the games journal - Österreichisches Spiele Museum

the games journal - Österreichisches Spiele Museum
ISSUE 488 - JANUARY 2016
ISSN 0257-361X
Volume 40
Playing a game designed by Stephan Feld
usually means that you have many different
possibilities to score Victory Points (VP) but
that you also need to be ready to change
your strategy according to the actions of
your opponents: AQUASPHERE is no exception. Remember Captain Nemo and his
submarine Nautilus from Jules Verne’s book
“Twenty Thousands Leagues Under the
Sea”? Well, looking at Aquasphere graphics
players are transported back at those times
to reach a laboratory underwater in a unknown Ocean: they are part of a team of scientists that is analyzing a new type of crystal whose utilization will remain … secret.
The box is well filled with good quality
components, but does not have a mounted
board: instead we have to assembly 6 sectors to form a round Research Station.
Each player will receive a personal board
and a base lab. The first is used to initially
stock 16 Robots and 6 mini-submarines.
On this board players will also place the
“programmed” Robots, ready to be used on
the Station to perform actions. A reminder
of “how to get Victory Points (VP)” is printed
on one side of the board.
The second is a small laboratory that should
be expanded with extra sectors. Players will
find those sectors on the main Station during the game: improving this mini-lab will
also improve the players abilities and the
final score.
Another underwater building is called
“Headquarters” and is used to program the
robots and to decide the turn order.
The box also includes: 6 hexagonal “center
tiles”, to be stacked in the middle of the
Station; 30 “lab expansions”, for the players
mini-labs; 41 “research cards” that give ben-
efits to the players who take them; 38 “time
markers” (the “money” of the game); 20
black plastic “crystals” and 15 pink wooden
Before starting the game we have to place
lab expansions, research cards, time markers, crystals and octopods on each of the six
sectors of the station, following the indication of the central tile. Each sector has 8 “operative” zones:
- 6 COLORED ACTION zones where the players will send their Engineers to perform actions
- 1 CENTRAL zone that will be occupied by a
“programmed” robot, and
- 1 LOADING zone where are moved the robots that finish their task.
Once everything is in place the Headquarters must also be prepared: each player
place the first of his two Engineers in the entrance and, using a randomly selected “program card”, the seven zones of the building
are filled with one of the seven programming tiles. Two colored cubes per player are
finally placed on the “0” case of the VP track.
To win the game you have to gain more VP
than your opponents and this task can be
done basically with three different possibilities:
(1) - Gaining VP during a round, killing octopods or using special bonuses from cards
(2) - At the end of each round, for the control of a majority of the sectors, collecting
crystals and having displaced robots on the
Research Station.
(3) - At the end of the game, after 5 rounds:
but we will see it later
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
Each player, on his turn, may execute ONE
action. Then turn passes to the player on his
left and the game proceed in the same way,
one action per turn, until all players pass:
the first to pass will be the “first player” on
the next round, and so on.
There are two kind of actions:
(a) – To program a Robot
(b) – To activate a Robot
(a): To PROGRAM A ROBOT a player has to
move his Programming Engineer on the
Headquarters, starting from the ENTRANCE
Pietro Cremona
Another hit from Stefan Feld and, as usual, a very interactive game with many possible tactics
and moving inside the building along one
of the possible paths: arrows printed on the
basement help to remember which are the
alternative. You cannot back step once you
moved inside one of the seven rooms.
Each room contains a “Programming Tile”:
each tile has a different icon and is used to
program a Robot to do a certain job, The
player who selected a room takes one of
his Robots from the reserve on his personal
board and place it on the related colored
section: for example, if you entered a room
with a disc showing an Octopod you will
place a Robot on the Octopod icon (pink) of
your board (and you will use it later to kill
octopods). Players may have a maximum of
TWO programmed Robots in their board at
any time: if they wish to program more Robots they must first use or eliminate one of
those already programmed.
When their Engineers reach the top three
rooms of the Headquarters the players cannot program more Robots (unless they own
special cards) so they may only “spend” actions on the Research Station or … pass. In
Color codes, target groups, features, icons and GABIS are
explained on page 5 and at the bottom of pages 46 and 47
the latter case the Engineer exit the Headquarters and is placed on the “next turn order” track. The first to exit will be the first to
play on the next round, and so on.
players need to send their Chief Engineer
in one of the 6 colored cases in a Sector of
the Research Station, selecting an action related to one of their programmed Robot: for
example, if you have 2 robots programmed
for killing Octopods and collecting Crystals
you may send your Engineer in a PINK (Octopods) or BLACK (Crystals) sector of your
choice. Then you will perform the action
related to this color:
- Action GREEN: used to expand the personal mini-lab. Place the Engineer in the
green case and a Robot (programmed for
the green action) in the central case of the
Sector eventually pushing an existing robot
in the loading zone. Then take the first expansion tile of the stack and place it on your
- Action YELLOW: used to take new Time
Markers (TM). Place the Engineer in the Yellow case and a programmed Robot in the
Central case. Then take as much TM as your
mini lab allows you.
- Action BLACK: used to acquire new crystals. Engineer in the Black case and a programmed Robot in the center. Then take
the available crystals (you may keep as
many as your mini-lab allows you).
- Action PINK: used to kill Octopods. Engineer on the pink case and a programmed
Robot in the center. Then kill as many Octopods as your mini-lab allows you.
- Action BLUE: used to place new submarines. Engineer in the blue case and a programmed Robot in the center. Then take
your leftmost submarine from your board
and place it on the first available space on
the Sector, paying the requested TM. Finally
mark as many VP as indicated in the Research Station central tile.
- Action RED: used to acquire Research
Cards. Engineer in the red case and a programmed Robot in the center. Then take
the first available research card of the sector and mark as many VP as indicated in the
Sector’s central tile
- Action WHITE: used to program a new Ro-
bot. Engineer in the white case and a programmed Robot in the center. Then take a
new Robot from your personal board and
program it as is printed on the white case of
that sector (a colored icon will tell you which
robot to program). This action is particularly
interesting when you were unable to program the right Robot in the Headquarters
“Unfortunately I cannot give you more information about the kind of researches that we
are doing or the actual results, but I will show
you some interesting details of our job”. The
Director of the Base said.
OK, let’s follow him and let’s have a close
look at the Base’s activities.
Each Scientist (player) has his own mini-lab
(beside his personal board). This laboratory
has the form of an hexagonal room with a
first sector already assembled: the icons
printed on the laboratory (and the ones
that you will add during the game acquiring new extensions) will allow you to store a
certain number of Time Markers (4 at start),
Research Cards (2 at start), Crystals (2 at
start) and you may kill a certain number of
Octopods (2 at start). Each initial sector has
a letter (from A to F) that will be used for the
set-up. During the game you may try to add
up to 5 extra sectors to complete your laboratory: each sector will add extra storage
possibilities and/or extra letters. Particularly
important are, in the first round, the sectors
that add extra TM because they will give
you more flexibility during the action phase.
While we are following the Director we are
informed that it will take time to pass from
one sector to another one, as all doors are
hermetically closed and you need a code
number to open them.
In game terms this means that you have to
pay a certain number of TM to move from
one sector to another: four of the doors cost
1 TM to open, while one of them cost nothing and the sixth cost 2 TM. Therefore you
have to carefully plan your moves in order
WIN The Games Journal now also available as eBook!
For all information on that check our website.
40 Years for WIN
Dagmar de Cassan, Editor -in-Chief
According to the register at the Austrian National Library, the first issue of WIN was published on 1. May 1976 – so 2016 is our 40th
volume and we should celebrate this with
even more good games!
Essen seems to have been only yesterday,
presenting 1338 new games, and Nuremberg
is approaching fast and I am sure that we will
see more than 500 new games there.
In consequence, a lot of good games will disappear from the shops without having been
properly noticed.
In this we still find our work laid out. In 1976
it was difficult to get information on new
games at all, and 2016 there is too much information on too many games, which makes
it difficult to find the jewels among them.
This is where we see ourselves – in our reports
on Games Fairs we report on all new games
and then, in our reviews, we recommend
those games which we like, the games that
should be in your collection and should be
played at your table regularly.
In our data base LUDORIUM you can find all
those games.
Come and take a look, and find out about all
those games that you are still missing out on,
Do you like our WIN? Until we have caught
up on our backlog, we do not take new
subscriptions, you can read all the issues free
of charge, see
Our games compendium, GAME BY GAME
2016 is available as a PDF, too, see þ
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
to have the right number of TM to move
and to eventually perform actions. This is
one of the reasons for which I suggested
to try to get early a sector that allows for
extra TM to your lab. Another reason for doing so is the possibility to convert 3 TM into
ONE programmed robot of your choice per
round: this action is particularly strong in
the MIDDLE GAME, when you desperately
need a specific action but you cannot program a robot on the Headquarters.
Scientists alternate their turns using the
Programming Engineer in the Headquarters to program new robots and moving
the Chief Engineer in the Research Base to
perform actions. This “linear” and simple
concept was too ... easy for Stefan Feld and
therefore he introduced a few extra rules
that add interaction to the game and a further brain effort to the players.
When a Chief Engineer moves to a new
sector he has to select a color for which
he already has a programmed robot: then
he moves this robot on the center case of
the sector. If this center is empty the robot
stands here, but if another robot already
occupy the center it must be displaced,
even if it is of the same color of the new one
(this happens if you perform, for example,
a second action in the same sector). The
displaced robots are moved in the Loading Corridor and when the latter is full they
must go back to the players boards (all but
one per color). Unfortunately this will reduce the VP that the players will receive at
the end of the round because only empty
robot places in their personal board grant
VP and only if ALSO the submarines spaces
under the robots are empty. Therefore don’t
forget to move 2-3 submarines to the Station before placing robot Nr. 5 and the following ones .
Now I am sure that you start to be a little
confused and in effect all beginners have
the same question: which are the “best”
robots to program at the beginning of the
game? If the position of the discs in the
Headquarters is favorable the best combination (in my opinion) should be: go for the
Extra Expansion with TM, then use the extra
TM that you were able to store to program a
robot of your choice on each round and try
to place Submarines 2 and 3 in the first and
second round,.
Being a Oceanic Research Center it is obvious that we notice a lot of movements and
items underwater through the glasses of
the Base. Particularly interesting are those
BLACK CRYSTALS: we are not allowed to
know which will be their final use but we
may consider their effects on the game. In
the Headquarter board we have a circular
VP track, with RED LINES every 15 cases.
When we get some VP we advance one of
our colored cubes on this track but we are
allowed to pass a red line only if we pay a
black crystal, otherwise all extra VP are lost.
Therefore we need at least ONE crystal per
round to be able to proceed without problems. The second reason to collect Crystals
is that at the end of each round they grant
some VP to their owners: 1 VP with 1 Crystal,
3 VP with 2, 6 VP with 3, and so on.
We also see a number of OCTOPODS that
have a very kind aspect and a promising
pink color ... but are in effect another “handicap” created by Mr. Feld for our entertainment. In effect at the end of each round if
there are Octopods in a sector where the
central position is occupied by one of your
robots you lose VP: 1 VP with 1 Octopod, 3
VP if the octopods are 2, etc. So it may be a
good idea to try to eliminate those damned
octopods during the round, sending your
Chief Engineer in a section containing 2-3
octopods and kill as many of them as you
have icons in your laboratory (the initial 2
and the ones that you eventually got with
extra sections). Killing octopods will also
give you some VP: 1 VP if you kill just one of
them, 3 VP for killing two, etc.
During the game you have also the opportunity to acquire a certain number of
RESEARCH CARDS: you may store as many
cards as you have icons in your laboratory
and none of the cards may be discarded,
even if it is exhausted, so you have to pay
high attention to your selection. Each card
offers an advantage to his owner: some may
be used any number of times; others may be
activated only once (you decide when); others must be activated immediately; some
are activated only at the end of each round.
The advantages are various but you have to
select a card if it will be useful for your strategy. For example, if you decide to go for the
octopods it may be useful a card that gives
you 2 TM each time that you kill at least one
of them; if you prefer to play on submarines
you may select a card that allow you to pay
half the price for each of them; if your intention is to place as many robots as you can
you may take a card that will allow you to
place a Robot during the end turn phase,
paying just 1 TM; and so on.
Beware: at the end of each round all the
TM are eliminated (those on the board and
the ones owned by the players, if any). So
remember to use all your TM during each
round, if possible! It seems a stupid recommendation, but very often players remain
with an “odd” number of TM that are not
enough to make any action, so they are
lost ! Hopefully before the start of the following turn you will receive as many TM as
you have submarines on the Research Base
(and this is another good reason for placing
At the end of each round players receive: 6
VP to the player with most robots in central
cases of the Base (3 VP for ties); “x” VP for
the number of Robots placed on the board
(provided that the related submarines are
also on the board); “x” VP for owned crystals.
Finally players subtract the eventual penalties of the Octopods and the final result is
the number of cases that you may advance
on the VP track. Remember: if you need to
cross a red line you must pay a crystal.
At the end of the 5th round players make
the usual calculations and then we have a
final VP check where you are rewarded for
your performance in the Research Base:
- You get 1-2-6-10-15-21 VP if you have 1-23-4-5-6 different letters in your laboratory.
Please note that some of the sectors have
TWO letters and therefore it is possible to
get all 6 letters without having completed
the laboratory.
- But if you completed the laboratory you
will get 5 VP extra
- And if ALL your submarines are in the Research Base you also get 5 VP extra
- Then each TM that you still own at the
game’s end will give you 1 VP extra
Of course the player with most VP is the
It took to me and my friends three complete
sessions of gaming to understand how to
play well AQUASPHERE. Please note that
rules are easy to understand and the rulebook is very well organized: after the first
game we only needed copies of the Research Card appendix in order to remember
the effect of each card, but we never had
the necessity to go back to the rules for
clarifications. The problem was ... what to do
? and which strategy is the best ?
Looking at your labs may help you: all of
them have a different letter and this means
that players start each with a different programmed robot (for free): this may help
you for the first turns, but I suggest that you
carefully look at the Headquarters board. At
the beginning of each turn (including the
set-up) a special card is turned up and the
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
Color codes, target groups, features, icons and GABIS are
explained on page 5 and at the bottom of pages 46 and 47
Each game review also features an evaluation which can
help you to find the game that best suits your tastes. The
color accompanying each game title represents the USER
Group. The headline also contains icons for age and number
of players.
The BAR in the evaluation box displays color codes for up to
10 features of a game.
We have defined 4 target groups (color accompanying the
head line)
Games for children an educational games. Adults can play
in a guiding function.
Children and parents play together, all have the same
chance to win and have fun.
Young people and adults play together as equals
Games with special demands on rules and playing time.
Especially for game geeks
do not go for AQUASPHERE as you need to
play it at least 4-5 times to understand and
appreciate it and to play competitively. þ
Pietro Cremona
Designer: Stefan Feld
Artist: Dennis Lohausen
Price: ca. 35 Euro
Publisher: Hall Games / Pegasus 14
Development game
Users: For experts
Version: multi
Rules: de en fr jp pl
In-game text: no
Easily-understood and well-structured rules
* Some introductory games necessary * Lots
of interaction, so plan an alternate strategy
Compares to:
Complex worker placement games
Other editions:
Asterion Press, Arclight, Matagot, Fullcap Games,
others are announced.
WIN The Games Journal now also available as eBook!
For all information on that check our website.
My rating:
DISCS are placed as indicated by the card.
So take a few minutes to think about the
best “path” that you may follow inside this
board. You always have the opportunity
to get THREE programmed robots but you
need to decide where to move first: if you
select the left path you cannot move on the
right side of the board later and vice-versa.
So you need to program your moves in the
round looking at the discs that you will be
able to reach.
You all know the “Murphy’s Law”, don’t you ?
Well you may be certain that you will never
get the perfect path that you needed !!!
But again I wish to remind you that if you
have enough TM you may purchase a programmed robots per turn so remember
this opportunity when you decide how to
Hopefully after the first 2-3 games you finally have a good perception of the game’s
flow and you may start to make your own
strategy but, as it happens on all Feld’s
games, you must remain flexible because
interactions between players is very high
and someone else may do “that” move
before you. So you always need a second
choice plan !.
We appreciated very much AQUASPHERE,
but obviously this is a game for expert
players and for people that really wish to
deeply explore every game. Unfortunately
nowadays many good games are published every year and sometimes the players try them only 1-2 times before passing
to a new title and very often good games
are left aside only because they are not so
“immediate”. If you are one of those gamers
Please note for the user groups Children, Family and
Friends: Children who love to play can be ahead of their
peers! Please note that our target group “families” does not
imply the classical concept of „family games“! Furthermore,
our user groups can overlap. The choice of suitable games
always depends on your playing partners and your fun
with games!
