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Hab & Gut
if no image, probably out of print
"Goods and Chattels" is the latest entry in the hobby's long history of stocks and shares games. But in accord with the present age, it's no longer enough to make the most money. As in the later Livingstone, one must also donate to charity since the lowest donor is disqualified. Curiously, in both the amounts donated are secret – hardly thematic as normally donations are accompanied
by large amounts of publicity. But it does make for a more random, uncertain and guesstimating game of bluff. Players may buy and sell any of the stocks, which begin on a level playing field, but the performance of the various companies is based on cards played to send prices up and down. And there's a twist. Between each pair of players is a wooden card holder just large enough to stand a hand of overlapped cards. During card playing rounds each player in turn chooses one from either side. Tactically, the situation is similar to Palmyra (Buy Low, Sell High) where the key initial realization is that any negative cards one holds will not be played; thus, one should begin investing in the stock(s) for which the most negative points are held. In this way with a little luck one quickly gains allies, i.e. those holding the positive cards for these stocks. "Luck" because not all cards are in play; those needed might be stuck in the deck. But if not, one can watch one's holdings grow and grow and then when they appear to have peaked, sell and torpedo the stock. Of course as the game proceeds, the reverse can work also: start by lowering the stock and hold back the cards which would let it climb. But there's a definite fragility in the implementation here because it requires that one's neighbors understand and share the approach. They should do so because basically they can benefit from it just as much, but there is always the possibility that – for whatever reason – they will not. Then all of one's plans can go for nought and both players suffer. So appreciating this one requires the ability to tolerate considerable intrusion of others in one's choices. It's not nearly as bad as in Die Hanse where both are trying to sail a single ship in diametrically different directions, but it's there. It also doesn't have a very thematic business performance system such as one finds in James Clavell's Noble House, but then it doesn't have that game's often unfair "take that!" cards either. Special mention should be made of the award-nominated presentation. Besides the wooden racks, there is a long green board with largish pawns as well as a lot of beautifully-illustrated cards. There is paper money, but it looks so good that some national currencies might be jealous. Rules and systems are straightforward; playing time is around three-quarters of an hour and it works well with five players, which is becoming rarer these days. It's less something for shares fans than an oddly different kind of challenge. To date, only published in Germany.
MMHH6 (Strategy: Medium; Theme: Medium; Tactics: High; Evaluation: High; Personal Rating: 6)
Carlo A. Rossi; Winning Moves Deutschland-2008; 3-5 [Buy it]
if no image probably out of print
Buy it: Amazon ·
Tichu is quite a popular card game hereabouts and this site even runs an annual tournament for it. So the gravitational pull from this version for two or three players was rather strong. In deciding what to preserve from the original game, its creator accomplished three insights: (1) playing the most powerful cards, i.e. bombs and the dragon, is more interesting when you have to give away the trick; in fact, making players give tricks captured via bomb, as is the case here, would be a good change to make in regular Tichu; (2) having bombs is fun, so each player starts with a couple before play; (3) having lots of options for how to combine cards is fun so these are increased. So far so good, mostly. In particular having a bomb all the time makes it less fun and it becomes clear that a big part of the fun of a bomb is missing, that fact that no one else knows you have it. It's also kind of fiddly fishing out the Jack, Queen and King cards that form bombs out of the tricks at the end of every hand. Tichu tropes that are missing include card passing which is a little disappointing and not having partners, but that's more your fault for not getting four than the game's. There are four suits and no aces. Since all of the face cards are special and wild, the normal strong card is the 10. Bombs can also be formed from the combination 3-5-7-9 if all four cards are of different suits (the weakest bomb) or if all four cards are the same suit (the strongest bomb). Discerning such a bomb in the hand isn't easy, at least not at first, simply because the combination is hard to spot regardless of whether the hand is organized by rank (recommended) or by suit. The cards are sparingly and simply illustrated, but have a certain quaintness for all that, and are of reasonable physical quality. This is Tichu in feeling only, but nevertheless engaging and challenging, it being far from immediately obvious how to play well. In fact it is another notch up in the complexity scale which has been a problem for some of our players. By the way, since this has no special cards it is easy to make a "try before buy" using traditional cards, but if you like it you'll want the real thing because the point values are printed on the cards. [Frequently Played]
LLMM6 (Strategy: Low; Theme: Low; Tactics: Medium; Evaluation: Medium; Personal Rating: 7)
Sean Ross; Indie Boards and Cards-2010; 2-3
Halma (Stern-Halma, Star-Halma, Chinese Checkers)
Abstract invented in the 1880's Britain was originally played on a square grid and later adapted to a six-pointed star pattern. As far as I can determine, there is actually no actual connection with China, the qualifier being used to denote a "weird" version of the usual game. Strange, because actually the word halma means "jump", not in Chinese, but Greek. Has a problem in that one player can unilaterally "break" the game by parking one of his own pieces in someone else's destination. But it is great fun to plan and execute very long and complicated jump patterns. First published by E.I. Horsman of New York in an 1885 version which could only accommodate at most four players. Milton Bradley claims to have procured rights from the inventor and was much later granted copyright on that basis. The Chinese Checkers version was granted a US patent in 1941. Old versions are collectible mostly depending on the quality of their marbles. Only the later versions offer the six-pointed version which could be played by up to six. [Buy it at Amazon]
Halunken und Spelunken
Fairly quick game about a ship captain haunting taverns in order to shanghai sailors. The taverns are arranged in a circle and three would-be sailors are found in each. Players each have an identical set of cards with which to move their captains and it is usually obvious to which spot each one wants to move, but the trouble is that the slowest movers always go first and moreover, can bump any they land on. Trying to figure out all of the results in advance can be quite a challenge. In addition, players not only want to get the higher-numbered sailors, but also to collect a set of the same color and prevent others from doing same. An absorbing game with an appropriate look. A variant with a randomly moving captain called "Black Jack" is not recommended for the serious as it destroys much of the planning.
