At a Glance: Hotel Samoa is an underrated, medium-weight game with a cool theme.
Hotel Samoa is a game for 3-6 players that was published in 2010. In this game, you are the owner of a resort on the island of Samoa, trying to attract the most tourists and as the game description says, “rid them of as much money as possible.” Each round, tourists of a different nationality will arrive on the island, and through a blind bidding process, players set their room rates AND who gets first dibs on building an upgrade to their hotel. Upgrades can be in the form of swimming pools, luxury suites, or extra rooms. The tourists come in different flavors too. Other than the normal ones, some are Rich and pay double, some are Lovers which allows you to put 2 tourists in the same room, some are Celebrities which cause other normal tourists to pay double to stay adjacent to them, and some are Swimmers who pay extra if you have swimming pools at your resort. The player with the most cold hard cash at the end of the game, wins.
Hotel Samoa is fairly obscure, which I think has more to do with the saturation of good games we have today than it is a reflection of how good or bad the game is. I like this one quite a bit. The theme of managing a hotel and seeing the nationalities of tourists arriving is cool, and it really works as a fairly quick, medium to light weight game that offers some interesting decisions. The blind bidding is the main mechanic, and using it to strike the balance between investing in upgrades and hoarding cash is satisfying.
Components are slightly above average, I’d say, made of nice thick cardboard. It looks good, and with the cool theme, offers a totally worthwhile experience.
Check it out: https://amzn.to/2EcPrqT
Blind Bidding – Bidding secretly for something, and usually all bids are revealed simultaneously.