Games that are especially eligible for Solo play or for 2 players or Large groups of players are marked with an icon.
Each game targets preferences for different features in a
player, therefore each game is not suitable for each player.
We have listed 10 features players note when deciding
on a game. Only if a player finds his preferred features in
a game he will enjoy the game. The color code marks the
dominant features. Educational games train the highlighted
Empty boxes: This feature is neclectable or not present
One colored box: This feature is present, but not essential
Two colored boxes: This feature is present and important
in the game
Three colored boxes: This feature is dominant and essential
The game is influenced by dice, cards or any other form of
random generator
Take decision, short-term planning, planning based on
one move
Think ahead, long-term planning, planning for several
The player has to provide words, phrases, images and other
creative efforts
Cultural and educational knowledge, long-term memory
Remember, learn by heart, short-time memory
Talk to each other, negotiate, inform
Influencing each other, bluffing, auction
Motor skills
Body movement, balance and reaction
Version: The edition of the game on which the review is
Rules: This lists the languages in which rules are available or
are included in the game, often even more translations can
be found on the web.
In-game text: A YES marks a game with languagedependent components that cannot be played without
translation or knowledge of the language
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
Sounds like the title of a C-class horror
movie, but at second glance turns out to
be a new release from the Belgium publisher Pearl Games, which was released on
occasion of Spiel at Essen 2015 in several
languages. Contrary to its renowned predecessors, for instance Deus, Bruxelles 1893,
Color codes, target groups, features, icons and GABIS are
explained on page 5 and at the bottom of pages 46 and 47
Gert Stöckl
A well-working fun card game for friends and families with
playing experience, with a reasonable time to play and a
fresh, albeit unusual, topic.
the purpose of the Bloddy Inn is not only
to be a good host by housing and feeding
your guests, but rather to assassinate one or
the other of guests and then bury him properly and cash in on the money he carried on
his person.
Usually 2 to 4 players – there is also a solo
version available – are assigned one room
each in the inn with a key in the corresponding color and begin the game with a
10 Franc cheque. At the start of the game
each player only holds 2 Peasant cards in
hand. The remaining rooms are – depending on the number of players- equipped
with neutral keys.
Scheme of a round:
The starting player assigns one and only
one guest to each room, represented by a
card. Those guests come, besides a level of
0 to 3, with a certain sum of money, which
is related to the guest level and is the main
object of the game. Forthermore, nearly all
guest cards command a so-called special
talent and an “annex”, which is a certain advantageous effect, which is triggered if you
lay out the card in the course of the game.
Now each player has exactly one of 5 action options, followed by a second action
for each player and the round is done. The
game itself ends, when the stack of cards
has been dealt with twice.
The first action option is „to bribe a guest“
in order to take him up in your hand. For
this action you pay a number of cards from
your hand, corresponding to the level of the
guest (0 to 3). If you make the payment with
peasants, these are always placed into the
bistro of the inn – this goes for all peasants
that are used in any of the actions that are
described later, too. All other guests used
for payment are placed on the Exit Stack
(discard pile). But should you have used a
guest for payment that shows the special
talent of “Bribery”, which is a bundle of money, you need only to show him and can then
take him back in hand. Instead of a guest
you can also bribe one or two guests from
the bistro, if available.
The second action option deals with the
„annex“ of a guest card by addingthe card
from your hand into your own display with
the purpose of using this Annex“ for the remainder of the game. All such Annex functions either give you money, facilitate standard action by allowing you to pay one card
less or have various other advantages. Furthermore, those “annexes” allow you to bury
the assassinated guests, numbers relate to
the level of the Annex. You need to dispose
of the bodies somewhere, after all, preferably underneath one of your own annexes,
because that earns you the full amount of
money stated on the card. In analogy to
the bribery action you take back in hand all
cards that were used for payment showing
the “annex” talent.
This takes as to the two most important action options in the game, which only yield
the intended result when used in combination:„Assassinate a guest“ and„bury a body“.
Both actions need to be well planned and
well prepared, as it costs up to six cards ins
hand to implement those action options
with a guest of Level 3. You assassinate a
guest by choosing a guest card in the inn
(not one from your hand= and, once again,
pay for him with cards from your hand according to the level of the chosen guest
card. Should you use a Force of Law, that
is, a police card showing a talent symbol of
a weapon you take this card back in hand.
The assassinated guest is laid out showing
the “dead” side of the card. Burying a corpse
is again done by discarding of cards from
your hand. Here it is important where you
bury the corpse, as the using of an opposing annex results in the spliitting of the sum
of money stated on the corpse between the
players involved.
Finally, there is the action option of „pass“,
which, contrary to its name, provides a very
important effect, which is „laundering of
money“, that is, swapping cash stated on
the money track on the board for cheques
or vice versa, done in increments of 10. It is
important to know in this context that your
marker on the money track, representing
part of your wealth besides those 10 Franc
cheques, cannot surpass 50 Francs. So
you need to use the option of “pass” early
enough to make sure that you can always
mark your earnings on the track. If a lot of
money should be forfeited in that way it
hurts a lot, as usually a lot of money has cost
you lots of cards from your hand.
When each player has implepented his two
action the round ends with three end-ofround steps. It is important to already pay
attention during the two action rounds if
a Police Force is present in a room. If at the
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end of the round at least one of those Policemen be present in the inn, each unburied corpse goes out of play and, even worse,
you need to pay 10 Francs per corpse, either
with a cheque or with cash from the track.
And I can make a nearly failsave prophecy:
If that happens to a player several times he
has very probably forfeited his chance to
win the game. Therefore take my advice and
don’t kill too many guests without properly
burying them instantly afterwards.
Besides the end-of-round step of „departure, in which all remaining living guests are
placed on the exit stack, which earns you a
Franc for each of your own rooms, there is
the end-of-round step „pay wages“, in which
each card in hand must be paid for with a
Franc. If you cannot pay those wages, your
dearly paid-for accomplices will run off
Summary: Straightforward rules, there is an
option to vary the duration from 45 tp 75
minutes with the number of cards used, a
new topic, a good-sized box which can easily be taken along – so what more can you
want to meet your desire than A Bloody
Inn? þ
Gert Stöckl
Designer: Nicolas Robert
Artist: L. Francisco, W. Santiago
Price: ca. 23 Euro
Publisher: Pearl Games 2015
Card game
Users: With friends
Version: de
Rules: de en es fr pl
In-game text: yes
New topic * Simple rules * Playing time to
be selected
Compares to:
San Juan, Brügge and all other card games
featiromg cards with multiple card functions.
Other editions:
In English, French and Spanish by Pearl Games, Polish by
My rating:
Tournay or Troyes, the Bloody Inn is not
slotted into the Frequent Player segment of
games, but is absolutely suitable for casual
gamers. The age notation of 14+ is probably
due more to the topic than to the mechanics of the game, as the game can be played
easily within an hour, even with the full
domplement of four players.
As you can tell from the name of the game,
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
Those readers among you that are a bit advanced in years might still remember – at
least in Germany and Austria – the hit by
Heintje played up and down in the radio,
to the chagrin of some, to the joy of others.
Unfortunately, the melody has imprinted
itself indelibly in my memory. I wish I could
remember much more important things
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
that easily, too – but this is not the topic
Who would not love to own a castle, if we
disregard the costs of up-keeping for the
moment? Well, in this game by Ted Alspach
we can immerse ourselves into that feeling
easily. Obviously, the designer was inspired
by the castles of Bavarian King Ludwig II.,
one of the most dazzling and enigmatic personalities of his time. His extravagant and
luxurious urge for building has given us, after all, „Lindenhof“, „HerrenchiemseeW“ and
last but not least „Schloss Neuschwanstein“,
building monuments of incredible beauty,
albeit having forced the national finances of
Bavaria into near bankruptcy with the total
building costs of more than 300 millions.
In the end this was the reason for his incapacitation based on an alleged madness.
But if you take a look at today’s number of
visitors of those monuments and the entry
fees they pay, maybe the money wasn’t that
ill-spent after all? It took an American publisher to pick up this topic.
Color codes, target groups, features, icons and GABIS are
explained on page 5 and at the bottom of pages 46 and 47
Rudolf Ammer
The title-providing topic has been implemented with
great flair and offers high replay values with its many and
variable options.
founded in 2006 in California by Ted Alspach, the designer of this game. He has
also published games like Age of Steam,
Ultimate Werewolf, Kniffel the Card Game,
Mutant Meeple and Suburbia as well as expansions for Suburbia. He is also the author
of more than 30 books.
But now to the game itself: 75 rooms and
gardens in ten different sizes need to be developed by 1-4 players and built by them in
their guise as builders. The starting point for
each castle is an entry hall. There are also six
stair wells and nine corridors. At the same
time we also need to take into consideration four out of 24 demands of the King.
With the help of bonus cards – there are 28
different such cards in the game – you can
acquire additional points in order to leave
the table as the victorious builder.
For the game set-up the various rooms are
sorted by size and deposited on the two
room game boards. A so-called score tower
records the victory points of participating players. There are two types of bonus
cards. With one type of cards certain types
of rooms are preferred and you are awarded
points for them in relation to their numbers.
The other type of cards concentrates mainly
on the size of rooms. At the start of the game
you receive three bonus cards out of which
you choose two and can then use them. At
the same time four Demands of the King are
selected randomly out of the total of 24 demands. Those demands award points at the
end of the game or provide room sizes, exits
from the castle or money. You see that you
have already take quite a few things into
account for the course of the game even
before the game has started. 15.000 Mark
are your starting capital for the game. Now
seven different rooms are set out, the corresponding room cards are sorted and the
rooms are assigned to a price list, ranging
from 1000 to 15.000. This completes the setup of the game.
The Starting player is given the master
builder marker. This gives him the privilege
to re-arrange the rooms on display so that
there will be new prices for acquiring those
rooms. Now players in turn, beginning to his
left, decide on one of those rooms and pay
the price to the master builder! If nothing
suitable is available or if you think the price
is too high, because he have already depleted your finances, you may pass. This passing
is rewarded with 5000 Mark from the bank.
As the last player of the round the master
builder has the right to buy. He must pay the
price for his chosen building to the bank or
he can decide to pass, too. Rooms that have
not been bought are assigned 1000 Mark as
additional allure. Using the room cards you
determine which rooms are used to fill the
empty spots in the display and the master
builder marker is passed to the next player
in clock-wise direction.
What happens to the rooms that have been
acquired? They must be added by each
buyer to his personal castle instantly. At
least one door must correspond to a room
already in the display. You must also take
card that the castle has at least one exit.
Basement rooms that you acquire may only
be connect to the ground floor of the castle
only by stair wells. If you cannot adhere to all
of those rules when placing a room you are
not allowed to acquire this room.
As soon as a room has been placed you
are awarded victory points. The number of
points is marked on the room cards in the
top left-hand corner. Furthermore, there are
symbols in the middle of each card that influence the adjacent rooms. There are drawing rooms, bedrooms and dining rooms as
well as gardens, hobby rooms, utility rooms
and basement rooms, and of course also
connecting elements like corridors and
star wells. Understandably, it is not desirable that, for instance, bedrooms are placed
next to hobby rooms or dining rooms and
such placements are penalized with less of
Rooms are considered to be completed
when all doors of a room are connected
according to the rules to other rooms. This
brings additional privileges. Those privileges are: A double scoring in case of a drawing room, 5 extra points for a hobby room,
another turn for a dining room, 10.000 Mark
in case of a garden and an additional bonus
card for a utility room. So, paying attention
to placement can be useful.
The end of the game has been reached
when the stack of room cards has been
emptied. Now the Demands of the Kings
and bonus cards owned by players are
evaluated. An additional point is earned for
each 10.000 Mark you own. In case of – a
rather improbable – tie the size of the castle
you constructed will decide the tie. For this
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purpose, each card carries a number for the
room area in the top right-hand corner.
For summary cards are included in the game
to assist you with the game flow. The components are of excellent quality and nicely
designed. For this my praise goes to the artist Keith Curtis. The rulebook of six pages
is also straightforward, well structured and
leaves no questions. Dale Yu as the editor
is a renowned professional who put his
mark of excellency on the job. Dale Yu was
involved in creating Dominion, the solo version of Agricola and also the Fir Tree Deck.
His experience was obviously well-used and
valuable for the design of this game.
Due to the bonus cards and the demands
of the king that vary in each game no game
is similar to the previous one. The many options for scoring points also introduce lots
of variation and provide the game with a
high replay value and diversity. The solo version offers the opportunity to compete with
a score of 50 (Jester) to 101 (King of Castle
Builders). An absolutely coherent topic has
been implemented in an optimum way, the
game must be recommended to all fans of
tile placement games. þ
Rudolf Ammer
Designer: Ted Alspach
Artist: Keith Curtis
Price: ca. 36 Euro
Publisher: Bezier Games 2014
Tile placement game
Users: With friends
Version: de
Rules: de en
In-game text: no
Excellent components * Equally excellent
rulebook * Many ways to score * Lots of
variety due to varying component selection
Compares to:
Versailles and other tile-placing building
Other editions:
Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Bezier Games
My rating:
It is interesting, by the way, that in the title
of the American edition King Ludwig is
called “Mad” or crazy, while this qualifying
addition has been left out in the German
title, probably out of consideration for the
German market.
The company Bézier Games has been
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
Andreas Pelikan and Alexander Pfister have
won the award „Kennerspiel des Jahres
2015“ for their game „Broom Service“. As
Pfister has been very successful, too, with
his game Port Royal and Pelikan was equally
successful with Gulli Piratten, I was, understandably, rather curious about their new
Game “Isle of Skye”.
I had the opportunity to test an early version of the game’s prototype at Spiele
Kreis Wien and at that point I did like the
prototype very much. But let me say now,
the prototype I played then was very good
already, but the finished games is much
much better!
Isle of Skye – From Chieftain to King is a tile
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
placement game for 2-5 players. The game
box cover shows a guy in a kilt playing bagpipes. When you open the box you find this
content: 16 Scoring tiles, 73 Landscape tiles,
5 Castle tiles, 6 Screens (only five of them
are needed, on is meant for replacement
purposes), 6 Discard markers (again one is
intended for replacement), 1 Round marker,
1 Starting Player tile, 1 Cloth Bag and coins
of different values.
Aim of the game is, as in many more games,
to acquire most victory points.
The board is laid out – it is a double-sided
one, one side is intended for 2-4 players,
the other side for a game with 5 players. In
a game of 2-4 players, six rounds are played,
in a game with 5 players only five rounds
are played.
The board shows four cases, marked A, B, C
and D, for scoring tiles. In each game only
four tiles are used; you shuffle all scoring
tiles and place four randomly chosen ones
on the cases on the board. The remaining
12 scoring tiles are returned to the box and
are only used in the next game.
The landscape tiles show mountains, meadows and water as well as animals, buildings,
barrels of whiskey and other things.
Those 16 scoring tiles show completely different scorings and values and yield victory
points for all types of landscapes and animals, buildings and other items, all of them
depicted on the landscape tiles. On those
landscape tiles you can find, among other
things, barrels of whiskey, cows, sheep,
farms, light houses as well as sailing ships.
As only four of those 16 scoring tiles are
used in a game you have different options
for victory points in each game. And in each
round of a game only certain scoring tiles
Color codes, target groups, features, icons and GABIS are
explained on page 5 and at the bottom of pages 46 and 47
Maria Schranz
The game fascinates due to its relatively simple mechanisms and an extremely high replay value. An excellent
sen color. Each player also receives one Discard Marker and coins of value 5.
All players set up their screen and place
their money and their discard marker behind this screen.
The castle tile is placed openly at some
distance from the screen. You should leave
enough space to add landscape tiles to the
castle in the course of the game. All landscape tiles are placed into the cloth bag.
This nearly completes the preparations, you
only need to determine a starting player
and hand him the starting player tile.
The Starting player draws three landscape
tiles from the bag and places them openfaced and exactly in front of his screen in
a way that all players can clearly see those
landscape tiles. Then all other players also
draw three landscape tiles and place them
in front of their screen. Then each player
assigns - behind the screen – his Discard
marker to one of the tiles and a minimum of
1 coin to each of the other two tiles. As the
screen is still placed between tiles and money or discard marker, respectively, the other
players cannot discern the price for the tiles
or which of the tiles cannot be bought.
When all players have finished this assigning, all players simultaneously remove
their screens and thus reveal which of their
tiles goes back into the cloth bag and the
amount of money each of the remaining
tiles will cost. All players now place the tile
next to the discard marker back into the
Beginning with the starting player, each
player in turn can buy a landscape tile from
one of the other players. When a player has
decided to buy a landscape tile, he pays the
amount of money that the player who still
owns the tile has assigned to the tile and
then takes the tile and sets it aside. The previous owner now picks up the amount of
coins he had assigned to the tile.
