Zoom in Barcelona
In Zoom In Barcelona, players compete in a photo contest to try to take the best snapshots of the city. Everyone travels by walking and taking transit to visit different destinations, capturing breathtaking landmarks, skylines, and… dragons? Yes, dragon sculptures truly adorn Barcelona.
Zoom in Barcelona is a competitive travel inspired game for 2-6 photographers, designed by Núria Casellas, Eloi Pujadas and Joaquim Vilalta. and published by Blue Orange Games. A game lasts about 30 minutes and is best suited for players ages eight and up.
New players can get started quickly with a Starter Kit mode. This makes it great for younger kids or those new to hobby games. This review will cover Starter Kit mode and the Skylines mode, as recommended for the first game.
The object of Zoom in Barcelona is to score the highest number of points to win the photography contest. You score points by:
- Taking photographs of the Judge’s Pick, with bonus points awarded for specific themes
- Taking photographs of different skyline buildings to score players’ hidden skyline objectives
On your turn you’ll carry out the following actions in order:
There are two ways to move. You can walk: move your pawn up to a distance of two points (locations on the map). Or you can discard a transit card to move up to the distance on the card. Note: you cannot finish your move on a location occupied by another player.
2. Perform an Action
After moving you may perform one of the following actions: Take a Photo, Visit an Information Point, or Take the Metro.
Take a Photo
There are three types of photos you can take: Landmarks, Skyline Buildings, and a Dragon’s Lair.
To take a Landmark Photo, you must end your movement on a location point that matches a card in the Judges’ Pick area on the board. Then take that landmark card and replenish the Judges’ Pick. For easy recognition, landmarks have color-coded shapes with numbers.
Take Skyline Photos when you land on one of the eight viewpoints on the board. Take a token depicting that skyline viewpoint for end-game scoring.
Photographing the Dragon’s Lair gives you a major advantage! If you end your movement here, you may: take any Landmark card in the Judges’ Pick area; take any Skyline Photo; or refresh all the Judges’ Pick landmark cards.
Visit an Information Point
Go to an Information Point to replenish your hand of Transport cards from the deck. Discard any number of cards and draw until you have three cards in hand.
Take the Metro
Land on a Metro station during your movement, then hop to any unoccupied Metro station on the board. Using a Metro ends your movement.
The game immediately ends when anyone takes their eighth Landmark card.
Score three points for each Landmark and one additional point for each theme icon that matches the theme tokens placed during setup.
Tally points for each group of connected buildings that relates to your City Skyline token (received during setup). The player with the most points wins!
Additional Game Modes
Gamers looking for more in-depth mechanics can layer on additional mechanics: Skylines (previously mentioned), Zoom, and the Natural Light Track.
Zoom allows players to take photos of distant locations by spending a maximum of three points of Zoom throughout the game. Spend a zoom point for every location point of distance you need for the photo. This can be very useful for snagging a picture at the right time.
The Natural Light Track simulates taking photos during: the Golden Hour (sunrise), High Noon, the Golden Hour (sunset) and Nighttime. To complete the Natural Light Track, players must visit the locations featured in the display.
The track introduces new scoring rules: For each location on the track that players visit, they may score an additional two cards at the end of the game. Anyone that doesn’t snap any pictures on the Natural Light track will score zero landmark cards!
Zoom in Barcelona is a light game that’s quick to learn and teach. It’s family friendly and makes a good entry level game for folks that might be new to strategy games. Turns are brisk and there is very little downtime. The game offers many thematic photography tie-ins like using zoom, lighting, and player boards shaped like cameras.
At higher player counts it gets a little more competitive for the four landmark cards in the display; you’ll sometimes get beat to the shot you want. But at two players you’ll probably never fight over cards.
Our family enjoyed all modes except the Natural Light Track. This mode adds challenge for seasoned gamers, but it just felt like a chore. I didn’t love the fact that if I wasn’t able to visit all four of the locations, I couldn’t score as many cards.
Playing with Skylines allows players to rack up the higher scores if you can group buildings together. But really, Zoom is where its at. It’s a simple thematic tie in that really helps in a pinch.
Zoom In Barcelona would be a cool gift to give someone who loves travel or photography. The theme ties every element together seamlessly. The game system seems ripe for follow up titles with other travel destinations. I’d love to see Zoom Sydney or Zoom Tokyo.
I’m not sure I could recommend Zoom in Barcelona for seasoned gamers. But it can be a stepping stone game for families new to strategy games. After families get a few plays under their belt, they should have no problems leaping to more in-depth games like Ticket to Ride and Trekking the National Parks.
If you’d like to travel around Barcelona right from your tabletop you can pick up a copy of Zoom in Barcelona on Amazon or at your Friendly Local Game Store.
Blue Orange Games provided The Family Gamers with a promotional copy of Zoom in Barcelona for this review.
This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
Zoom in Barcelona
Age Range: 8+
Number of Players: 2-6
Playtime: 30 minutes