural light location, or on a dragon in its lair. Players can use their zoom on their camera to take pictures from locations a certain number of spaces away, but when their zoom number is used, they no longer can do this. 

There are 86 landmark cards total, but only 4 or 5 are out at a time to claim. When taking a landmark photo, the player takes the card, which is immediately refilled. There are 8 skyline viewpoints, and when taking a picture at one of these areas, you take the matching token to place in your gallery. Your goal is to collect as many of these tokens as you can. You will be rewarded points at the end of the game when these tokens can be connected together, matching the picture on your camera.

Zoom In Barcelona location cards for photography

When playing the more advanced variant to the game, there is a natural light track which you need to visit in a specific order. When taking a picture at the location shown on the far left, you can move your token to that card. When visiting the next location and taking a picture there, you move to the next, and so on through the track. At the end of the game you score the number of landmarks according to where you are on this track. If you get to the end, you score all 8, but if you only make it to the second one, you can only score 4 cards, even if you took pictures and collected more.

Zoom In Barcelona skyline tiles and objectives

The last place to take a picture is wherever the dragon is currently located. When taking a picture on its current location, you can choose to either take a landmark photo, a skyline building photo, a natural light photo on the track (if you’re playing this variant), or refresh all the landmarks photos. After this, you flip over a new landmark card and the dragon goes to its lair, matching that section on the board. Taking a picture of the dragon essentially lets you do one of the other actions of your choice and lets you fill in the holes you might have. 

There are a couple of other locations on the board that you can visit without taking a picture there. These information points let you replenish your transport cards back up to 3 in your hand. The metro lets you move to another metro in another section on the board. These locations help with movement so the game doesn’t stall.

When a player takes their 8th landmark photo, the game ends immediately. Points are awarded for all their landmarks according to the natural light track. This is 3 points plus 1 point for each different theme present. Skyline tokens are scored according to the sequence you have collected, with 30 points maximum being scored for collecting all 8 tokens. The player with the most points wins the game.

The Verdict

This was a fun game that felt basic but with lots of additional options to keep a player happy by performing meaningful actions. Zoom in Barcelona’s top goal is to take photos in areas matching the active cards placed out. Each of these photos when accomplished is worth 3 points at the end of the game. Players move around the board either moving 2 spots on their turn following the lines, or playing a card from their hand and moving the number of spaces shown on that card. That’s the basic part. 

We can see the design widen as you not only want to take photos in locations of active cards, but also there are skylines buildings placed around the board. There is not enough for every player to get one of each of these, so players need to be selective and know that they score more for having them match the orientation on their skyline token. The more you visit places on the board that match your desired orientation, the more points you score. 

Zoom In Barcelona playing with small kids

Another decision a player makes is to move to locations around the map that help them replace their hand of cards to 3 in total. Players can decide to use their free 2 movements versus using their hand of cards to move, but eventually need to refill their hand of cards to better move around the map.

The dragon adds a powerful move, but you need to be close enough to get to it and choose any action to reward you with your sacrifice. There are metro stations that make it fairly easy to move around the map as well, so you can cross the board using those using just one turn to do so. Then when mastering the basic version you can add additional layers to make the game grow with your needs. Or, if you want to start with a more complex game, you can use the natural light track to make it more interesting regarding how many photos you will be able to actually score. This makes your choices more important and the game more strategic. 

Zoom In Barcelona player area

Overall, we really enjoy this game. I like that it allows me lower the complexity to play with my kids, and I can play the same game with more complexity for an older or more experienced gaming crowd. I especially like the way the movement is done and how the map is organized so that you can easily move around. I hope to see additional versions of this game that allow players to visit more places and maybe even add different mechanics to change the game enough to continue to want to play new versions. 

Zoom In Barcelona zooming in to take a photo

You can pick up Zoom In Barcelona from Barnes & Noble or your FLGS, at an MSRP of $24.99.

Images via Blue Orange Games

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  • Brody Sheard

    Brody is a huge board game fan who loves games both simple and complex and he loves how they tickle the brain like nothing else does. Brody works as a cardiac travel nurse, soon to be nurse practitioner and enjoys being healthy, active, knowledgable, and a fan of many topics.

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