Alex Randolph; 1997
if no image, probably out of print
The latest in the games using the rondel system (Neuland, Antike, Imperial) returns from the military theme and takes up the topic of cathedral building. It's surprising, by the way, how popular this topic has been over the years in games such as Krieg und Frieden, Keythedral, Pillars of the Earth and others. This time, however, it's not a single cathedral, but a series of them, each of them comprising five distinct stages. Each stage requires an increasing number of materials, which a player must purchase in a non-building round. Very cleverly, only the last step requires a bell – represented by an actual small, metal bell – the purchase of which is the tip-off of a player's intentions. Besides the five cathedrals there are many other features. Players can take over pre-printed buildings around the city map which must be done in an ever-expanding network, at least until a player completes his first cathedral. A primary function of buildings is to produce one of three types of products, which are later sold to earn the money that goes into the wood and brick that are needed to advance cathedrals. Product price is indicated by a market whose prices, interestingly, only go down, one level per building created. Shipping is an important aspect of selling as a player may only ship units depending on the number and capacities of the ships he owns. Ships tend to lose capacity as time goes on since new ships force older ones to lower capacity positions. Other buildings provide various special effects and eventually these replace products as a source of income, but perhaps their most important aspect is the interaction with cathedral scoring. Completing a fifth of a cathedral grants a tile which gives a scoring bonus. The first tile is a flat bonus, but the rest tend to depend on the player's holdings. The number of ships or a particular type of building is multiplied by the tile value to score at the time the player chooses. A player can only hold back one tile of each type, however, so timing is clearly an important situation. I see this primarily as an opportunistic evaluative game. Winning is not really a matter of picking a strategy to follow, but of looking around for available opportunities and judging the best one. Maybe a particular action would generate, say, four victory points, but perhaps by looking around you can find another that yields five. This is the sort of decisionmaking that mostly applies. Tactically, by the way, since after the first cathedral segment a player may choose from any of the four remaining tiles the second tile is one of the two best to take: it's cheaper and there are more options. The other best choice is the fifth tile since there are considerable bonuses for finishing. The game setting is medieval Hamburg – its Latin name providing the title – with the reverse side showing Londinium (London). The city used does not appear to make a great difference in play. The artwork is attractively realized, there are components galore and the communication design is nicely realized as well. Duration tends to be rather over an hour.
LMHH5 (Strategy: Low; Theme: Medium; Tactics: High; Evaluation: High; Personal Rating: 5)
Mac Gerdts; Eggert-Spiele-2007; 2-5; 90
Multi-player game by Fragor, the bits fans who brought us Shear Panic. This time the very cute bits are rats, a cat and the Pied Piper of legend. In the hamlet of Hameln families seem to have two main interests: making money and breeding. The former they achieve by choosing a work action where their father figures are, thus producing goods that are sold during a later action. But working has side effects. For one, it generates rats, too many of which eventually loses the house. For the house's mother figure, working also generates a child, of random gender. When children of both genders arrive in the town, one of their owners can have them marry, which is a way for one player to make another out of pocket as it's the male who pays for the house. Besides the two main activities there are also side games such as the chance to buy victory points or to employ the cat or buy the piper's attention. When it comes to victory points, it seems like an English school of game design is forming since as in Richard Breese games, one feels the desire for a spreadsheet in order to optimize performance over the many categories. But many of the sub-systems here are quite charming, especially the way that actions have side effects and the way bringing rats to one's house affects the neighbors. But somehow the overall architecture does not feel quite right. Some features such as the influence wheel and many of the houses can go unused. Often too the optional actions are not appetizing enough to use. Maybe the most disturbing of these admittedly minor issues is that a lot of what a player can do can be determined by the type of children he happens to draw, particularly if it happens to get extremely skewed. For example, a player drawing almost all females can probably win fairly easily by occupying many houses paid for by others. It's not just the luck that can be a problem, but also that a player can have too few reasonable choices. (I suspect that community ratings on this one will have a higher standard deviation than most simply depending on how much luck has happened to enter into the various playings.) My surmise is that the game might not have had enough development and playtesting time; otherwise there would be some measures to try to keep matters in tighter control. Still, it's not overly long and the pieces are truly wonderful. The board could be a bit less garish and cluttered, perhaps sporting a more rustic look instead.