Instead of buying a landscape tile you can
pass on buying.
In each round you only have one opportunity to buy a landscape tile.
When each player has bought a landscape
tile or has passed, there are still landscape
tiles left with some or all players together
with coins assigned to them.
Those landscape tiles must now be bought
by the respective players themselves by returning the coins assigned to them to general stock.
Thus a player can acquire between 0 and 3
landscape tiles in a round.
Now all players add all landscape tiles that
they acquired to their castle tile. The usual
placement rules apply: Mountain next to
mountain, meadow next to meadow, water
next to water. Paths are the only landscape
element that need not be continued. Thus
you can add a meadow without path to a
meadow with path.
When all players have placed their landscape tiles, a scoring is implemented. In the
first round only the scoring tile on case A is
used to calculate victory points. In the second round you use the scoring tile on case
B, n round three you calculate points based
on the tiles in cases A and C. In the following
rounds, too, only certain scoring tiles can be
used to calculate victory points.
At the start of a new round each player receives five money units for his income; each
player who placed landscape tiles with barrels of whiskey that are connected by a path
to his castle, receives one additional money
unit for each barrel symbol.
Beginning with round three each player
receives additional income for each player
who has more victory points. This begins
with 1 money unit per player in Round 3
and is raised by one money unit per player
for each additional round. Therefore the
player with fewest victory points usually
owns most money in a round, whereby he
can make the landscape he offers for sale
very expensive or commands lots of money
for shopping.
A few of the landscape tiles depict scrolls
which, at the end of the game, also yield
victory points for the symbols shown in the
scrolls. When a scroll is present in a completed area (meadow, mountain or lake),
this scroll is scored twice; when the area is
not complete, the scroll is only scored once.
Furthermore, each player scores one VP per
5 money units at the end of the game.
The captivates players by relatively simple
mechanics and game flow. All the same, it
offers a lot of strategic and tactical potential
and also an extremely high replay value, as
the next game can be totally different from
the previous one and surely will do so as
other scoring tiles are in play.
Due to the simple rules the game is an excellent family game which all the same can
be recommended unconditionally to all experienced and frequent players, as it offers
lots of playing appeal and needs quite some
tactical cleverness in order to win the game.
The high number of 16 scoring tiles out
which only 4 are used for an individual
game results in importance for different
tiles in each game, which in turn results in
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completely different game play for each
game and also in completely different purchase prices for the same landscape tile in
different games.
The element of chance is naturally high
due to the landscape tiles being randomly
drawn, and yet the tactical and strategic
considerations are more important for the
game play.
In our games it happened very often that
we played another game immediately after
the first one. The time for a game, usually
between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on
the number of players, entices experienced
players again and again to play another
game instantly, due to the quality of the
The art by Klemens Franz is excellent and,
as is the case with games illustrated by him,
many elements are self-explanatory due to
his graphics.
My summary: Isle of Sky can only be rated
as an exceptional and excellent game, and
I can only say “Alex and Andreas have delivered a worthy follow-up to their successful
Broom Service and this follow-up is, in my
opinion, even better than their Kennerspiel
des Jahres 2015.” þ
Maria Schranz
Designer: A. Pelikan, A. Pfister
Artist: Klemens Franz
Publisher: Lookout Spiele 2015
Tile placement
Users: For families
Version: de
Rules: de en
In-game text: no
Excellent graphic design * Simple, easily
understood rules * A good game for families
as well as for seasoned gamers
Compares to:
Carcassonne as regards to tile placement
Other editions:
English edition from Mayfair Games
My rating:
are scored to that it is nearly impossible that
the same combination of scoring will appear again in another game.
The Round marker is placed on case one of
the round track. Each player takes a screen,
a castle tile and a playing piece in his cho-
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
Since several years games by Martin
Wallace are favorite games among our
friends and are put on the table again and
again. Just to name few exemplary titles
– Railroad Tycoon The Board Game, Brass,
or London – when those games are out on
the table on our evenings in Spiele Kreis
Wien there are definitely enough people
who instantly want to play.
The more recently published games from
Treefrog Games were unfortunately of very,
very fluctuating quality: Take „A Few Acres
of Snow“, for instance, a wonderful deck
building game in historical setting was very
often played with pleasure at the beginning – despite being a bit drawn-out – but
since an unfailing strategy for winning the
game became known, the interest in the
game has deflated rapidly. Unfortunately,
Martin has not published more games with
a historical background.
Then – 2013 in Essen – „A Study in Emerald“
was published and I very well remember
the answer of the designer to my question
on what the topic of this game is about? He
told me, that he could not really tell me, I
should simply try it out. An unusual answer,
but I was curious enough to by several
copies of the game – for friends, too – and
then it took me more than 6 months to
tackle the game. What can I tell you? After
a few months we finally had – more or less
– mastered the rules and up to today we
play the game regularly, there is no other
game that I have played more often in my
life (maybe even more often than “Mensch
ärgere Dich nicht” in my childhood). But
more on that later.
In 2014 I acquired „Mythotopia“ and
„Onward to Venus“, Mythotopia because it
picked up the game mechanics of “Snow”
and Onward to Venus because of its breathtakingly beautiful design.
In this review I only talk about the last three
games I just mentioned: All are so-called
deck building games – albeit, Venus, if you
take a very close look, is not such a game,
as the cards are discarded after using them
and are not taken up in hand again.
„Onward to Venus“ is based on „Dr. Grordbort“ by Greg Broadmore and is set in the
late 19th century and using the supposition that mankind has already mastered
space travel and has settled the solar
system. For initiated games: A Steam Punk
Up to five players fight for control over the
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
planets and moons in our Solar System –
the nations of England, France, Germany,
Russia and the United States of America. At
the start of the game you lay out planets
and moons instead of a game board –
round discs in a specified arrangement.
Then you randomly distribute tiles on
those discs. Those tiles show symbols for
buildings (mines and factories), bonuses
(„Big Game“ = Victory Points, „Windfall“ =
Money, and „draw 2 cards), or events (crises
and tension). Each player receives a colored
military set of cardboard markers: Space
Ships, infantry and Tanks as well as four
starting cards. At the start you can draw
two more cards from a face-down draw
pile of more than 100 cards. Those cards are
“one use only”, you can have a maximum
of 9 cards in hand, which usually yield
“Combat Points”, but also other advantages,
for instance additional movement. Finally,
there are money tiles to buy units; factories
and mines yield income, but money does
not yield victory points.
The graphics of the cards in Steam Punk
design are a feast for your eyes, as is the
design of rules and tiles. But what would a
space game be without Aliens? Don’t worry, Alien tiles will enter the game in certain
Onward to Mars
„Onward to Venus“ is played in three
rounds; one round ends when the last dice
is taken off the so-called pass card.
Possible actions are: 1) Movement (all units
of all players start on Earth); 2) claim a tile
on a moon or planet; 3) acquisition of 1-2
military units; 4) Card actions and 5) pass
your turn, that is, take one dice from the
pass card and draw a card. The last die taken from the card ends the round; whoever
takes it, is starting player of the next round.
Movement allows a space ship to move across two planets or moons, maybe further
with some cards, the space ship can carry
infantry, but no tanks, which must be built
in factories on the respective planets.
Claiming of tiles: To claim a tile you must
land a military unit on the planet (movement always ends in orbit around the
target). Mines, crises and Tension must be
conquered in combat after landing; only
landed units count towards determining
combat strength. The attacker rolls three
combat dice; the die with the medial
result is ignored and the difference of the
remaining two dice raises the defense
value of the attacked tile (for instance, a
mine). The attacker must achieve this value
or surpass it in order to win; infantry and
space ship each provide value 1, tanks
2, and this strength value can be raised
further by cards. When the defense value
is not achieved or the attacker deems the
“price” to be too high, he can resign and the
action is forfeit. Each die features one side
showing a skull of value 0! For each skull
rolled the attacker loses one unit at the end
of the attack.
Mines and factories of other players can
only be attacked at a location with a Tension marker; in this case the defender can
Christoph Proksch und Ursula Vlk
A nicely designed retro SciFi game, with enticing design
and a rather uniform flow combined with a high chance
add the combat value of his units in orbit to
his defense value.
„Crises“ markers are attacked in the same
way, they do yield victory points. In theory,
they can do devastating damage, depending on the location (for instance, attacks
by Aliens), but this rarely happens as those
markers are usually attacked very quickly
because of their victory points yield.
At the end of the game you calculate the
ranking of income – most, second-most
and third-most income – for each planet
and each moon. The respective victory
points vary in relation to the location
(Earth yields most). You also receive points
from tiles you did acquire, for instance „Big
„Onward to Venus“ is a relatively simple
game which takes one hour to 90 minutes
to play, but is a game whose attraction
diminishes after a few games, as it features
a relatively high element of chance and
offers little variation in its game flow. Due
to its marvelous design it might be an
attractive gift to a casual gamer.
Mythotopia is made of sterner stuff: The
deck building mechanism has been taken
from „Acres of Snow“, the map on the board
shows a fictitious country with mountains,
plains, lakes, oceans and islands. Each
province shows a number in a circle which
Color codes, target groups, features, icons and GABIS are
explained on page 5 and at the bottom of pages 46 and 47
is the combat strength of the neutral
region, and one of four different symbols,
which are also depicted on the respective
region cards in their top left-hand corner:
Army, Food, Stone or Gold – the resource
of the region. Some landscapes indicate
their defense bonus for rough territory by
featuring a dark shield. Mythotopia is intended for two to four players, each of whom
has Village tiles of one color to mark his
territories. Of course, there are additional
tiles to upgrade an estate – Fortress, City,
At the start of the game each player is
randomly dealt Province cards – six cards in
case of four players – which indicate where
a player can set up his villages. Those cards
are the starting cards of your own deck. You
Christoph Proksch und Ursula Vlk
A challenging and variable game in which tactic dominates
and which offers a plethora of sophisticated details
together with a varied game play for each game due to
randomly distributed region cards and other elements.
also get four starting cards in your color:
Army – two army and one money symbol
in the top left-hand corner; Market – one
money, one food and one stone symbol;
Ship – one ship and one food symbol; and,
finally, Build – one stone symbol. The Build
card also indicates the necessary costs
for constructing a city, road or fortress. As
usual, you can only use one kind of symbol
or one of the actions on a card showing
several symbols and/or actions.
Next to the board so-called victory point
cards are laid out, three of them are –
carrying a specified number of victory
points – always in play, and there are also
four more ones, out of ten randomly drawn
ones. When a player meets the requirements stated on one of the cards, he make
take one of the victory point tiles on the
card. When one of those cards has been
emptied, you cannot get victory points
from there anymore! Besides this source for
victory points, each province is worth three
victory points. Each combat that has been
fought changes, the point score of the
players involved in this combat on the track
at the edge of the board; if ownership of a
province changes, the corresponding card
is handed on, too. Contrary to this, victory
point tiles from the seven victory point
cards cannot be lost.
Another type of card – so-called “Fortschrittskarten”, 16 chosen randomly from
a total of 29 cards – are laid out openly for
buying; those cards yield advantage and
some of them also carry symbols in the
top left-hand corner. Of course, at the start
of the game, the demand for these cards
is high, as they can make your deck very
much more efficient; and when they all
have been taken, there is no replacement.
Each player begins the game with six small
army tiles (Shield symbol) and two ships;
to acquire/buy more of them is a separate action. New troops are placed in your
personal stack, as are those that you take
off the board, for instance after a war; to
re-enter them in the board demands the
playing of card that carry an army symbol.
At the start, each player draws five cards
from his deck. In your turn you carry out
two actions; for some of them you need to
play cards, for instance for placing armies
into your own regions; it is possible to do
the same action twice, albeit not for all of
the actions and there are certain action that
you only can do as the first action in your
turn. When all have passed, the round ends,
card that were used are put on the personal
discard piles and all draw five cards again
from their personal draw pile (if this is empty, the discard pile is shuffled and becomes
the new draw pile.)
There is an action option „End game“ which
only can be chosen as a first action when
four or more victory point cards have been
emptied and one player is in the lead. At
the end of the game all conflicts in progress
need to be scored – in case of a tie in a region the defender in the conflict wins – and
the victory points are adjusted accordingly
and all players need to check again if their
current score of victory points is correct.
Should it happen, that the active player
is not the winner, this action cannot be
implemented and the game continues, that
is, the scoring of the wars is reversed.
Mythotopia passes through different
phases: At the start of the game everybody wants to get old of Fortschrittskarten,
which always cost one gold (Do I have a
province with Gold symbol? Or maybe
even two?); on top of that each player
needs more provinces (even in case of four
players there are enough unclaimed ones
at the start of the game). To have more
cards with symbol in your deck you need
to acquire enough new armies and ships –
which in turn again demands gold.
Ships enable you to attack provinces across
water and give each region adjacent to water one value of strength, both for conquest
or defense. Unfortunately, water, too, has
borders, therefore you need more ships.
Only when free room gets scarce in our
phantasy continent, the conflicts and wars
begin – unless there are enthusiastic war
gamers playing, who force you into defense
action, despite there still being so much
that could be achieved before we, too, aim
for regions further away.
As in „Acres of Snow“ some action options
demand several different cards for im-
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plementation, which makes everything
even more difficult and puzzling. A very
interesting mechanism can help: The socalled “Reserve Card”, that is held by every
player, On this card the number of cards
that needs to put into reserve (beginning
with two) – this number increases with the
number of cities you build; the city tile is
taken off this reserve card and put on one
of your own region, which reveals a higher
number each time; this number indicates
how many cards I can put into reserve. With
this mechanism I can hoard cards to have
more symbols available for an action, in
addition to those depicted on the five hand
cards. With the action “place cards into
reserve” I can place one or more cards into
reserve, but cards in reserve must be visible
for all players.
Due to the varying victory point and
Fortschritt cards as well as the randomly
distributed region cards each game of
Mythotopia runs a different course, as far
as I know there is no dominating strategy
for winning. The playing time of 90 minutes
stated on the box is rarely achieved, usually
the game takes a lot longer. The components are made up from card board tiles,
cards and wooden game pieces as well
as a somewhat gloomy game board. The
rules are complete and leave no question
Mythotopia is a challenging game for experiences frequent players, tactic dominates,
the conflicts are demanding and there are a
lot more sophisticated details in the game,
which I did not mention here.
A Study in Emerald
„A Study in Emerald“ is the title of an
award-winning („Hugo Award“) short story
by Neil Gaiman – to be found on the web
– and of a very well-made game by Martin
Wallace. Monsters originating from the
writings of H.P. Lovecraft, characters from
the world of Sherlock Holmes, Zombies
and Vampires as well as real historic
personalities (Freud, Bismarck and several
anarchists) encounter each other in the second half of the 19th century, They fight in
two groups – Loyalists and restorationists,
that is, anarchists versus revolutionaries, for
domination over the whole world.
The world they are fighting for is influences since more than 700 years by the “Old
Ones” (Lovecraft), at least in the short story
by Neil Gaiman. The Loyalists, true to their
name, support the ones currently in power,
and they use whatever tool is available to
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
bring the „Old Ones“ into our world. The
Restorationists, in turn, aim for a new world
order, which results in a secret war.
The box of the game’s first edition is illustrated by a scene from the short story which
provides the name: Blood of a murder
Christoph Proksch und Ursula Vlk
If you are ready for unusual game play, unexpected
surprises and being constantly on your toes, then you will
love “A Study in Emerald”
victim in several shades of green looks like
the work of an artist: „A Study in Emerald
Green“. The title is also an allusion to „A
Study in Scarlet“ by Arthur Conan Doyle,
in which he characters of „Holmes“ and
„Watson“ are introduced.
The very felicitous „Fin des Siecle“ design
contributes strongly to the flair of the
game, as does the addition of real historical
The alluring basic idea of the game is that
nobody knows who belongs to which of
the both factions. At the start each player
draws a card assigning him to either the
loyalist or the restorationist faction, and
those assignments should be kept secret.
On the other hand, everybody wants to
find out who he needs to fight or maybe
support, because the winning conditions
are very unusual:
You win, if you accrue most victory points
– so far so good and standard – but if a
member of this player’s faction happens
to be in last place, the whole faction has
lost and the leading player of the opposing
faction wins.