LHMM6 (Strategy: Low; Theme: High; Tactics: Medium; Evaluation: Medium; Personal Rating: 6)
Hanabi & Ikebana
In the cooperative game players do not compete against one another, but only cooperate to accomplish some goal. Since in such affairs the competition, often being nothing more than the order in which cards emerge from a deck, has no intelligence or psychological edge, rather than "game", "activity" seems the appropriate term. Another typical problem is that at least one player feels they know best what to do and becomes the director of activities, which tends to reduce the fun not only for others, but for the director as well. Having a tendency to be such a director, this reviewer is no fan. But this is a short and simple card game – how much trouble could it cause? Actually only is such a game, the Ikebana competitive game Using the same cards not yet having been tried. Hanabi resembles Indian Poker or Code 777 where players see all other holdings, but not their own, continually displaying four to five hand cards. The Japanese title from the French inventor of 7 Wonders means "fireworks" as players try to complete the high tension affair of five different fireworks launchings (represented by five suits). To do so in each suit they need to play first a "1" card, then the "2", then the "3", etc. all the way up to "5". The fifty-card deck has fewer cards available as ranks grow higher. Players may only play their own cards, but must follow the rules; playing out of sequence earns an error chip and the table may only accumulate two before ending in failure. On a turn one either plays a card, discards one or imparts information to another, but in a tricky and clever way. One can point out either rank or suit, but must point out every card of that rank or suit. From just this bare information, the recipient must work out what to do; it's often far from obvious. Each bit of information given, however, expends one of a finite number of blue chips so it is vital to be as efficient as possible. It's true that discarding a card gets a blue chip back, but since play ends when the deck runs out, going past thirteen or so discards makes winning impossible. Important to good play are that each player ensure that the next two players are provided for, i.e. have something to do and won't be forced to discard at random, which has the potential of losing something vital. This is a small package affair so there was no room for card racks, but such would be quite useful as the hand tires. Holders from 10 Days in Europe seem to work well. The artwork is a bit bland, especially considering the topic. For those who dislike the cooperative genre there is no relief here; it's still frustrating when you know what needs to be done, but others don't see it and so things go wrong. It doesn't really prevent anyone from being a director either. The only saving graces are the short playing time and simplicity. On the other hand, this does seem to please a lot of players, especially the more intuitive set and those who often otherwise do not enjoy strategy games. If you do try it, some house rules may help. Players should feel free to rotate or change the positions of cards to help them remember what they have been told and players should also be free to remind others of what they have already been told. It's difficult enough without needing to be a memory game as well. Re-published later in 2010 as just Hanabi by Asmodee, Abacus and Cocktail Games. [Spiel des Jahres Winner] [Frequently Played]
LMML5 (Strategy: Low; Theme: Medium; Tactics: Medium; Evaluation: Low; Personal Rating: 5)
Antoine Bauza; Les XII Singes-2010; 2-5; 25; 8+
Card game somewhat reminiscent of Casino though much simpler feels like it is mostly random. The challenge of remembering which card goes with which is greater than any strategic consideration. The card sets look wonderful, however. Translation: "Flower Cards".
Hand and Foot
Traditional card game of the Canasta family does not really add anything to this type of game, but lessens the experience by forcing players to deal with a nightmare five decks and unendingly numerous points.
Händler, Die (Merchants of the Middle Ages)
Trade and negotiation game has some interesting features such as individual player powers and dilemmas about what actions to take, but in the end appears to be a carousel ride. Very physically attractive and all of the things happening on the board are very interesting to watch, but the player feels very little control of his horse. Particularly problematic are the blind bidding and draw of the free "status upgrade" cards. Beware some translations into English which introduce errors.
Personal Rating: 5
Richard Ulrich & Wolfgang Kramer; Filosofia Editions-1999; 2-4
Händler von Genua, Die (Traders of Genoa, Genoa)
In the German Baroque era was invented the Wunderkammer (chamber of wonders), a collection of, say, a unicorn's horn, a Greek statue, singing roosters of precious metal, clocks with a procession of little figures that paraded at noon and much, much more. With this title one can now play the board game equivalent of such a marvel. Here is a game of collecting cards linking board spaces, another of using wares to fulfill contracts, another of placing tokens to connect two spaces and yet another of owning properties and earning rents, all running at the same time. And it is all negotiable! Nor is this all. Poking in here and there are special tiles which permit players to "break" the usual rules à la Cosmic Encounter. It's not surprising with so many mechanisms that any feeling of Renaissance trading companies has been lost. The player is clearly to take comfort in the many strategic options. But how well pursuit of a strategy can work is an open question. The player turn begins with a dice roll to determine the placement of a token stack. Then the player extends this stack up to five squares, direction being based on the concessions he can wrangle from his fellows. As the space that a player needs may not even be reachable, he tends to find that often he either does nothing or becomes involved in the other types of strategies to the distraction of his original goal. In addition, the opportunity to concentrate on some paths is made more difficult by the fact that building ownerships can only come from the Cathedral (why is the bishop in charge of title deeds?) which itself is owned by a player. It would have seemed that strategy would have been reinforced had ownership been tied more to the place of benefit rather than all stemming from one place. This would permit the player to use, for example, the post office, even when no token landed there. Instead, the owner of the Cathedral tends to monopolize all properties. The overall effect is to make skillful play more opportunistic than long-term. Players wary of negotiation games should know that there is a lot of it. Every player turn includes a negotiation with every other player as a rule. Many of these are rather perfunctory – "I'll pay you 5 ducats to use the post office" – opening the question of whether the wide openness of the negotiation system is truly worth all of the trouble and extra time it requires. With players who want to carve up intricate deals, matters could conceivably take a long time to conclude, although the built-in geographical nature of things tends to reduce this. Overall, should be appealing to players with a sharp eye for the value of everything, like negotiation and enjoy lots of little buttons and whistles to play with. Invented by Rüdiger Dorn, unexpectedly also the creator of Zauberberg by Ravensburger. Games of the Italian Renaissance]
Die hängenden Gärten (The Hanging Gardens)
if no image probably out of print
There isn't much here to do with the famous hanging gardens of Babylon, but much ado about drafting, placement and set collection. This publisher is known for changing inventor's themes – perhaps this was the case here as well? Each player begins with a blank playing card, subdivided into six squares. A turn begins new cards for drafting being revealed. Each of these contains one to four symbols, often more than one of the same. A player must take a drafted card and place it so that all symbols overlay another card (regardless of whether any older symbols get covered). Should an orthogonally-connected group total three squares or more, a palace can be placed and a square scoring tile claimed. The larger the group, the better the choice of tiles. Reminiscent of Volle Wolle, these reward their collection in various ways. One series gives a good value for having just one tile, but grows only slightly for the second and third. Another begins at zero and grows steeply. Then there are leader tiles whose values depend on the number of corresponding tiles owned. And so on. The aforementioned palace piece both obstructs future cards and introduces the inhibition that new cards may not utilize existing symbols unless they are no longer connected to their palace. This leads to the technique of trying to form groups roughly in an L-shape with the palace being placed at the end of the short bar. Then if a card can overlay the corner of the L, the symbols of the long bar are once again available for use. It's not easy to describe and even harder to realize. The other main decision point is whether to score a group immediately or wait until it can grow larger. This decision point may be a bit too weak as only rarely does anyone bother to wait. Speaking of that, there's can be a fair amount of downtime and a tendency to become a "grandmother game", i.e. a game in which someone tries every single possible combination before deciding. As there's not that much interaction, this can become dull. As a partial remedy, the next first player, after having taken his turn, can draw and privately examine the next set of cards. There is sometimes some interaction in terms of taking tiles that an opponent wants, but not a great deal. The artwork, especially on the tiles, is especially attractive, though more indianesque than bayblonian, including quite a nice-lookinng tiger. Overall, this is an example of the kind of low conflict affair which is not without its challenges and which can be used to attract those who find games too competitive.
Din Li; Hans-im-Glück/Rio Grande; 2008; 2-4
LLMH6 (Strategy: Low; Theme: Low; Tactics: Medium; Evaluation: High; Personal Rating: 6) [Buy it at Amazon]
Traditional word game in which one player must guess letters of a word one by one without missing too often. It helps both players to know the relative frequence rates of letters, which varies depending on how one tabulates it, but in English is something like ETAONRISH...
Hansa (Hanse)
Michael Schacht game of late-medieval merchants trading in the Baltic Sea, a topic previously visited by Die Hanse and Kogge. This isn't really a merchant game as there is only one ship which players take turns moving almost wholly to their own benefit. When the ship stops in a port, only the active player may buy a good, trade one in for a depot or consume a depot to make a sale. Moreover, the ship's movement is restricted by one-way paths, including one over land. Since a lot of points come from depot presence in every port, this plus healthy sales can be a path to victory. Another may be to make a few big sales and trying to end play quickly. But really, decisions are mostly tactical. Almost all of the game state is board state and that changes so dramatically when it is not your turn that there's little point in planning, making downtime a bit prosaic. This even applies to three-player outings, so make sure all your opponents are speedy ones. The graphics remind of Die Hanse and are very attractive, but the publishers have opted for beauty over clarity. The details of the options and scoring are not so simple that they don't deserve to be printed somewhere on the game materials. One of our players forgot them several times in his first game. The publishers' choice is puzzling because this will really only appeal to the audience for lighter games, just the group who can use some play aids. After all, just because the help guide isn't given doesn't mean it isn't needed. Symbolic language could have been used to support the multiple languages of the release. A tip when playing this game. Because of the open nature of it, and the extreme need to count, there take backs are frequent. To ease reconstructing the recent past, every time the ship moves, place the coin paid on the route itself. When the player makes a purchase, place the coin on the office of the player purchased from (or the city if none). These two simple steps make a surprising amount of difference. For a later trading game also by Michael Schacht, see Valdora.