Each player is an agent (called Monday –
Friday, so up to five can play) and begins
with a deck of 10 cards, a number of
wooden cubes for influence and wooden
discs to mark property. The board shows
12 cities (Washington, Cairo and European
cities), each with a spot for cards, and connections for travelling between cities. The
edge of the board carries a scoring track
and “Limbo” – this is where the influence
cubes are placed after being used and from
where you can get them back by playing
the necessary cards. A red and a green
scoring track mark the advance of both
factions, red is of course the color of the
By placing influence cubes each player can
take over cities, which earns him victory
points and a card that improves the deck,
can hire agents, which again brings cards
for the deck with various actions, or acquire
cards for free actions, monsters and various
other advantages. Each player can place
cubes everywhere; if you have a majority
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
in a city at the start of your turn, this city is
yours (agent, card), cards that you thereby
acquire go to your own discard pile and
later into your deck.
Card symbols show bombs, cubes and
money; money is needed for traveling and
for acquisition of influence cubes. Bombs
are used to eliminate agents, „Royalists“ or
to save „Royalists“. Cube symbols that you
play bring you cities, more cards and give
you back spent cubes from „Limbo“.
Victory points are acquired by controlling
cities, by eliminating enemy agent and
either eliminating or saving “Royalists” and
from various cards.
Basically, „A Study in Emerald“ is a lovely
chaotic game: Not only because of the
uncertainty of „Friend or Foe“, but also due
to the various action cards which which
you can create havoc with your opponent –
if only I were sure who is my opponent?! On
top of this, each game has a very unique
flow, depending on the cards that are in
play: Zombies, for instance, are a source of
joy for the conservatives, as they enable
him to to quickly eliminate agents of the
revolutionaries, which earns lots of victory
points, but also can speed up the end of
the game. “The Leopold Society”, on the
other hand, deals quickly and finally with
Zombies or Vampires. There is one card that
allows spying on other players, another
card allows you to instantly change your
affiliation, cards can force players to check
their mental health … After an assassination each player must do this by drawing
a face-down tile which can read „Mad“ or
„Sane“. Should A revolutionary draw “Mad”
three times, the game ends; the conservatives are that mad and evil that nothing
affects them.
discussions after a game about what would
have happened if …, what else could we
have done …
Did you ever play a game in which all can
lose in theory (with the exception of cooperative games, that is)? In this game this is
possible when three or four are playing.
This unorthodox game is a source of many
surprises, playing for the sake of playing.
Hands off the game for nitpickers and
players who want to maximize their score.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Martin!
At Essen 2015 a second, revised edition of
the game has been published. New graphics, a revised game board and new rules
are aiming to make the game somewhat
easier. The rules of the first edition have not
been very complicated, but the new rules
promise to be more straightforward, to
make the game more accessible. Of course
we will play the new edition, too, but hope
very much that the fun of the game has not
been diminished in any way.
“A Study in Emerald” is a game for people
who want to be entertained will, provided
they have a certain willingness to encounter unusual gameplay. The first edition is
sold out, should you come across a copy,
grab it! A game meriting the ranking of top
game in its category. þ
Christoph Proksch, Ursula Vlk
There are actions that can give clues to the
affiliation of a player, when implemented,
but those actions are also a nice tool for
bluffing, especially at the start of the game
when there is not much harm done when
directing an action at your own faction.
Should I mention that there are also double
agents …..
The duration of the game is very variable,
we have played games lasting 20 minutes,
but also some that took two hours. I am
talking about the maximum possible fun
in playing, all is possible, there are surprises
amass, at one moment your strategy collapses like a house of cards, in the next one an
even more perfidious opportunity arises.
The only condition for a game of „Emerald“
is the willingness to be not too serious
about a game – then you can derive lots of
amusement even if you are about to lose.
Need I mention that we often have long
Color codes, target groups, features, icons and GABIS are
explained on page 5 and at the bottom of pages 46 and 47
Designer: Martin Wallace
Artist: Greg Broadmore, Peter Dennis
Price: ca. 50 Euro
Publisher: Lookout Spiele 2014
Designer: Martin Wallace
Artist: Sanjana Baijnath
Price: ca. 50 Euro
Publisher: Lookout Spiele 2014
Designer: Martin Wallace
Artist: Anne Stokes
Price: ca. 50 Euro
Publisher: Lookout Spiele 2013
Retro SciFi development
Users: For experts
Version: en
Rules: en
In-game text: yes
Deck building, conflict, territory
Users: For experts
Version: multi
Rules: de en fr it
In-game text: yes
Deck building, hidden identities
Users: For experts
Version: en
Rules: en de + others in 2nd edition
In-game text: yes
Unique mechanisms, especially winning conditions * Interesting combination of background stories with real
historic characters * Very variable game
flow * Absolute top game for experts
Steampunk / Retro SciFi * Rather
chance-driven * Marvelous graphics
Tactics is dominant * Lots of sophisticated details * Varying game play due to
varying cards
Compares to:
Other steampunk games with
territory acquisition
Compares to:
Other editions:
Currently none
A Few Acres of Snow, other deck building
Compares to:
Other editions:
Other editions:
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2nd edition in English, German, French and
other languages
My rating:
My rating:
Currently non
First game of this kind
My rating:
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
You are the owner of an airlines operating on international routes, using your own
airplanes. Changing passenger
cards are available from the
Baggage Claim. Based on those
cards you need to find the best
route. You collect those passenger cards by moving your airplanes and thus collect points,
too. Airports on the board come
in different shapes and planes
on those airports are shifted or
started and landing according
to detailed rules.
If, at the start of your turn, you
have three identical code sharing markers on your Boarding
Sheet, you can form an alliance;
otherwise, you begin your turn
with the marker phase. If you
form alliances you can use airplanes from companies in the
alliance and also Non-Player
Creatures of the realm duel
for regions of the realm. Five
regions are laid out, players
choose two of eight tribes each
and, at the start of the game,
draw five cards in hand from
the shuffled deck. A round comprises five turns for each player.
In a player turn you play one
card and place it next to a still
free region on your side of the
region card. Then the card you
played is implemented, you use
rotations and special abilities.
Rotating tribal cards lowers or
raises their value, but you cannot rotate them directly from
highest to lowest value. Actions
of the tribal cards allow changes
in the card display or your hand.
Region cards are always neutral
at the start of the round. When
both players have had their five
turns, each row is evaluated for
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
airplanes; in such an NPA alliance you have the exclusive
rights to use the NPA machines.
In the marker phase you place
your markers on your Boarding
Pass or Passenger Cards on the
Boarding Pas and move your
airplanes. Completing a route
as stated on one of the cards
will give you the card. Then Passenger cards in the Baggage
Claim display are changed and
Passenger cards acquired are
laid out on the Boarding Pass.
When the draw pile is empty,
the discard pile is reshuffled and
the last round begins in which
you no longer can reserve passengers. After the last round you
add up your miles = points on
your passenger cards and score
30.000 bonus for each triplet
of symbols on Economy Class
In Air Alliance again a very good
game with interesting mechanisms is hidden behind a very
cumbersome rule – a game in
which you must optimize the
use of Passenger cards and
rules as not every airport can be
reached by every plane. þ
the region cards. When values of
tribal cards on both sides are the
same, nothing happens. When a
player has a crown on his card,
the region card is rotated to
point at him. When values on
both sides are different, the region card is rotated towards the
player with the higher value;
each 90 degree rotation uses
one point of the difference and
when the card points at the
player with the higher value,
he can take it if there is a point
in the difference left. After four
rounds you score regions cards
you won, minus castle cards,
and regions on the table that
point in your direction.
Allies is a basically simple game
with an astonishing depth, as
the options provided by cards
and tribes nearly completely
eliminate the chance element.
Therefore the game is also of
interest for more seasoned players; the rules are comprehensive, but not quickly accessible.
Color codes, target groups, features, icons and GABIS are
explained on page 5 and at the bottom of pages 46 and 47
Designer: Akio Nomura
Artist: A. Nomura, A. Balazh
Price: ca. 38 Euro
Publisher: Route 11 2015
Logistics, aviation
Users: With friends
Version: multi
Rules: en fr jp
In-game text: no
Difficult rules hide a good
game * Very attractive components * Varying game
play due to manifold cards
Compares to:
Logistics and optimization
Other editions:
Currently none
Designer: Punakallio, Wikström
Artist: Sami Saramäki
Price: ca. 15 Euro
Publisher: Mindwarrior Games 15
Fantasy, card comparison
Users: With friends
Version: multi
Rules: de dk en fi fr nl no
pl se
In-game text: no
Pretty design * Simple
rules, very concisely written * Cards provide lots
of strategic and tactical
options * Much variety due
to eight tribes
Compares to:
Card games with strength comparison
Other editions:
Currently none
An important archeological
digging site is threatened by a
landslide, teams of archeologists hurry to save the finds. The
board shows entrance cases
and four sorting areas for mosaics, amphorae, skeletons and
marble statues. The necessary
number of tiles is placed in the
bag and each player chooses a
team of archeologists. Then tiles
are drawn from the bag until
one suitable tile is placed on
each of the sorting areas, surplus tiles go back into the bag.
In your turn you draw four tiles
and put them into the corresponding sorting areas, a landslide tile goes on one of the entrance cases. Then you take any
two tiles from any sorting area
on the board and display them.
Now you can use one of your
four archeologists – each will
Theme of the game is nonverbal
communication and cooperation. During the game you cannot talk about the game at all.
Cards show two basic emotions in two colors. Six cards per
player are laid out, overlapping,
only one emotion is visible.
Three stacks with three objective cards are prepared, one
objective is revealed. For the
first eight objectives you move
in the outer ring, for the second
on in the outer and middle ring
and for the last stack also in the
inner ring. In your turn you reveal an objective, if necessary,
and then move any number
of steps along the connecting
lines on the board and pay for
each step with a card showing
the appropriate emotion, you
can also use cards from your
partners display. When then
give you additional tiles from
different areas; but you can use
each one only once in the game.
When all entry cases are filled
with landslide tile, the game
ends. Whoever had to place
the last landslide tile does not
receive tiles in this round. Now
all players score their finds: For o
complete mosaic of four tiles of
one color you score 4 points; for
one of several colors 2 points.
Skeletons score 6 points for a
family group of two big and one
small skeleton, single skeletons
score 1 point. Amphorae give
you 1-6 points in groups of 3 to
6 amphorae, all in different colors. Marble statues give 6 points
to whoever holds most of them,
0 points for whoever has fewest and three points to all other
Amphipolis is a very simple,
chance-driven game without interaction; some tactic is possible
if you memorize the number of
possible finds and keep calculating what still could be worth
taking. þ
your partner cannot move, both
have lost. When your turn ends
on a spot of the current objective’s color, the objective is met
and your turn ends.
After each card you play your
emotional balance is adapted,
for blue and green to the right,
for black and red to the left.
When it shows Zero you can
replenish your display. When
your turn ends in the other half
of the board, you change your
display to show the other half of
the cards. To win the game both
players must enter the middle
case on the board in two consecutive turns and their emotional balance must show Zero
on the indicator.
This is basically a game of movement optimization, emotions
are only an, albeit felicitous, thematic element. The cooperation
feature comes from keeping an
eye on available cards, you must
never hinder your partner in
moving. The ban on speaking
takes some getting used to, but
is a successful, unusual game element. þ
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Designer: Reiner Knizia
Artist: Tony Tzanoukakis
Price: ca. 25 Euro
Publisher: Desyllas Games 2015
Users: For families
Version: multi
Rules: de en fr
In-game text: no
Very simple rules * Nearly
entirely chance-driven * No
player interaction
Compares to:
Chance-driven collecting
games without interaction
Other editions:
Currently none
Designer: D. Chircop, Y. Massa
Artist: M. Cardouat, T. Sanders
Price: ca. 20 Euro
Publisher: LudiCréations 2015
Cooperation, optimization
Users: With friends
Version: en
Rules: en
In-game text: no
Basically abstract game
with optimization of
movement * Ban on talking
provides an entirely new
feeling * Cooperation
means to make sure your
partner can move
Compares to:
First game of its kind
Other editions:
Currently none
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
Finally, Shootout for two players
in a Wild West duel, introducing
24 new characters and a total of
80 cards featuring new symbols
and new abilities. You control a
group of gunslingers, either on
the side of Law and Order or
ranging with the Outlaws. You
shuffle the character cards of
your chosen faction and draw
four of them in hand, the rest
goes out of the game. The cards
in each player deck are also
shuffled, separately from the
character cards, and you draw
five cards in hand if you play the
Bandit and four if you play for
Law and Order. The four characters you previously drew are
shuffled again and set down
face-down, two are always in
play, one at the front, so to say,
the other as a backup. Should
one character go out of play, it
In the universe of Berserk,
you cooperatively defend, as
a Mage, the Castle that is attacked by beasts, warriors, monsters, giants, other Mages and
mighty and powerful dragons.
You move in six different realms
or landscapes – Prairie, Fire,
Mountains, Forests, Swamps
and Darkness – and travel to districts, receive energy from magical sources, collect mana and
learn and acquire new spells.
To defeat an attacker always
needs special Mana, which you
have to collect; defeated opponents give you new abilities, let
you construct powerful artifacts
and allow you to stage magical
rituals. Depending on the scenario that you choose there are
different enemies with different
abilities in play, the scenarios offer everything from 32 enemies
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
is replaced by the next one from
the deck.
In general, the mechanisms
from Bang! apply. You draw two
cards and then play any number of your choice, even none,
attack an opposing characters
or strengthen one of yours. You
can only play one Bang! card per
turn and there are restriction for
the use of action and equipment
card as regards to character in
front or at the back. Discarded
cards go to a joint pile, so that
later in the game you can also
use cards from your opponent.
You win, if you are first to eliminate all opposing characters.
Bang! as we know it, excellently
adapted to a game for two players; if you are familiar with the
universe of Bang! you will quickly get used to the new characters, new symbols and new
abilities. If you are a newcomer
to the Wild West you will need
a few introductory games. All in
all a good game, but you must
like to topic to like the game. þ
with a total strength of 160
up to 42 enemies with a total
strength of 220.
A player’s turn comprises Enemy
Attacks and Defender Actions.
An enemy attack can come
in two ways – when there are
cards in the Enemy deck, the
top one is revealed and placed
at a wall segment. If the deck
is empty, you place an enemy
from the Camp at the Wall. Then
you can do any action in any order from the following options:
Move once to citadel or district,
collect mana once from one of
the sources, defeat an enemy,
cast any number of spells or use
any number of artifacts. Players
win if they defeat all enemies in
Camp and the deck of Enemy
cards is empty. The Enemies win
if the break into the castle from
Bastion is an elegant cooperative optimization game with a
defense topic, needing different approaches in the various
stages of the game and offering
a very good selection of scenarios. þ
Color codes, target groups, features, icons and GABIS are
explained on page 5 and at the bottom of pages 46 and 47
Designer: Emiliano Sciarra
Artist: Rossana Berretta
Price: ca. 20 Euro
Publisher: dV Giochi 2015
Cards, Wild West
Users: With friends
Version: multi
Rules: en it
In-game text: yes
System well adapted for
two players * New characters * Basic rules of Bang!
apply * Joint discard stack
turns draw pile for both
Compares to:
All other editions of Bang!
Other editions:
Currently none
Designer: E. Nikitin, N. Pegasov
Artist: Kvasovarov, Dulin, Shaldin
Price: ca. 25 Euro
Publisher: Hobby World 2015
Fantasy, adventure, cooperative
Users: With friends
Version: en
Rules: de en
In-game text: no
Good components * Comprehensive, well-written
rules * Only small chance
element * Box and card
titles in Russian, rules in
Compares to:
Cooperative fantasy defense games
Other editions:
Russian edition, Hobby World
Ants are building up their hills,
players help them to collect
building materials. The ant track
on the board is filled with openfaced material tiles, that were
previously shuffled face-down,
according to specification, the
remaining tiles are placed in
the container, also face-down.
The active player rolls two dice
and can use an individual result
or the sum of both results to
move his wheelbarrow. If you
end your move on an empty
case, nothing happens. A tile
on the case you reached can
be taken or ignored. On a case
with a Lady Bird and a tile you
must place the tile face-down
into your wheelbarrow and also
a tile from the container; when
the Lady Bird case is empty you
only take a tile from the container. On a case with the Anteater
Hacking Data is the topic – a
Black Hat is a soubriquet for a
hacker who tries to invade systems and get out again unnoticed. The Black Hat card - which
is the same on both sides to be
easily recognized – is given to
a player at the start and then
each player receives a hand of
10 cards. Markers stat on “public Server” and Internet Café“.
Whoever leads the trick, called
lead for short, plays card or several cards of the same value; all
other play one card or the same
number of cards as the lead, but
of higher value. Who played the
highest value cards of the lead’s
number takes the trick and
moves one of his markers that
is not blocked one step, and an
opposing, unblocked marker in
a negative spot also by one step.