Hansa Teutonica
if no image, probably out of print
This inventor has a talent for tightly-integrated conceptualizations. It's the development of the ideas that have not always gone as well as might be hoped. In Kogge the mechanisms for many became a bit overwhelming while the blind bidding turned some off from The Great Whisky Race But this time the idea has matured into near perfect completion. Staying with his interest in northern climes, this time the map depicts the cities and towns of the south Baltic coast also seen in the seafaring ventures Hansa and Die Hanse. But this time the action is terrestrial as pieces are placed to complete trade routes. Completion requires that a player own every piece in the two to four station route. Others may want to place on such a route because then a player may use an action to dislodge them which not only allows the "victim" to relocate this piece nearby but also to place a second piece from off map. Completing a route triggers several events. Those that are good for others include that the route is cleared and that those having pieces in the endpoint cities receive victory points. On the other hand the current player gets to add a piece to one of the endpoint cities or may take a special advantage should one be associated with that route. In addition the player takes any rule-breaking chip which has been placed on the route and at the end of the turn gets to draw and place a new one. Special advantages are mostly to do with improving player capabilites, e.g. number actions, number of pieces pulled from supply, victory point multiplier and level of office one can place. In effect then this is a technology tree to manage, or at least a set of bottlenecks to manage. There is also an area of the board that provides points in large installments should one invest there. Finally immediate points are provided for having a piece in every city of a pre-set very long route as well as end of game points for having majority control of cities in one's longest continuous route To top it all off, play is not completed after a set number of turns, but when someone reaches the magic number of points, adding to what it should already be quite apparent is a large number of interrelated factors to weigh and think about, as well as a variety of strategic paths to explore. Board and components are attractively realized and the communication design is pretty good, though some of the textless chips may be difficult to interpret. The board is two-sided depending on the number of players and looks to be well thought out in each case. There are a fair number of wooden pieces. Play usually lasts an hour or more. Possible detractions would be limited to three minor ones. One, there are chips which permit removing others' pieces, a pretty aggressive action that can annoy. Two, having the same starting chips in the same locations each time could lead to stylized play in the early game, though this probably wouldn't last long. Third, it's possible to shoot yourself in the foot by reducing your supply of pieces down to just two, which can be quite difficult to recover from. This should probably only happen to first timers, but it would have been better if there were a rule to save oneself from this as it can lead to the "I had a bad experience the first time so I'm never playing again" syndrome. The only other issue is that the instructions could have been clearer, but this is being addressed by on-line efforts. Overall this is relatively light on rules, yet good on approaches and options. While not for kids, this should appeal strongly to the experienced. [clarifications]
HMHM7 (Strategy: High; Theme: Medium; Tactics: High; Evaluation: Medium; Personal Rating: 7)
Andreas Steding; Argentum Verlag; 2009; 2-5
Hanse, Die
Gorgeously-illustrated game about sea trading in northern Europe. The unique feature of the game is also the source of many players' dislike of it. Each player owns a whole ship, but he gives half of it to the player on his left and the player on his right gives half a ship to him. On his turn, the player moves both of the ships in which he has an interest. The trouble is that the two players may not agree on the direction the ship should go. It does not rear its ugly head early, but later if a player looks like a winner, this can be quite frustrating and even result in a ship essentially spinning in a circle and not get anywhere. Important to play with reasonable players who can remain calm in the face of disappointment. Credit Frank Gerwin for wonderful period-feel graphics – his work is more often seen in role-playing games. [Traveling Merchant Games] [6-player Games] [variant] [rules translation] [Pirate Games]
Two-player card game with each player taking three sharks trying to find a square meal. The light, innovative topic is enhanced by attractive artwork. A little bit reminiscent of Halali! (Tally Ho!), but here most of the card locations are pre-programmed face down by the players. This gives more control, but does introduce an unwelcome memory element. Overall very tactical and the scoring system would seem to need more development, but not unpleasant. Also possible are a few weird stalemates which can prevent the game from ending. Title is a slangy reference meaning something like "mouthful" or "big bite". [Krimsus]
Hare and Tortoise (Hase und Igel, Haas en Schildpad)
David Parlett game in which players are all ostensibly hares, but may behave like tortoises. Tends to be a tactical race in which group think is important, but different strategies, e.g. go fast, go slow, rely on chance cards, are possible. (Chance cards are likely to hurt as much as help so should be used sparingly and usually only when needing a miracle.) Can be played at more than one level of sophistication and thus should appeal to a wide audience, although some find it overly mathematical. Hase und Igel and Haas en Schildpad are German and Dutch titles respectively. [Spiel des Jahres Winner] [6-player Games]
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone The Game
if no image, probably out of print
Movie tie-in games are usually a bad idea, but suppose you've been asked by some young fan to provide one anyway. Would this be a good choice? Provided are six square boards comprising six different sub-games and play proceeds from one to another in sequence. Game four, forgetting that there may be more than two players, is just Chess
or a simplified version thereof, both of which are too long for this setting. Most of the others, being simply roll-and-move affairs, are stunningly prosaic, only two offering even a scintilla of interest. "Sprout's Challenge" finds each player trapped inside some vines. Players have a hand of vine tiles which they can place to start freeing their own trap if they are adjacent to tiles already placed, but must place to an opponent's trap otherwise. It's mainly a matter of luck, but as the various vines are so similar it's a real pattern-matching challenge. The last one, "Snape's Challenge", is something of a gambling game in which players must guess whether or not they are holding the two lowest cards. Not much, but as good as it gets here. The overall would have been improved had each sub-game influenced the next, but for the most part they don't, or don't very much. Or maybe they do, but the instructions are so ambiguous about this and many other matters that none can be sure. Boards are 10x10" and seem to be made by a metallic paper, but they're quite thin and despite employing an interlocking puzzle technique, have trouble staying together. There are 117 cardboard chits, all made from cheap, thin cardboard and three card decks, also not very nice. The best things are the character cards with plastic stands, but they're too large for the spaces. The best thing to do with this, another shining star in the University Games universe, even should you find it for two dollars in your local thrift shop, is to avoid. If there is a good Harry Potter game out there, this is not the one.
LMLL3 (Strategy: Low; Theme: Medium; Tactics: Low; Evaluation: Low; Personal Rating: 3)
(unknown); University Games; 2000; 2-4; 8+ [Amazon]
Hart an der Grenze
"Hard by the Border" makes smugglers out of the players, but all take turns as the opposing customs official each round. The latter's job is to make sure nobody is bringing any contraband items into the country via their suitcases, i.e. putting the wrong cards into real metal boxes. Players acquire the stuff via random card draws each turn, only some of it is illegal – the valuable stuff, tequila and such – the rest much less so – sombreros, caracas, and so on. There are actually three levels of lying players can choose in their declarations. Besides not lying at all, there is carrying contraband – always illegal – and also the smaller lie of of carrying things they don't declare, a good idea simply due to the rule prohibiting carriage of more than one item type. Regardless, it's the official's job to determine who is getting away with the worst lie and attempt to throw the book at them. Now begins the bribery phase. as the accused may be willing to give up some profit in exchange for not losing everything. But the official has to be careful as it's counter-productive to accuse an innocent. There are two rounds of this and at the end of each players may secrete away some of their cards for an end of game majority control contest, removing, however, their value as items. The metal boxes are attractively decorated in appropriately garish designs and the cards clear and descriptive. The more that players can role-play this, and laugh, and joke around, the better and more fun it is. Still, there is ample room for Poker-style skills here. Many players have these of course, but 'tis strange how often the innocent seem to get accused and amazing to find that so much has crossed the border totally unseen. While there's little science to this, it is just a tiny bit more than the usual party game and should be a good bridge between those who don't care for the lighter stuff and those who do. [Party Games]
André Zatz & Sérgeo Halaban; Kosmos; 2006; 3-6
LHMM6 (Strategy: Low; Theme: High; Tactics: Medium; Evaluation: Medium; Personal Rating: 6)
Trick-taking card game with a baseball theme and a title which usually refers to hockey. The trick is divided by two players. Players must try to collect some kinds of cards and not others. Defensive play can be quite important. While interesting, players often seem at the mercy of the luck of the draw. David & Goliath seems to work better for a game of this type. It might be improved if there were a card passing rule added before play begins. [6-player Games]
Hatz Fatz
Some games, even if intended only for children, just don't seem to make any sense at any level. This one is a card game vaguely similar to King's Breakfast. Here the cards are illustrations of various animals including the ostrich, mouse, buffalo, cat, donkey, turtle and frog, all quite cute actually. These are distributed face down on the table except for five in each player's hand. On a turn a player either turns up a table card or throws a hand card into the box top. In the latter case there ensues a mad scramble in which they try to be the first to slap as many up cards matching the discard as possible. Ties are broken by the player who can make the sound most closely resembling that made by the animal. At the end a player's score is the sum of all the products of cards he has gained with cards of the same type in the box. The thing is, there is no decision making at all about when to play a card, unless it be to save all cards until the very end, in which case why are any cards face down in the first place? The system might have made sense if only the current player could claim cards or if the game were played following the King's Breakfast. rules, but as they are there's really very little interest. Get this one only if you like pretty pictures and want to invent your own game.
LLLL3 (Strategy: Low; Theme: Low; Tactics: Low; Evaluation: Low; Personal Rating: 3)
Anselm & Malte Ostertag; Pfifficus-Spiele; 2004; 3-7
if no image probably out of print
While the title might suggest a card game version of Cuba, this one set in the same place, and by the same publisher, is mostly something else. It is true though that once again each player has his own hand of role cards which are played simultaneously from a deck. Moreover each role is numbered and this determines the order of operations. Actually, each player always has two cards face up and replaces one each turn. The card on the left is treated as being a tens digit, that on the right a ones. The game pivots around the idea that the lower values permits going earlier while higher numbers have greater powers. Moreover, there are lots of cards which benefit from going as early as possible, either because they only permit acting on a following player or because they permit taking half of what remains of some supply (if someone else has already taken half you can imagine how little is left for you). There is no board, but the other bits include hard cardboard building tiles which can be acquired by spending some combination of cardboard money chips, meeple workers, building material cubes and having an architect card showing. Each building provides a number of victory points commensurate with its cost, but this leads directly to the problem of the ending. It's not a problem of duration as it finishes in good time at right around forty-five minutes. But the idea that achieving fifteen points provides a win does not feel in any way natural. Indeed, it's often the case that opponents cannot even detect that the goal is reachable, but then someone buys two or three tiles and it's suddenly over. This leads to the second issue, that of having to stop leaders. There are cards which permit doing so, but no real way to coordinate activities and too often even if a possible winner is detected, some player(s) might take one for the team while others benefit by not doing so and instead take the win because of what is in effect the kingmaking efforts of others. This might work out okay for two (untried), but ends up being problematic and unsatisfying for more. It does deserve kudos, however, for a different, interesting mix of cards, for short, clear instructions and two very well written player aide cards.