Other markers can be jumped
you must give back the tile that
you collected last and put it into
the container. If there is a wheelbarrow on the case you reached,
you push it onto the next case
the owner of the wheelbarrow
must take the tile there. If you
are back on the starting case,
you empty your wheelbarrow
and place tiles onto your ant hill;
you begin in the bottom row,
colors must correspond and you
can only fill higher places when
both places below are filled. You
must use all tiles; if you cannot
do so, you must give unused
tiles back to the container and
also one penalty tile from your
hill for each used tile.
The other players meanwhile fill
empty cases on the track with
new tiles.
Bauboom is an enchanting
placement and collecting game
for children, which is – due to
the choice of dice results and
thus of your target case as well
as the option to not take a tile –
also a very nice family game. þ
over. Tracer and Honeypot block
markers. If you cannot move any
marker, you draw a card. When
Black Hat is played as a Joker, the
lowest combination wins the
trick and the winner can either
take all cards of the trick or only
Black Hat and as many cards as
were played by the lead.
When someone is out of card
the game is scored in relation to
cards in hand and marker locations on the board – so sometimes you do not want to take
a trick in order to avoid moving
– and another round is played.
When a marker is on Critical Asset or cannot move, the game
ends and is scored and you win
with the lowest total score.
Black Hat is an interesting game.
Movement of markers on the
board nicely transports the
hacker flair - the FBI server gives
you fewer points than an email
account - and the trick mechanism offers quite some tactic;
the excellent rules provide quick
access to the game. þ
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Designer: Arpad Fritsche
Artist: Gediminas Akelaitis
Price: ca. 20 Euro
Publisher: Amigo Spiele 2016
Tile placement, collecting
Users: For families
Version: de
Rules: de en
In-game text: no
Series „Gut zusammen
spielbar für Groß und Klein“
* Memo mechanism due
to face-down components
in the barrow * Very nice
game for children and for
Compares to:
Other tile collecting and placement
Other editions:
Currently none
Designer: Multamäki, Klausner
Artist: John Lewis und Team
Price: ca. 42 Euro
Publisher: Dragon Dawn Prod. 15
Cards, trick-taking
Users: With friends
Version: multi
Rules: de en
In-game text: no
Known trick-taking mechanisms, varied by Black Hat
* Good rules with many
examples * Small chance
element, lots of variations
from optional rules
Compares to:
Karrierepoker and others for taking
tricks, first game in combination with
board and marker positions
Other editions:
Currently none
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
True to the motto that even a
blind hen might sometimes
find a grain of corn, players try
to win the most valuable hen
cards in auctions while leaving
the Blind Hens to the other players, but only when those Hens
do not come with golden corns,
because in combination with
those corns Blind Hens are suddenly quite valuable.
You sort your starting cards
by color into your display and
the draw pile is prepared. The
auctioneer of the round draws
3 cards and auctions them in a
package. He must offer 1 or 2
cards openly, he alone knows
all three cards and must make
the first bid; he is not allowed
to pass. Then all other players in
turn give a bid, the highest bid
wins the package. The winner
auf the current auction round
Pirates divide their spoils and
hope for the best share. For a
round, number of players times
three cards are laid out, one of
them face-down, players decide in turn if they want to be
Quartermaster of the round
or pass, the last player must
be Quartermaster. The Quartermaster takes any number
of cards from the middle and
adds a rank marker for the turn
order in the next round. Now
each player in turn decides if
he accepts the share or passes;
if you take it you are out of the
round. When all pass, the Quartermaster must take the share,
is out of play and a new Quartermaster is determined. If you
take a share, you place markers
on island for Might cards and
adjust the commodities markers for Trade Route cards. The
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
pays his bid to the auctioneer
with hen cards taken from his
display. When the auctioneer
wins the round, he pays his bid
with one card per player in turn,
players choose their card themselves. Depending on the size
of the bid a player could receive
more than one card. Then the
package is revealed and you
sort Hen cards into your display,
Blind Hens and Golden Corns
are set aside face-down. On appearance of the game-end card
you score for color majorities
and card values in three colors
as well as 5 points for pairs of
Blind Hens and golden corns; a
Blind Hen alone scores -3 points,
a single Golden Corn +2 points.
Blind Hen offers a cute and
unusual auction mechanism
which gives the full information
to the auctioneer only, who can
then try to influence the other
players with his bid, so that he
can keep the lovely package for
himself without paying too high
a price for it. þ
remaining cards of the share are
your booty and you set it aside
visibly. The rank marker is placed
accordingly on the table for the
next round’s turn order. When
the draw pile is empty, you win
with most victory points from
treasures, relics, commodities,
flags, markers on island – when
all harbors of an island are occupied – and way-of-life cards
as well as met targets from the
Legacy cards that you were
dealt at the start.
Booty is an exceedingly clever
and unusual game, in which
everything comes back to a yes/
no decision - take a share or not;
be Quartermaster or not – and
outguessing your opponents on
their choices. The Quartermaster alone has more decisions to
make when splitting the booty,
he must assess the other players – who will grab what and
what must he offer to make sure
to keep the share for himself.
That the value of booty cards
changes in the course of the
game does not make decisions
any easier. þ
Color codes, target groups, features, icons and GABIS are
explained on page 5 and at the bottom of pages 46 and 47
Designer: Heike Risthaus
Artist: Jenny Seib, Stefan Malz
Price: ca. 12 Euro
Publisher: Ostia Spiele 2015
Auction, bluff
Users: For families
Version: multi
Rules: de en
In-game text: no
New edition * Well-working
auction mechanism *
Good mix of bluff and
information * Four small
expansions are available
Compares to:
Earlier editions of Blind Hen, other
auction games
Other editions:
Currently none
Designer: Alexander Cobian
Artist: A. Riley, F. Reynoso
Price: ca. 30 Euro
Publisher: Mayfair Games 2015
Assessing, dividing, deciding
Users: With friends
Version: en
Rules: en
In-game text: yes
If not Quartermaster, you
have yes/no-decisions only
* Assessing other players
is essential for the Quartermaster * Quartermaster
decisions decide about the
quality of the game
Compares to:
First game of its kind
Other editions:
Currently none
The game comprises 100 tiles
carrying number values of 1 to
100. Each player tries to arrange,
in his own row of tiles, 22 tiles
with an ascending number series from left to right.
All 100 tiles are spread out facedown. Each player draws 17 tiles
from stock and sets them down
–face down – in a row. Then
each player draws five tiles, one
by one, turns them face-up and
inserts them face-up at any location of his choice into his row.
You must always insert one tile
into the row before you can reveal the next one. Already at this
stage the tiles must be inserted
in ascending order.
Then players in turn decide
on one of two action options:
1) Take a tile from stock in the
middle, reveal it and exchange
it for a face-down tile in your
Master Mages duel in the arena,
in teams or each on their own.
Three factions control individual decks of creatures to be
summoned. You place pieces,
so called helpers, in your color;
when this results in a pattern
depicted on one of your cards
you summon the creature and
use its effect. Then you discard
the card; the creature turns to
stone and can be used as part
of a new pattern - or revived by
the effect of another card and
used in combat. In the standard
game you complete tasks for
points; in the melee mode you
destroy opponents and summon Legendary Creatures from
their special deck.
Die Niederhöllen / Nethervoid is a
player deck that can be used, like
the decks from the core game,
as a Mage School. It comes with
row; this tile goes into stock, still
face-down. The open-faced tile
must, again in ascending order,
be inserted into the row, before,
after or between two numbers.
If you manage to place two consecutive numbers next to each
other, you immediately have
another turn. When the tile you
revealed does not fit anywhere
in your row, you must put it back
into stock open-faced. This tile
can be picked up by any player
in his turn. When a number can
be rotated by 180 degrees and is
readable, you can decide which
number you want to use, for instance 68 or 89. Whoever is first
to arrange 22 tiles in correct order, wins the game.
If you want to play several
rounds, each player notes the
number of face-down tiles remaining in his display as penalty
Completto offers nicely varied
standard mechanisms, the rotating of some number tiles
and the additional turn for two
consecutive numbers are nice
details. þ
18 creature cards, some card
board markers, a track for counting points and a glass bead as a
marker for the Gateway. The
Gateway is a new element, a
trans-dimensional portal which
is used by the mages to acquire
energy. Nearly all cards in the
Nethervoid deck relate to the
Gateway. A common or heroic
creature can become the Gateway and is marked as such. If
the Nethervoid player does not
have a Gateway, the next creature summoned turns into the
Gateway. If you then summon
a creature using the Gateway,
this new creature becomes the
Gateway instantly. When a Gateway is upgraded to legend, it
cannot be Gateway anymore.
A new school and at the same
time a challenging new mechanism, which has effects not only
for the creature just summoned
with it, but maybe also on cards
still in hand. Surely a must-have
expansion for players liking Tash
Kalar and the duel in the Arena.
WIN The Games Journal now also available as eBook!
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Designer: Heinz Meister
Artist: Visid
Price: ca. 16 Euro
Publisher: Schmidt Spiele 2015
Tile placement game
Users: For families
Version: multi
Rules: de fr it
In-game text: no
Standard basic mechanism
* Nicely varied details *
Felicitous family game
Compares to:
Europatours / 10 Tage
durch Deutschland; Placement games with sequence targets.
Other editions:
Currently none
Designer: Vlaada Chvátil
Artist: Cochard, Politzer, Murmak
Price: ca. 10 Euro
Publisher: Heidelberger 2015
Fantasy, Card duel
Users: With friends
Version: de
Rules: de en
In-game text: yes
Second expansion deck *
New mechanism “Gateway”
* Can be played as a Mage
Compares to:
Die Arena von Tash-Kalar,
Mage Arena and other games on
mage duels
Other editions:
English edition at Czech Games
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
The Puzzling paths of Ratnaraj
were a gift from the Queen to
the King who loves puzzles and
jewels. The twelve-sided game
board shows 15 lines that connect the 19 positions on the
board, but not all positions are
connected directly to all other
position. Between the positions
there are flappable arrows indicating the path to the next
position. At the start of a game
you turn over the empty board
on its back side once and turn it
back over again. This makes the
arrows fall into random positions so that they determine the
directions for the current game.
Then you choose a starting
position, place Jewel #1 there
and follow the arrows to place
pieces #2 to #19 in correct order.
You cannot jump over or cross
numbers already in place, but
The game unit, a five-spiked
star, works as game master.
Each spike has a different color
and is intended for one player.
For a game you choose a color
by pressing the corresponding
buzzer. When all have registered
their color, you press the green
button in the middle to confirm
the registration and to start the
The unit makes a statement
and you decide if you think the
statement is true or false and
answer accordingly, always by
pressing first the buzzer for your
own color and then by pressing
the green buzzer if you believe
the statement to be true, or by
pressing the red one if you believe the answer to be false.
You begin the game with 20
points; correct answers earn
you one point, wrong answers
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
there are positions from which
you have a choice which path to
follow, sometimes indicated by
arrows, sometimes not. You can
play alone or in a group. There
are 32768 possible arrow positions and in 10% of them you
can place 17 or 18 pieces. For
a simple game you join edge
points with pieces #1 to #6, you
follow the arrows on the inner
If you want to play in a group
of several players, you choose
a time frame. Then each player
tries, within this time frame, to
achieve the highest score. The
score for a player is always equal
to the number of the jewel that
he was able to place as his last.
Ratnaraj provides elegant, attractive puzzling fun, for solitaire play or competitive play,
and the rules even give a ranking: Placement of 13-14 jewels is
good, 15-16 is considered to be
very good, 17-18 jewels are an
excellent result and if you place
all 19 you may call yourself a genius. þ
or answers that come too late
cost you a penalty of two points,
the game unit administrates the
scores. The score can be checked
during the game, at the end of
each round the unit announces
the score. In Round 1 the game
unit decides who must answer.
In Round 2 you answer if you
press your color buzzer first,
and in Round 3 you are allowed
to press another player’s color
buzzer, which forces him to answer true or false, red or green.
After three rounds you win with
the highest score. Ties are resolved by the game unit by asking the players involved in the
tie again and again until there is
one winner.
Echt jetzt?! is a quiz game as
many others, the statements
and stories are more absurd and
outrageous than in other games
and the electronic unit saves us
the handling of question cards
and score keeping. A nice detail is the option to switch off, in
later games, explanations at the
start of each round. þ
Color codes, target groups, features, icons and GABIS are
explained on page 5 and at the bottom of pages 46 and 47
Designer: Ivan Moskovich
Artist: Anoka Designstudio
Price: ca. 18 Euro
Publisher: HCM Kinzel 2015
Logic puzzle
Users: For families
Version: multi
Rules: de en fr it
In-game text: no
Very attractive design *
Very short and simple rules
* Sophisticated fun with
Compares to:
Logic puzzles with adhering to a sequence
Other editions:
Currently none
Designer: not named
Artist: not named
Price: ca. 33 Euro
Publisher: Megableu/Hutter Trade 15
Quiz, reaction
Users: For families
Version: de
Rules: de fr
In-game text: yes
Standard mechanism *
Without question cards *
1000 statements
Compares to:
Other true/false quiz
Other editions:
Info ou intox, Megableu France
Escape Der Fluch des Tempels,
the real time adventure – Magical jewels in temple chambers
must be activated within 10
minutes to enable adventurers
to escape. All roll their five dice
simultaneously and use them to
uncover new chambers, enter
chambers, activate stones, flee
and remove blockage from dice;
cooperation might be necessary. Within the runtime of the
third count-down of the sound
track all need to be out of the
Expansion 3 Traps includes two
new modules, Fallenkammern
and Zeitkammern. If you discover a Fallenkammer/Trap Chamber r and add it to the board,
you place your adventurer there
instantly; those chambers –
there are Moving Platform, Invocation Chamber, Cliff and Slide
A slightly different quiz game
– sometimes you must give a
wrong answer to answer correctly. One player is quiz master
and reads out five questions
from five cards – he holds the
cards in his left hand and takes
the current card with his right
hand to read a question of his
choice. Then he makes the
backside of the second card in
his left hand clearly visible for
all players. Now all players can
answer, the fastest answer or
start of an answer is the answer
that is scored. When the backside of Card Two shows “richtig”,
the expert or a green circle, you
must give the correct answer
to answer correctly. Should
the backside of Card Two show
“falsch”, the Fool or a red square,
you must give a wrong answer
to have answered correctly. A
Trap - have various effects which
must be mastered by rolling certain symbols or discovering new
passages. Zeitkammern/ Time
Chambers introduce a time element via sand timers; if you
discover a time chamber you
activate it by placing the corresponding sand timer into the
chamber. Within the run time of
the timer you now must either
resolve a task or are prohibited doing some actions. Traps
needs the base game Escape to
play and can be combined with
Quest and Illusions.
Escape Traps is yet another
well working and fun addition
to the breathtaking adventure
in real time, which now is also
time-consuming; waiting for
a timer to run down to be able
to do something can get on
your nerves! And be lots of fun,
and it is better not to be able to
neutralize masks than losing a
die forever because you did not
get into the Sacrifice chamber
within a minute! Let’s explore
new horizons – ah – temples! þ
correct answer brings you the
card for a point, for an incorrect answer you lose a point.
Take care! The wrong answer
must come from the right category, you cannot answer the
question “which is the most
frequent piece in Chess with “a
die”, but need to name another
Chess piece! To make scoring
easy you mark points won or
lost by setting aside the respective card face-up or face-down.
You must also pay attention
to the so-called “absurd” questions, they are sometimes hard
to spot when you are in a hurry
to answer. For questions like “on
which continent can you find
Earth” there is only one correct
answer, which is “falsch gedacht”. The quiz master decides
all disputes on correct answers
or timing of given answers. If
each player has been quiz master once, you win with most
A fun game that is not as easy as
it sounds, some wrong answers
in the right category do not
come to mind too quickly. þ
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Designer: K. A. Østby
Artist: Oliver Schlemmer
Price: ca. 20 Euro
Publisher: Queen Games 2015
Real Time, adventure,
Users: With friends
Version: multi
Rules: de en fr
In-game text: yes
Two new modules * Wellworking, fun additions with
new surprises * Con be
combines with Quests and
Illusions expansions
Compares to:
All other editions of Escape
Other editions:
Currently none
Designer: Cathala, Maublanc
Artist: Fiona Carey
Price: ca. 9 Euro
Publisher: Heidelberger 2015
Quiz, party
Users: With friends
Version: de
Rules: de en fr
In-game text: yes
Good selection of questions * False answers
must come from the right
category * Team version
is listed
Compares to:
Quiz games giving conditions for
Other editions:
French and English edition at Le
Scorpion Masqué
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
Die Aktiengesellschaften – The
Stock Companies, the 10th expansion for Funkenschlag /
Power Grid can be used with
Power Grid or Power Grid deluxe
and can also be combined with
all other boards and power station decks. With Funkenschlag
boards you use the complete
board, with Funkenschlag deluxe boards you use six adjacent
regions on the board. As a share-
holder you try to get control of
companies for greatest personal
wealth. The game begins with a
Stock Round, followed by two
Operation rounds, then Stock
and Operation rounds alternate.