LLHM5 (Strategy: Low; Theme: Low; Tactics: High; Evaluation: Medium; Personal Rating: 5)
Reinhard Staupe; eggertspiele-2009/Rio Grande-2009; 2-4 [Buy it at Amazon]
Card game for 2-6 subtitled "The Hundred Years War". Players represent unnamed mercenary captains who during their turns either draft cards or compete in "battles" by adding cards to their face up displays. Displays are ranked according to a modified form of the rules of Poker – extended to handle combinations of up to six cards. The winner(s) of each battle receive point cards which vary depending on which of the pre-programed eight is being contested. Battles are given historical names and dates, but otherwise lack thematic significance, as does the combat itself, as no one really inflicts any casualties – virtually all committed forces are simply lost. Note too that even though mercenaries were rife in the era, this was still basically a war between England and France, yet the game takes no notice of the binary nature of this. As I happen to know that inventor K.C. Humphrey is a Tichu fan, maybe we'll eventually see a partnership variant? Comparison with Tichu seems apt because both games share the fun possibility that a collection of small cards in the right combination can overpower a few larger ones. This game adds timing and sensitivity to other player statuses to the mix as it's often possible to win a battle with mere meager offerings if it comes at a time when others are mostly depleted. The mechanisms are not particularly original – Poker-like contests are in Sindbad, programmed events in The Merchants of Amsterdam, and drafting in many games – but this combination of all three is innovative. Impressive too is the card artwork and quality from small press SunRiver Games. I especially enjoy reading the short bits on medieval weaponry when someone is taking too long at their turn. Having seen prototypes of other SunRiver games, I expect even more than this worthy first effort in the future. [6-player Games]
MLHM6 (Strategy: Medium; Theme: Low; Tactics: High; Evaluation: Medium; Personal Rating: 6)
Le Havre
While in a cafe recently, an older man came over to ask about this game. It became apparent he is French when he pronounced this title a lot better than I did. "Is it a French game?" he wanted to know. Hearing "No, German, actually," he walked away with nothing more than a deflated "oh". So much for Franco-German relations? Actually there is little in the game that relates to France; Le Havre's being a port is the important fact. But there is a certain Gallic charm to the cartoon artwork that may give this feeling – credit this to the fine work of artist Klemens Franz. In terms of play, it's a matter of drafting, allocation and backward planning. The players' tokens play a game of leapfrog on a line of seven round tiles. As each is visited, two pictured items are added to the current supplies, i.e. wood, iron, clay, food, grain, cattle, etc. In what tends to be a rather short turn, one then either drafts an entire supply pile or moves one's other token to a new building. The critical rule is that just as in the designer's Agricola, an occupied building cannot be used by others (apart from some special exceptions). But as each player has only one token, there is much less contention. Also, still present is the idea of cows breeding, grain being harvested and the turnly requirement to provide an ever-escalating amount of food. It doesn't particularly fit the theme, but does cause dilemmas as players are otherwise trying to make as money as they can. Some examples of the thirty-two buildings – represented by full size cards – which come in five types – builders, goods earners, goods processors, money makers and endgame points – include an arts center, a bridge over the Seine, a shipping line and so on. There are also several ships which can earn a great deal. Shipping is probably something one wants to do at the end of the pre-set number of turns. To do this, one needs to first acquire mass quantities of some raw material(s), then process them using a building and possibly also energy which must also have been accumulated or processed to finally create valuable processed goods, all the while dealing with the need to keep the food supply coming and also with other players wanting to draft the same things and use the same buildings. Opportunism plays a large role and it can also be confusing as one needs to make long term plans, but can only execute a tiny bit at a time. Can you remember all that you planned? Play tends to be fairly solitaire in nature – the most dramatic interaction probably being others drafting what one wants – but the planning is so absorbing that it's possible not to notice. There isn't really a catch-up mechanism or way to target a leader. Instead, play tends to be fairly balanced and leaders difficult to identify. The fiddly process of replenishing supplies occurs just as much as in Agricola, but as it happens just a little bit at a time, is perhaps easier to tolerate. Somewhat inelegant and also confusing at first is the idea that an unowned building can either be "built" using raw materials or "bought" using money. This feels like a late addition that didn't get properly integrated. But the fact that players own buildings which others can then use for a minor fee is a good idea indeed. This game of hundreds of chits tends to several hours of duration, though there are shorter scenarios that can probably keep it down to about two. The three-player setting may be the best in terms of minimizing contention and the time needed for the constant context switching between players that very short turns require.