The game ends after five Operation rounds. In the Stock rounds
you buy and sell shares. In the
Operation rounds the company
presidents implement the standard five phases of Power Grid.
This time around in the universe
of Kragmorthe we embody
the minions of Rigor Mortis,
the Dark Overlord, defeated by
circumstances or heroes, who
must report to the Overlord on
their more or less failed missions
and present the most outrageous fabrications. One of the
players takes on the role of the
Dark Overlord, all others are his
Excuse cards in the game are
the templates and providers of
ideas for the stories that you tell
to justify yourself, they are only
played to continue the story.
Some of the action cards in the
game must be played together
with such excuse cards, some
action cards can be played by
themselves. Actions, for instance, are protest, swap hand
cards or force someone to dis-
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
In the variant “Die größten
Stromversorger“ you want to
acquire shares of those companies and will grow into the
biggest one in the market and
supply most cities with electricity. You play again with neutral
companies. In the second variant, „Der Wettstreit der Privatunternehmen“, each player owns
his private company in his own
color with its own shares and
tries to establish his company
in the market. Sometimes you
sell shares in your company to
enlarge your private capital or
to acquire shares of other companies. There is no separate
Stock round, but a new Phase 2
Share Trade is inserted between
the former Phase 1 – determine
turn order and Phase 2 – buy
power stations, this phase Share
Trade is begun by the player in
last position.
A new and unusual expansion
introducing a completely new
facet to Power Grid, surely a
must-have for all fans of Power
Grid. þ
card cards. In your turn you must
play a cue card and then end
your turn with the action card
of Verantwortung zuschieben
= Pass the Bucket together with
an Excuse card.
The Dark Overlord has complete
power and decides if your story
is acceptable or if you begin
to bore him, or if you did not
milk the excuse for all that is
was worth, in short, he has all
the power and can use it as he
likes it. If you are incurring his
wrath you are punished with a
Vernichtender Blick = Withering
Glare. Should you be the unfortunate recipient of three such
glares, you are out of the game.
In the variant Ja, Mein Gebieter!
you need to survive to the end
and win the game with most excuse cards played.
This is a really cute game, it is
simply fun to invent excuses,
but you must love that kind of
game and avoid logical reasoning or looking out for tactic; creative nonsense is the only commodity in this near-role-playing
game. þ
Color codes, target groups, features, icons and GABIS are
explained on page 5 and at the bottom of pages 46 and 47
Designer: Friedemann Friese
Artist: H. Lieske, L. Kalusky
Price: ca. 15 Euro
Publisher: 2F-Spiele 2015
Auction, network formation
Users: With friends
Version: de
Rules: de en es fr gr
In-game text: no
10. Expansion * For use
with Funkenschlag or
Funkenschlag deluxe *
Double-sided cards with
graphics corresponding to
the two basic versions
Compares to:
Funkenschlag and all expansions
Other editions:
Rio Grande USA, Edge Entertainment,
Spain; Kaissa Chess & Games, Greece
Designer: Riccardo Crosa + Team
Artist: Crosa, Navaro, Valzania
Price: ca. 20 Euro
Publisher: Truant Spiele 2015
Satire, fantasy, narration
Users: With friends
Version: de
Rules: de it
In-game text: yes
New edition * Two variants,
Green and Red editions
* Both editions can be
played individually or can
be combined * Good for
larger groups
Compares to:
Ja, Herr und Meister Rote Edition,
other satirical fantasy card games, e.g.
Other editions:
Ja, Herr und Meister Rote Edition
Okapi, Tiger, Hippo, Elephant,
Orang-Utan and Lion are calling
us into the jungle and invite us
to play with them in two versions of the game. In both versions you use six mats depicting
the animals and sets of cards
with all animals in different colors.
In der Memo Version mats
are placed closely together, all
cards are shuffled and stacked
face down, two cards are laid
out openly in a row. The active
player looks at the cards, memorizes the order and then hops
from animal to animal in this
order; interim steps or a glance
at the cards are not allowed. If
everything was correct, you are
allowed to add another card to
the row for the next player. If
you made a mistake, you must
quit the game and cannot add a
By establishing relations with
families all over Europe you
want to establish your dynasty.
In a total of nine rounds over
three generations ( 2-3-4) you
place markers in the Action
phase on your own board for
Marriage, Children, Society and
loans - all for multiple use - and
on the main board for title, doctor, real estate, venture, mission
and donations - all available
only once. Each action offers
multiple opportunities, variants
and consequences; each action
except marriage arrangement
only concerns the current generation. At the end of the generation you get income and then
honor points for prestige; after
three generations you win with
most prestige.
Five Families introduces four
modules which can be used in-
new card to the display. Whoever is last in play wins the round!
In a variant you can put more
distance between the mats and
allow interim steps and also
touching mats with your hand
instead of jumping on them.
In der Tempo Version the mats
are distributed at some distance
in the room or all over the flat or
the house. Each player is given
a set of cards of one color, shuffles it face-down and puts it on
the table. Then you reveal the
first card and run with the card
in hand to the corresponding
animal and put the card down
on the mat. Then you run back
to the table, turn over the next
card, find the animal, put down
the card, and so on. Whoever is
rid of his cards first, wins.
Simple rules for a super game.
Memorize, jump, memorize
again – via the number of cards
and the distances of the mats
the game can be adapted to any
group of players. And for letting
of steam on rainy days you play
the Tempo Version! þ
dividually or all together with
the core game. Five Families offers five new families which now
also allow for direct interaction
between players. Birth Events
is the second module, with
events relating to a new child as
well as all the family, to be used
starting with the 2nd generation
and purposefully provided with
different backsides so that you
can avoid them, maybe. Patrons - Module 3 - introduces
eight new patrons, which can
be used on their own or mixed
with those of the basic game.
The fourth module is the solo
version, with a total of 11 cards,
five for Great Houses and six for
the Daisy Track, for use with the
Testament version of the core
game Solo variant.
Five Families is a very well-working supplement for the core
game of Legacy, the new family
and especially the new resource
favor in combination with the
enhanced interaction due to
trading are interesting additions to a witty and challenging
game. þ
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Designer: Reiner Knizia
Artist: Carsten Mell
Price: ca. 24 Euro
Publisher: Piatnik 2015
Movement, memo
Users: For children
Version: multi
Rules: cz de fr it hu sk
In-game text: no
Cute illustrations * Simple
rules * Easily variable via
card number and mat
Compares to:
Movement games with
targets to reach
Other editions:
Currently none
Designer: Trzewiczek, Walczak
Artist: R. Szyma, M. Bielski
Price: ca. 22 Euro
Publisher: Portal Games 2015
Worker placement
Users: For experts
Version: en
Rules: en
In-game text: yes
Four different modules *
Can be combined any way
with the core game * Favor
as a new resource, trade as
new interaction
Compares to:
Legacy Core Game, other worker
placement games
Other editions:
Currently none, Polish edition announced
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
Geschenkwürfel are a new series of games in the Haba program – a cubic box in a different
color for each topic, featuring
few components and lots of fun
for a very reasonable price.
In Mimikmonster you find 4 dice
and 12 cards with monster faces, three faces for each kind of
face, which you can use for two
different games.
In game 1 you need to recog-
nize faces. All cards are shuffled
and stacked face-down. The
active player draws a card and
looks at it secretly. Then he places the corresponding die for his
neighbor and then imitates face
and gesture of the monster on
the card. The neighbor decides
on a face on the die. When the
die and the card show the same
face, you give the card to your
neighbor. When all cards have
Monopoly all over the world again players worldwide voted
for this new edition of a global
Monopoly. 22 cities are represented on the board with one
case each, combined into the familiar color groups of a standard
Monopoly. Eiffel Tower, Statue
of Liberty, Easter Island Statue
and Sphinx are the four exclusive playing pieces.
You travel to those 22 cities and
acquire stamps or First-Class
stamps for your travel passport.
Regular stamps are distributed
on the cases– one per city – at
the start of the game. Instead
of Community cards there are
Here & Now cards, you are dealt
two at the start and can use
them at the start of your turn.
You roll and move as usual; on
cases with a stamp you buy the
stamp or auction it. If you have
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
been given out, you win with
most cards.
In game 2 you need to find monsters. All cards are shuffled well,
face-down, and then are either
spread out loosely on the table
or arranged in a 3x4 grid. The active player chooses a die and roll
it. He takes a good look at the resulting monster and memorizes
the face. Then you turn up a card
in the grid. If you did not find the
monster, you turn the card back
over and your turn passes. If you
find the monster, you imitate it
and, if you are successful, take
the card open-faced. When the
monster you rolled is already
with a player, you point it out
and roll again. Whoever is first
to collect one monster of each
type, wins.
A game that provides exactly
what the intent of the series
promised – quick and easy
games needing only a few components and little time to explain, but offer lots of fun, an attractive box and are well suited
to be brought as a gift. þ
the stamp of a city in your passport you cash City Tax when
another player enters this case.
If you have all stamps of a color
group, you get a free first-classstamp and receive double City
Tax. If you roll Schlauer Tausch –
Clever Exchange you can swap
the top stamp in your pass for
the top stamp of another player.
Additional challenges come
from the Here & Now cards and
event cards. Whoever is first to
completely fill his pass, wins the
Monopoly without houses and
hotels; the buying and paying mechanism for cases is
still around, but the exchange
mechanism as a die result has
quite some influence on the
flow of the game – if possible I
will take a stamp, if this reduces
the opponent’s chances for a
color set, or if the opponent’s
stamp is bigger than mine and
gives my a chance to finish the
game faster, as the passport
has no cases to fill, only overall
room. þ
Color codes, target groups, features, icons and GABIS are
explained on page 5 and at the bottom of pages 46 and 47
Designer: Anna Lena Räckers
Artist: Martina Leykamm
Price: ca. 9 Euro
Publisher: Haba 2015
making faces, memorize
Users: For children
Version: multi
Rules: de en es fr it nl
In-game text: no
Attractive package * Lots of
fun with few components
and easy rules * Nice gift
Compares to:
Grimassimix and other
games on making faces
Other editions:
Currently none
Designer: not named
Artist: not named
Price: ca. 33 Euro
Publisher: Hasbro 2015
Roll, move, buy and pay tax
Users: For families
Version: de
Rules: de en
In-game text: yes
Chance of mechanisms in
relation to a standard Monopoly * Nice components
* Showing BuzzFeed Logo
and again the Parker Logo
Compares to:
Monopoly Imperium
Other editions:
Hasbro USA
The tower up on the hill is about
to restored, the monsters oppose this idea and need to be
caught and chased away by
The monsters come in four
shapes – disc, triancle, rectrangle and X – and all monsters
are poured into the hole in the
roof to land in the top level.
Now each player draws a monster tile to determine the kind of
monster he should try to catch.
The sand timer is turned over
and all stick one of their fingers
into any windo and try to get
the monsters into the holes in
the corners of the various levels and thus get them down
level by level into the basement.
You may use both hands at the
same time, can use all empty
windows and can also look into
windows – take card, collisions
Grabsch revised – One player is
starting player of the round and
quickly turns over cards from a
face-down stack. He holds the
stack in one hand and lays down
cards with the other open-faced
so that the do not overlap. While
cards are laid out, all other players may take cards from the
table to collect complete cows
and sheep. All animals comprise
three parts which you need not
collect in order, you just need to
have a head, a body and a tail for
each animal. Collected cards are
held in one hand and with the
other hand you pick up more
cards. While you collect you
can change the order of cards
in your stack and also put cards
back. When the stack is laid out,
the round ends and stacks are
scored. Each correct triplet of
animal cards scores one point,
might happen with heads of
other players. When a monster
falls out of the window, it starts
again in the attic. Whoever notices that the time has run out,
shouts “Take care, the monsters”
and all stop.
The tower is lifted carefully and
you check which monsters did
end up in the basement, that
is, on the table. Each player receives a trophy marker for each
monster of his own on the table.
Then monsters on the table are
collected and put into the attic,
for a new round. If you aquired
15 trophy points, you win.
So far so good and fun! At least,
in theory! In reality it depens
on how much you like hectic
Sfree-for-all, how well you do
in feeling shapes – circle and x
are fairly easy to recognize, and
how well you cope with many
fingers that might scratch and
with heads in your way. Children
have fun, their hands are smaller, but are their fingers long
enough to reach the monster in
the middle of the level? þ
if you collected the complete
black sheep it is worth 3 points.
Parts of the black sheep in other
sheep earn 3 penalty points.
When each player has been
starting player once or twice,
you win with the highest score.
In a variant all cards are heaped
on the table open-faced and all
search simultaneously, using
one hand, cards can be placed
on a maximum of three stacks
at a time. A stack of three cards
is turned over and cannot be
altered anymore. You are also
allowed to pick up single cards
from other players. When all
cards have been taken stacks
are scored and after four such
rounds you win with most
points. A memo version is intended for players of ages 4+.
As Grabsch and now as Nimmit
this game is a nice challenge
for close observation, because
cows and sheep in the style of
cave drawings are not easily distinguished. A bit challenging for
four-year old children. þ
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Designer: S. Luciani, A. Tinto
Artist: V. Moscon, M. Reinartz
Price: ca. 30 Euro
Publisher: Heidelberger 2015
Dexterity, motor skills
Users: For families
Version: de
Rules: de it
In-game text: no
Cute idea * Pretty design *
Very unpredictably * Hectic
Compares to:
Dexterity games using
motor skills
Other editions:
La Torre dei Mostri, Cranio Creations,
english edition announced
Designer: Karsten Adlung
Artist: Dennis Lohausen
Price: ca. 8 Euro
Publisher: Adlung Spiele 2015
Collecting cards
Users: For children
Version: multi
Rules: de en es fr it
In-game text: no
Revised edition of Grabsch
* Good mix of reaction and
memory * Simple rules *
Beautiful, somewhat difficult drawings
Compares to:
Grabsch and other games collecting
objects in several parts
Other editions:
Currently none
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
The new miracle concoction Nitro Glyxerol needs to be mixed.
Glyx cards in five colors are
sorted by color, shuffled separately and stacked face-down,
also separately. As many stop
cards as there are players are
set out. Each player holds five
ingredient cubes, one in each
of five colors, which he places
into the starting order of his
Myxxer. Then the Glyx formula
of the round is determined by
drawing the top card from each
stack, shuffling those cards setting them out openly in a row.
This sequence is the goal of the
round for all players. Now all
shake their Myxxer to get their
five ingredient cubes into the
finish area of the Myxxer in the
sequence indicated by the card
row, while the timer runs.
If you stop shaking your Myxxer
High up in the clouds over the
Boiling See a conflict rages
among aeronauts in a steam
punk setting, pirates on the
hunt for booty versus hunters
of the White Dragon empire.
Each faction has its own deck
and and players can choose either the introductory game or
the advanced game in which all
cards are used. The decks prepared accordingly are shuffled,
three cards are put, face-down,
at the bottom of the deck. Whoever forces the opponent to discard all cars from his hand will
win. Discarding cards means
that you turn them over to their
back side, saving cards means
turning them back over to their
front side. Characters fight alone
or in groups of two or three, led
by the foremost card, and have
3 basis and 3 support values for
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
– possibly before the timer runs
out – you take the lowest available stop card. When all are
done or the timer has run out
and all grabbed a stop card, finish areas are checked in ascending order of stop cards and you
receive one or more of the cards
in the row for correct cube position, albeit only the first player
in turn whose cube is in correct
positon. If you have a higher
card, you might get nothing.
Also, if one cube is in wrong position, you cannot score a card
for correct positions behind
it. Stop card 1 gives you mice
poop, which must be in front in
the finish area in the next round
to enable you to score. After
seven rounds you win with most
points on your Glyx cards.
Dexterity where hectic can be
damaging – its better to have
three cubes correct and an early
stop card than having a mistake
in position 1 or 2 and no chance
on a card. Cute, fast, challenging, felicitous and great fun! þ
Sailing, Shooting and Entering,
plus Leader Tricks and Magical
Tricks as group member. You
can look at your deck, but not
rearrange it. A turn comprises
event resolving (maybe), announcing of ability, playing of
1-3 cards and, finally, evaluating
and applying effects – in case of
a tie the cards played are sorted
out, the initiative stays with the
player. When there is a winner
of the conflict, cards played are
sorted out and then the ability
of the winner is applied: For Sailing the winner saves two cars,
for Shooting the loser discards
two cards and for Entering the
winner saves one card and the
loses discards one, the winner
takes the Initiative.
An attractive, cute card game
with a small barrier at the beginning, but you get quickly used
to the fast combat game set in
the Oddball Universe, a game
offering a high replay value due
to the many options for actions
and the manifold abilities of
characters. þ
Color codes, target groups, features, icons and GABIS are
explained on page 5 and at the bottom of pages 46 and 47
Designer: L. Borsa, A. Mainini
Artist: Alexander Jung
Price: ca. 30 Euro
Publisher: Zoch Verlag 2015
Action, collecting
Users: For families
Version: multi
Rules: de en fr it
In-game text: no
Cute game idea * Nice
components * Simple rules
* Lots of fun
Compares to:
All dexterity games resulting in color sequences
Other editions:
Currently none
Designer: Nigel Pyne
Artist: Lloyd Ash Pyne
Price: ca. 10 Euro
Publisher: Pegasus Spiele 2015
Steampunk, card comparison
Users: With friends
Version: de
Rules: de en
In-game text: yes
Set in the Oddball Universe
* Steampunk topic * Lots of
variations due to abilities
and actions * Topic well
implemented with fantastic
art * Good for families with same
gaming experience
Compares to:
Card games with strength comparison and special abilities
Other editions:
Oddball Aeronauts, TheMaverickMuse
As a CEO of a TV station you
need to provide the best program and achieve the highest
number of viewers and the
highest revenues from advertising for each show at prime time.
You hire actors, producers and
writers and make up a plan for
the schedule.
In a round you place three markers either on available action
slots or on auction slots. Ac-
tions are implemented instantly
– R&D will determine the turn
order sequence for next round,
Archive gives you a Repeat card,
the Gold Course earns you a victory point and the Personnel
department lets you lend a talent to other stations for income.
Finally, the advertising department lets you place a demographic marker on a day case
or change such a marker. If you
Each raven defends his favorite spot at the wall and tries to
push opposing ravens off the
wall. Each player sits on one side
of the wall. There are 10 bricks
in the wall that can be moved,
each player pulls five of them
to his side of the board at the
start of the game. 11 ravens are
general stock. Then players alternate to roll the die in a way
that the other player can see
the result. If you roll the White
Raven, you take a raven from
stock and put it on the pinnacle
of the wall, this raven is safe and
cannot be pushed off the wall.
When the die shows a Black raven, you take a raven from stock
and place him on one of your
own wall pieces, if possible in
a way that your opponent cannot be sure where you did place
your raven. When the wall sym-
place a marker on an auction slot
beneath show or talent cases,
you must make a bid and place
the money; if your bid is topped
you take back your money, the
marker stays. Auctions are resolved when all markers have
been placed. At the end, you
adjust the turn order sequence.
Then, in seven steps, you make
up the broadcasting schedule,
broadcast your show and then
evaluate it for demography and
advertising customers. At the
end of a round you earn money
for demographic markers. After
three and six rounds there is an
award-giving session for victory
points and at the end remaining
money scores 1 point for every
3$. The rules also provide a version for two players and rules for
an advanced game including
Issuing of Bonds and simultaneous Weekly Planning.
Prime Time offers a solid game
with an interesting topic and
some unusual details, especially
the auction mechanisms with
leaving re-using markers. þ
bol was rolled, the active player
tries to push an opposing raven
off the wall by pulling a piece
of wall over to your side. If you
caught a raven, your opponent
must put the raven back into
general stock. If you cannot pull
a piece over to your side, you
may place a raven instead as if
you had rolled a Black raven. For
the wall+raven symbol you may
choose if you want to place a
raven or try to push a raven off.
When the last raven is placed,
you win with most ravens on
your own side.
This is a very nice deduction
game with a strong element of
riling or aggravation, offering
training of concentration and
observation; maybe you manage to spot or hear where your
opponent places his raven – you
know the possible spots for
placement. And children also
learn to cope with situations
occurring in a game that are
negative for them, like a raven
toppling off the wall. þ
WIN The Games Journal now also available as eBook!
For all information on that check our website.
Designer: Elad Goldsteen
Artist: N. Robinson, G. Vorgia
Price: ca. 40 Euro
Publisher: Golden Egg Games 15
Auction, placement, development
Users: With friends
Version: multi
Rules: de en
In-game text: no
Unusual auction mechanism * Good components
* Non-standard topic *
Well-structured rules
Compares to:
All games offering a mix of placement
and auction
Other editions:
Currently none
Designer: Marco Teubner
Artist: Antje Flad, Volker Maas
Price: ca. 20 Euro
Publisher: moses. Verlag 2015
deduction, guessing, riling
Users: For children
Version: de
Rules: de
In-game text: no
Very simple rules * Nice
combination of observation and deductions * Riling element trains coping
with negative situations in
a game
Compares to:
Die kleinen Drachenritter for
opposite, vertical boards that the
opponent cannot see
Other editions:
Currently none
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
Meerkats are going out to visit
friends - Carlos Chamäleon,
Kurt Käfer, Willi Wüstenmaus
and Jacqueline Schildkröte are
waiting for them, The board is
set into the box desert side up
and you place your double-sided piece on one hole, meerkat
without lamp above ground,
meerkat with lamp underneath
the board, You shuffle your
puzzle parts, hole image up, and
then assemble four into a track,
the others are set aside. The first
part is turned over – this friend
needs to be visited now. You
roll a die and slide your marker
1, 2 or 3 pieces forward, but not
across hedges or walls. If you
did visit your friend, you set the
puzzle part aside and move to
a ground hole. If you are first to
reach a ground hole, you turn
the board over and all go on
A crazy inventor is constructing robots, hundreds of robots,
but unfortunately he has not
managed to collect the correct
heads for them. Those heads
need to be found and all players
help the inventor to find them.
The game board shows 120
different heads – those heads
come in five different colors –
yellow, green, blue, purple and
red – and those five colors can
also appear in eyes, mouth and
nose of those heads. Each player
takes five robot chips in one of
the four colors. The currently active player takes the Robomat
and shakes it properly so that
four of five possible marbles
end up in the slots – one of the
slots has room for two marbles.
The result determines – marked
by easily distinguished symbols
– the four colors for the head
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
playing with their markers on
this side of the board, All that
visited a friend, turn up a new
one, all others take a super chip
for later use. Those chips can be
used to move two additional
steps or roll & move again or
move through a hedge or wall.
Visiting – reach ground hole
first – turn over board – reveal
next friend – play continues in
this way until someone has visited all friends and is back in a
ground hole and thus wins the
game. With other numbers of
friends in your puzzle track you
can vary the playing time.
Simply cute! The idea is funny,
the double-sided figurines on
top and underneath the board
are fun to play with and on the
cave board side you must carefully consider your path, because there is only one ground
hole into which you can disappear to turn the board over
again. Don’t forget – never lift
your marker off the board in order to not drop the bottom half
of your meerkat! þ
that needs to be found. No color
can appear twice, as the Robomat only holds one marble for
each of the five colors.
All players now search the board
for, for instance, a purple head
with read eyes, a blue nose and
a green mouth. Whoever finds
the head first, puts one of his
chips on it. The other players
stop searching and use the Robomat to check the head on the
board. If it is the correct head,
you can set aside your chip. If
it is not the correct head, you
take back your chip and must
pass during the next round. The
successful spotter becomes the
next “inventor” and shakes the
Robomat as active player. Whoever manages to discard all five
of his chips first, wins the game.
A super simple and super fun
game, very attractive not only
for children, but also for families.
All you need is quick and correct observing. Any method to
search is fine, provided that you
are fast! þ
Color codes, target groups, features, icons and GABIS are
explained on page 5 and at the bottom of pages 46 and 47
Designer: I. and M. Brand
Artist: Dynamo Ltd. and others
Price: ca. 36 Euro
Publisher: Ravensburger 2015
roll die, reach target
Users: For children
Version: de
Rules: de
In-game text: no
Cute idea * Simple basic
rules * New use for magnetic playing pieces
Compares to:
All roll & move games for
basic mechanisms, new
double-sided pieces
Other editions:
Currently none
Designer: Ivan Moscovich
Artist: not named
Price: ca. 20 Euro
Publisher: Game Factory 2015
Spotting game
Users: For children
Version: multi
Rules: de en fr it
In-game text: no
Cute topic * Drawings to
too easily distinguished *
Good family game, too
Compares to:
All spotting games featuring color combinations
Other editions:
Currently none
Unfortunately ancient sarcophagi have been opened and you
need to avoid the affectionate
mummies. You receive 10 cards
out of 60 in values 1 to 60, an
eventual rest in case of less than
six participating players is set
aside. The starting player leads a
card, the second player in clockwise direction decides with the
card he plays if all other players
after him must play a higher or
lower card than the first player. If
the second card played is lower
than the card lead by the starting player, all players must play a
card lower than that of the starting player, but not necessarily lower than their predecessor.
Whoever playes the lowest card
of the round, takes the trick. But
if somebody is forced – due to
lack of a suitable card – to play a
card that is higher than the one
The Great Daimyo of all Ninja
Clans id dead and his successor
must be found. As Daimyo of an
individual clan you want to survive to become the next Great
Daimyo. A round comprises two
phases – 1) assign attack and 2)
resolve attacks and denounce.
In your turn you attack three
players to your right by placing
a face-down attack card, you
name the weapon and may lie,
talk or gesticulate to mask your
true intentions. Then in turn
players reveal two of the three
cards assigned to them - in
case of identical weapons the
attack is successful and costs
a life marker; in case of different weapons nothing happens.
Then you can announce Incompetence or Plotting. If you have
revealed two different cards,
you can announce Incompe-
lead, the trick is taken by whoever played the highest card,
that is, who had to overbid the
highest. In analogy, all must play
a higher card when the card
played by the second player is
higher than the one lead by the
first player. If someone cannot
follow suit and is forced to play
lower, the trick goes to whoever
played lowest, that is, had to underbid the most. Whoever wins
a t trick is the one who leads for
the next trick. If you lead for a
trick you are not allowed to play
a card with five mummies unless you hold only such cards.
After ten tricks you win with
fewest mummy heads on your
collected tricks.
Again a nice, little, well-working
card game, nothing really new,
but a game that plays quickly
and is quickly explained, an ideal card to take along traveling
and an equally ideal game as a
filler or for beginners. þ
tence and reveal the third card:
When all three cards are different, all three attackers lose one
life marker; if not, the attacked
announcer loses a life marker.
When the attacked player has
revealed two identical cards,
he can announce Plotting and
reveal the third card. If it is identical to the two other cards, the
attacked player does not lose a
life marker, but each of the three
attackers. When the third card
is a different one, the attacked
player loses two markers, one
for the attack and one for the
wrong accusation. If you are out
of markers, you can keep attacking and denouncing, but cannot win. The last one to own a
marker wins the game.
A cute mixture of card game
and communication with bluff
and deduction. My neighbor
has marked trident twice, so
maybe I won’t get one? And
why does my vis-à-vis wink at
me, when he attacks me with a
sword, or so he says? þ
WIN The Games Journal now also available as eBook!
For all information on that check our website.
Designer: Michael Feldkötter
Artist: Claus Stephan
Price: ca. 8 Euro
Publisher: Amigo Spiele 2015
Users: For families
Version: de
Rules: de en
In-game text: no
Simple rules * Quickly explained and quickly played
* Ideal for traveling * Good
introductory game
Compares to:
All trick-taking games
where you need to avoid certain
cards or amounts
Other editions:
Currently none
Designer: Josep Maria Allué
Artist: Siscu Bellidu
Price: ca. 10 Euro
Publisher: GDM Games 2015
Cards, bluff, deduction
Users: With friends
Version: multi
Rules: de en es fr
In-game text: no
Standard topic * Needs a
minimum of four players *
Denouncing as interesting
detail mechanism * Funny,
plays fast
Compares to:
All games featuring bluff and false
Other editions:
Currently none
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
Rebels versus Empire. Each player commands a GHOST space
ship and confronts TIE fighters,
star destroyers or even Darth
Vader. Hexagonal tiles show
Imperiale Gegner = imperial opponents, Verbündete = allies of
the rebels and Unterstützung
= support as well as three Kosmischer Nebel = cosmic nebulae. Sixteen of those hex tiles are
laid out at the beginning, in four
rows with four hexes each.
Each player begins on cone of
the corner tiles. In your turn you
“fly” from your position onto
an adjacent tile and then turn
over a tile that is adjacent to
your new position. When the
tile shows support or an ally you
may take it, provided you do not
yet have a support or ally tile.
Tiles that you cannot take are
turned back over again. When
Sheep and textiles are transported across America; for doing so you must throw switches
on the tracks in order to deliver
goods where they are needed.
Goods you deliver go to your
depot and can then be used to
upgrade your train or to complete contracts. Whoever completes five contracts first – they
must include one each of 3-,
4- and 5-items contracts – wins
the game.
You start in a city of your choice
– at the begin all players are in
different regions of the board
– and a train with one upgrade
or three switchmen as well as
one of nine offices. The active
player first fills empty cities with
goods or Demand Discs, can
throw switches and then moves
the train according to the dice
value on the engine, from city
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
you revealed Kosmischer Nebel,
you roll the die and either receive or lose power chips or
nothing happens; the nebula is
turned over again. When you reveal an opponent, you can leave
him in place and take a power
chip or fight the enemy with a
comparison of strength from
die roll and additional points,
making use of power chips, allies or support. Your neighbor to
your right rolls for the strength
of the opponent. If you defeat
an opponent you take the tile;
gaps in the display are filled at
the end of your turn. If you cannot fill such a gap, the game
ends and you win with most
victory points on your tiles with
defeated opponents and allies.
Power chips that you have left,
decide a tie.
A simple game, harmonious,
with nice components and even
a little tactic from the choice of
fighting or taking power chips –
a well-made game on the topic,
best for fans of Star Wars. þ
to city and past other trains. You
can end the movement in a city
where there is already another
train. If you have room on your
train, you must load up a good
in a city and must, if possible
deliver a good in a city, that is,
you put the good and an eventual Demand Disk behind your
screen. Later you can use those
goods to upgrade your train –
expand its range or give it more
cars- or get more switchmen.
Upgrading the range or new
cars cost 2 goods, switchmen
cost one good each, you can
hire two. If you want to meet
one of the 10 contracts, you discard the corresponding goods.
For some contracts you can acquire offices for special abilities.
All in all this is a nice logistics
game, featuring pretty components. Allover, the game is not
too complicated and yet offers
tactic from optimum use of the
various offices and – at the end
– a usually tight race for the contracts and with them for victory.
Color codes, target groups, features, icons and GABIS are
explained on page 5 and at the bottom of pages 46 and 47
Designer: S. Dochtermann + Team
Artist: Fuxbux, Andreas Resch
Price: ca. 20 Euro
Publisher: Kosmos 2015
placement, dice rolling
Users: For children
Version: de
Rules: de
In-game text: no
Illustrations from the film *
Simple rules * Very chancedependent * Especially for
fans of the topic
Compares to:
Collecting tiles by comparing dice results
Other editions:
Currently none
Designer: Kris Gould
Artist: Mike Raabe
Price: ca. 40 Euro
Publisher: Wattsalpoag 2015
Railway, logistics
Users: With friends
Version: multi
Rules: de en es fr
In-game text: yes
Not too complicated rules
* Well suited for beginners,
too * And yet enough tactic
for a more experienced
player * Language-dependent included components
in four languages
Compares to:
Railway games with logistics
Other editions:
Currently none
The game comprises three dice
and a wooden puck of one color
for each player and nine target
cardboard discs in three different colors. Dice are flicked onto
those discs in order to win the
discs. At the start of the game
any three discs are laid out, with
a distance of about one dice
width between them. Each player takes his dice and puts them
as a tower on his puck. Those
dice towers must have at least
two disc width distance from
the target discs.
The game is played over several rounds, in each round each
player uses all three of his dice.
In your turn you snip the top die
in your tower and it stays where
it ends up unless one of the following situations occurs: 1) Foul
– the die rolls off the table or
several dice fall of the tower or
The Battle at Kemble’s Cascade
is the adaptation of a video / arcade game into a board game.
Space pilots fly their ships
through space, complete missions, destroy aliens, space ships
and bosses and acquire alien
The scrolling screen of the arcade game is simulated by constantly changing rows of cards,
there are always five rows on
display with three or four cards
each. In the rounds of the game
you decide if you Fight or Power
Down, always with the aim to
own most Glory at the end from
completed missions, achievements and destroyed ships. At
first you determine turn order
with sensor cards, then you can
– if you choose the Fight option
- move one step in any direction and resolve the target card
the die slides instead of rolling;
the die always goes underneath
the puck of its owner. 2) Targets,
the die touches the center of a
discs and wins the disc. The die
goes underneath its puck. 3)
Double – if the die and another
die of the same color on the
table form a double, the owner
can take back one of them on
the tower to flick again.
If you hit discs underneath opposing pucks, you take them.
When all dice have been played,
discs under your puck turn into
discs you won. Discs from the
middle showing a pip majority
in a color are placed beneath
the puck of this player. For a new
round you replenish the discs in
the middle to three. If you have
won four discs, you win the
game. Variants are listed.
A nice dexterity game with rules
that sound complicated, but
are easy to implement in play;
the game is good fun and plays
quickly – nice family entertainment as a filler. þ
or fire orthogonally and damage the first obstacle in the line
of fire. Targets not completely
destroyed get their full energy
back. Ships start with Energy
5, if it drops to 0 the ship is destroyed and can be re-entered
into the game. If you choose
the Power Down option, you
recharge energy, buy upgrades
and resolve Threats. When all
had their turn, the bottom row
of cards is removed and a new
row is added on top. Glory is acquired by completing missions,
achievements and destroying
All in all, this game offers a wellmade simulation with a clever
mix of mechanisms, albeit without the hectic of the arcade
game, but with an attractive
adaptation of flight maneuvers
and screen scrolling. Despite
the shooter theme many Glory
points come from so-called
Achievements, which you master for Glory. And sometimes
it can be a clever move to “Die”
for lots of Glory and re-enter the
ship again. þ
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Designer: Wilfried Fort
Artist: Tony Rochon
Price: ca. 15 Euro
Publisher: Blackrock Games 15
Flicking, dexterity
Users: For families
Version: multi
Rules: en fr nl
In-game text: no
Rules sound complicated
* Yet play is easily understood * Nice, well-working,
fun family game
Compares to:
Other flicking games
Other editions:
Currently none
Designer: A. and O. Tyland
Artist: C. Quilliams, P. Guérin
Price: ca. 23 Euro
Publisher: Z-Man Games 2015
SciFi, conflict
Users: With friends
Version: de
Rules: de en
In-game text: yes
Adaptation of a video
game * Flair of the arcade
nicely transported * Clever
mechanism details * Good
for seasoned players
Compares to:
SciFi conflicts with a shooter topic
Other editions:
English edition a Z-Man Games
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
We travel through the feudal
Japan of ancient times, following the reputed Tokaido, the
old road leading from Kyoto to
Edo that takes us through magnificent landscapes, and enjoying culinary specialties and
unforgettable encounters. The
player in last position is the active player for a turn, moves any
distance and resolves the effects
of the spot where he finishes his
move. When all travelers have
arrived at Edo, you score for donations to temples and achievement cards for Gourmet, Baths,
Encounters and Souvenirs; on
the road you can acquire an
achievement card for Panorama. The game includes variants
for a simple game, a return journey or a more tactical arrival at
the Inn.
The Matsuri expansion intro-
Players sort themselves into four
to six teams of one to three players of even size. The reader of
the round takes the card holder
with question cards and the
blank card tile; each team takes
a pen, a betting board and betting chips. Players jointly choose
a letter for the questions.
The question reader of the
round takes the foremost question card, covering its back with
the blank card, and then reads
the question corresponding to
the chosen letter. The answer
to each question is a number; all
teams now write down a number secretly on their betting
board; then all answers are revealed simultaneously and the
tips are sorted in ascending order. Now all teams decide where
to place the betting chips; they
should go to the number that
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
duces traditional Japanese Festivals to the game and can only
be played in combination with
Tokaido and the Tokaido Crossroads expansion.
Matsuri also introduces 16 new
traveler cards which you can
shuffle together with the travelers from the core game and
Crossroads and then choose
your traveler form three instead
of two, or you can directly select
your favorite traveler. When all
travelers have arrived at an intermediate inn, a festival is triggered. The traveler who reached
the inn first, draws two Matsuri
cards and chooses one of them.
The other one is put back to the
bottom of the stack. The chosen
card is instantly implemented, it
yields advantages for all travelers or some of them. The new
travelers also have unique abilities.
Matsuri is yet another exceptionally beautiful expansion, it
is a pleasure to only look at the
card and take your time to select
your preferred traveler. þ
is closed to the correct answer,
but lower than the answer; you
can also bet on your answer or
split the chips between two answers or place them on Top &
Then the betting chips are
revealed and the answer is
named. Top tip of the round is
the answer closest to the correct one, but lower – points are
scored by the team that game
the tip and to those who did bet
on it. When all answers of the
round are higher than the correct one, the top tip of the round
is the Top & Flop board. In round
7 you use victory points in your
bet and then win with most
points. But there is a snag! Victory points that you do not bet
with in round 7 are forfeit!
A cute idea, the individual
mechanisms are all pretty much
standard, but nicely combined.
You can decide to go for the „experts“ or follow your own gut
feeling to accrue as many points
as possible. A very nice addition
to the range of quiz and trivia
games. þ
Color codes, target groups, features, icons and GABIS are
explained on page 5 and at the bottom of pages 46 and 47
Designer: Antoine Bauza
Artist: Naïade
Price: ca. 20 Euro
Publisher: Funforge 2015
Traveling, events
Users: For families
Version: en
Rules: en
In-game text: no
Second expansion for Tokaido * Needs basic game
and expansion Crossroads
to play * Again exceptionally beautiful graphics
Compares to:
Tokaido and Tokaido Crossroads
Other editions:
Currently none
Designer: Dominic Crapuchettes
Artist: O. and S. Freudenreich
Price: ca. 35 Euro
Publisher: Kosmos 2015
Party, quiz
Users: With friends
Version: de
Rules: de en es pt
In-game text: yes
Standard mechanisms
* Unusual final round
conditions * Based on Wits
& Wagers
Compares to:
All quiz game with guessing at numbers
Other editions:
North Star Games
Galactic colonization in 30 minutes. You choose a galaxy and
can use two ships and four dice
at the start of the game. Planetary cards in relation to the
number of players are laid out
and you choose one of two secret orders.
The active player takes dice according to the development
level of his empire; dice results
provide action options for acti-
vation, not all dice must be activated in a turn. You can re-roll
inactivated dice at any time, one
time for free, further rerolls must
be paid for. To use an action option you place the die on the
first free case of the command
center and implement the action. When the action has been
implemented, all other players
can copy it for payment of one
Culture unit. Possible actions
Crossword in two colors – the
game features 96 double sided
letter tiles, one side black, one
side red. You choose a color.
Players agree on a maximum
size for the crossword and can
use the timer for their turns.
The first player draws 12 letters
as general pool, if there is now
vowel you set aside four letters
and draw four new ones. Then
he forms as many words or as
long ones as possible with letters from the pool, turned over
to his color, in standard crossword manner.
The other player replenishes
the pool by drawing letters,
again there must be at least one
vowel, and then forms words in
his turn, in his color. If you can,
by adding one or more letters,
change the meaning of a word
in your opponent’s color, you
Move ship - land on a planet or
orbit a planet; Receive resources
- energy or culture – for each
ship on a planet or orbiting a
planet with the corresponding
symbol; ; Progress at colonization with economy or diplomacy, when progress is complete,
the planet is colonized; Use
colony by implementing the action of the galaxy card or of one
of your colonies. Transform die –
set aside to inactivated dice and
turn another inactivated die to
the side of your choice. When
someone has 21 points, the
game end is triggered and you
win at the end of the round with
most points from planets, development level and completed
secret order.
The only thing that might be
called standard in this game is
the topic; the implementation
of the game and the depth of
the game as regards to tactic
and the clever use of components are astonishing, even
more so as the rules are rather
simple and easily explained. þ
turn over the word to your color.
Once in a game you can use
your exchange Joker and remove up to six letters from the
pool, draw as many new ones
and put the letters you removed
back into the box.
At the end of his turn you as the
active player must have at least
one more letter in his color in
the crossword than his opponent. If you cannot manage that
your opponent has won.
A challenging game with simple
rules, taking over words is the
central element – the rules only
allow changes of meaning, simply forming the plural version
of the word is not enough! The
rule book gives lots of examples
on how to take over words. The
four sides of the box also show
examples! One draw-back: the
game can end very quickly
when there are no suitable letters in the pool, even after using
the joker. But you can play another game, because it is such
fun to cleverly steal words. þ
WIN The Games Journal now also available as eBook!
For all information on that check our website.
Designer: Scott Almes
Artist: William Bricker
Price: ca. 27 Euro
Publisher: Schwerkraftverlag 15
Development, dice-driven
Users: With friends
Version: de
Rules: cz de en it
In-game text: yes
Minimalistic box and components * Excellent game
with lots of depth despite
rather easy rules * Absolutely recommendable
Compares to:
Other games in the series Tiny Epic
…, games with dice-driven action
Other editions:
Devir (announced), Gamelyn, Giochix,
Designer: Alex Randolph
Artist: Steffen Mühlhäuser + Team
Price: ca. 16 Euro
Publisher: Steffen Spiele 2015
Users: With friends
Version: de
Rules: de
In-game text: no
New edition * First edition
Otto Maier Verlag Ravensburg, 1975 * Unusual winning condition * Game can
be over quickly * Rather
Compares to:
First edition of Wörterklauer, other
crossword games
Other editions:
Currently none
ISSUE 488 / JANUARY 2016
Publisher: Noris Spiele
Publisher: moses. Verlag
Designer: Johannes Bartels
Publisher: : F-Hein Spiele
Designer: Ferdinand Hein
The game features 18 Bingo cards with numbers in different
distribution as well as numbered Bingo balls and 150 markers in
five colors.You take one or several bingo cards and fill the barrel
with all balls. The game master turns the barrel, reads out the
number of the ball that fell out and places the ball on tho board.
Players cover this number with one of their chips if they find the
number on their card or cards. Whoever can cover a horizontal,
vertical or diagonal line of numbers first, calls “Bingo” and wins
the round.
Version: multi * Rules: de en fr it * In-game text: no
The story teller is called the arbiter, he reads the story on the
front of the card. The other players are his people and may pose
any questions, but must pose them in a way that the arbiter
can answer with yes or now. The arbiter can give hints or deviate players from totally wrong assumptions. The answer on the
back of the card is the only correct and acceptable solution. This
edition tells 50 stories from the Bible where you can find many
morbid, black-as-night stories in the Old and New Testament,
from the Garden of Eden to the Resurrection of Jesus. And sometimes the stories even have a Happy End.
Version: de * Rules: de * In-game text: yes
Small – 7 cm square – but sophisticated and elegant, featuring
only 12 cards. Those 12 cards show one colored ball both on
front and back side of the card; there are 24 balls in total, three
balls each in eight colors. In your turn you turn over one card
and are not allowed to turn back over the card your opponent
turned in his last move. If you manage to reveal three balls of the
same color with your card, you score one point. The first player
to score five points wins the game.
Version: de * Rules: de * In-game text: no
Chance and reaction game for 2-6 players, ages 6+
Narrative deduction game for 2 or more players, ages 12+
Memo game for 2 players, ages 7+
Publisher: Mayfair Games
Designer: Klaus Teuber
Publisher: ASS Altenburger 2015
20 years of The Settlers of Catan and a relaunch under the new
name of Catan. Catan is threatened by Barbarians while players rival to expand a city to a metropolis using wares for new
development cards. When the barbarians are not defeated, they
pillage a city belonging to the player who supplied the fewest
knights for the defense. This expansion for Settlers of Catan
transfers many elements from the card game to the board game.
As all other expansions, Cities & Knights can only be played
together with the basic game.
Version: en * Rules: en * In-game Text: yes
Card game with App. As Empire or Rebels you fight for territories
on Lothal; if you win a battle you conquer a territory. Battles
are won by comparing card strenth and having the highest
strength. A territory is on display, then all players put down one
or two cards facedown and reveal them simultaneously – when
all abilities of characters chosen correspond to the territory, the
higher card value counts, otherwise the lower one. The winner
takes all cards that were played and the territory; all replenish
their hand from their deck and a new territory is laid out. Whoever wins four territories, wins the game.
Version: de * Rules: de * In-game text: yes
Expansion for Catan for 3-4 players, ages 12+
Card game with App für 2-4 players, ages 7+
Publisher: Amigo Spiele
Designer: Haim Shafir
Publisher: Heidelberger Spieleverlag
Designer: Eric M. Lang
Publisher: Game Factory
Designer: Martin Nedergaard Andersen
Cards show 1 to 4 Smileys in six different kinds, the red Smiley
as a duffer is only depicted on dice. 15 cards are stacked facedown, you turn up three of them showing a minimum of five
Smileys. You roll and place at least one suitable Smiley on a
card in the display or that of a player and can repeat this. If you
cannot place a Smiley, your turn ends. When you have covered
all Smileys on a card, you take it and lay it out open-faced; at
the start of your next turn you can turn it over and thus secure
it. When all cards have been taken, you score 1 point for each
Smiley and you win with most points.
Version: multi * Rules: de en fr * In-game text: no
Dice game for 2-6 players, ages 6+
Publisher: Beleduc 2015
There are cups in five colors, 24 task cards and a bell. You have
one cup per color. On the task cards other images represent
those cups. The top task card is revealed and, depending on the
image, you line up the cups or stack them in correct order: For
birds in a tree, you stack them, for cars you line them up. When
you are done, you hit the bell: If your arrangement is correct, you
take the card. When all 24 cards have been played, you win with
most cards. The Fan Edition comprises 6 boosters with five cards
each, created in national championships for Speed Cups. The
cards are shuffled into the core game.
Version: de * Rules: de * In-game text: no
Rebels vs. Empire, using objective cards with missions and player
cards for units, events, enforcement and fate, five player cards per
objective cards, you choose objectives. You lay out cards, attack
opposing objectives and defend your own or play cards for Force. The
Empire wins when the Death Star Dial arrives at 12. The Rebels must
destroy three Empire objectives before the Empire wins.
Renegaten-Staffel /Rogue Squadron is the third cycle of Force Packs,
comprising Force Packs Startklar/Ready for Takeoff, Lockvogel/Draw
Their Fire, Ausweichmanöver/Evasive Manouvers, Angriffsflug/Attack
Run, Befehlskette/Chain of Command and Auf Lichtgeschwindigkeit/
Jump to Lightspeed. Version: de * Rules: de en es fr * In-game text: yes
Tell Me is a new series of games that examines important topics
in a way suitable for young children. Each box features six topics
on five picture cards with identical color frames, presenting the
safe and self-reliant behavior in emergency situations. All players
together sort the image cards into the correct sequence, the
backside of the cards allows for an easy self-check. Each behavioral situation is described in the booklet, cards are explained
and the correct behavior is documented. The box Verantwortung
comprises the topics of Consideration, Civic or Moral Courage,
Self-Reliance, Helpfulness, Responsibility and Caring.
Version: multi * Rules: cn de en es fr it nl * In-game text: no
Expansion for Speed Cups for 2-4 players, ages 6+
Expansion for Star Wars LCG game for 2 players, ages 10+
Educational game for 1 or more players, ages 4+
Color codes for target groups (Headline Color)
For children + learn
With friends
For families
For experts
Color codes for features (Bar in Evalution box)
(Photo: Franz Svoboda - Impressions of the Spielefest 2015 at the Austria Center Vienna)
Offenlegung nach dem Mediengesetz: Medieninhaber, Eigentümer, Verleger und Hersteller: Verein „Österreichisches Spiele Museum“,
vertreten durch Obfrau Dipl. Ing. Dagmar de Cassan, Raasdorferstrasse 28, 2285 Leopoldsdorf im Marchfelde, Österreich, Telefon 02216-7000,
mail-to: [email protected], Internet: - - Chefredakteur: Dipl.Ing. Dagmar de Cassan
Blattlinie: Die Blattlinie ist die Meinung aller Redakteure, freien Mitarbeitern und Gastautoren. Die Spiele zur Erstellung der Rezensionen stellt
das Österr. Spiele Museum für die Dauer der Arbeit kostenlos zur Verfügung. Niemand erhält Sach-,Service-, Geldleistungen von den Verlagen.
(Alle nicht namentlich gekennzeichneten Rezensionen zu den Spielen sind von Dagmar de Cassan)
English Edition Version 1.0
Copyright (c) 2016 by Spielen in Österreich
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Icon explanation
Solo Play
GABIS explanation on page 5
Two Players
Large Groups
Recommended Minimum Age
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