Uwe Rosenberg; Lookout Games; 2008; 1-5
MMMH7 (Strategy: Medium; Theme: Medium; Tactics: Medium; Evaluation: High; Personal Rating: 7) [Buy it at Amazon]
Re-creation of a game described as played by the pilgrims in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The nicely-made board looks medieval and depicts twenty-three characters from the story. The game is a race around the circle, but curiously movement depends on the amount that players gamble on whether the player will make his roll. Interesting ideas, but they do not seem fully developed and it is far too easy to give the game away to another player, accidentally or otherwise. The package is probably only of value as a way of introducing the literature.
Hazienda (Hacienda)
Multi-player game of establishing rancheros on the Argentine pampas. This Wolfgang Kramer design feels similar to the series he has created with Michael Kiesling – the most recent being Australia – but Kiesling is absent from the credits this time. On the other hand, as the publisher is Hans-im-Glück, we can be sure that active editor Bernd Brunnhofer has played a significant role. Fundamentally a matter of claiming (and presumably taming) map hexagons which correspond to drafted cards, the game is one of placing long tentacles of animal pieces, also one per card. Activities cost money which is earned by reaching cities – the larger the connected group, the more it pays. But money is not the ultimate object, points are. These are primarily derived from connecting to the most cities with the largest group, although there are also lesser ways to earn both points and money. In sum then, this is a very territorial situation driven by card drafting and sometimes restricted by money bottlenecks. As the map is wide open, its nature can vary widely from playing to playing, mostly depending on how strenuously players try to cut one another off. I suspect that good play involves finding situations where one can both cut off and at the same time do something profitable. Or it can be played entirely in friendly fashion, as a pure race, in which case the winner is probably the one luckiest at drafting. That is one area where there can be some imbalance, especially with fewer than four players and with the animals, as some of the latter are randomly removed before play and may skew chances for the player(s) unlucky enough to start that type of group. (This can be exacerbated by opponent hoarding.) But the best strategy of all is "Let's you and him tussle" – as in Euphrat & Tigris, newbies may wind up winning a lot of those games in which the older hands mostly pick on one another. One thing that's done quite well here is timing the exit as it neither overstays its welcome nor finishes before the situation has been able to sufficiently develop. The feeling is conceptually easier and lighter than Australia, but without anything really new or fancy; it's plainer. This is a solid effort that just works without calling attention to itself. It's not a war game, but I shouldn't be surprised if fans of that genre didn't appreciate the territorial nature of this. For those who enjoy really studying a game to learn the best ways to win, there is plenty of scope here for multiple plays and evolving strategy and tactics – what's the ideal shape of an animal group that runs between a city and a lake? This replayability is generously enhanced by the printing of a second board on the reverse side. Probably best for four as five is rather crowded and three not sufficiently so.
Strategy: Medium; Theme: Medium; Tactics: High; Evaluation: Medium
[Buy it at Amazon]
Traditional trick-taking card game comes in many forms. Players attempt to either avoid taking the Queen of Spades and all hearts or, conversely, to attempt to take all of them. Much of this game is in the initial diagnosis of the hand. By the way, the apparent original meaning of the English term "shoot the moon" means to remove furniture in the night without paying the landlord.
Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck (Pickomino)
Reiner Knizia dice roller for 2-7 is in the same family as his Easy Come, Easy Go. Here the goal tokens for which players roll 8 dice resemble Dominoes tiles, each of which features a dice total to equal or exceed plus a victory points value. The clever bit is that upon each roll only dice of a single, previously not reserved rank may be reserved. Tiles may also be stolen from opponents, but only if the dice total is an exact match. Failure to take any tile removes an unowned one from play, hastening the finish. While all would seem to be well, practice is somewhat disappointing. The as-yet-unmentioned ability of a player who has taken several tiles to cover and thus protect all earlier collections often leads to the situation of the decision being basically settled quite a while before the obvious have been proven. This appears especially true when the number of players is low. If you habitually play in a large group, this may work for you as a light outing, however. The dispensable theme of chickens barbecuing worms is a take off from the more successful Hick Hack in Gackelwack. One can see how Bratwurst has been altered to Bratwurm while eck means corner. Actually a more basic version of this earlier had an earlier life as Octo in Knizia's book Dice Games Properly Explained ([Amazon UK] [Amazon Deutschland]). The book's very detailed discussion of the best move for every situation is fascinating material for analytical types. [Frequently Played] [6-player Games]
Strategy: Low; Theme: Low; Tactics: Medium; Evaluation: Medium
[Buy it at Amazon]
Heimlich & Co. (Under Cover, Top Secret Spies)
Game of bluff and secret victory conditions has a spy theme. Light and serviceable. Serious players will prefer the more challenging advanced rules. Reminiscent of The Great Balloon Race, Halunken und Spelunken and even Citadelles, although here stripped way back to the bare minimum and mostly devoid of theme. The 2001 edition adds cards which perform "special effects", probably intended to add more interest for the hardcore gamer crowd, but really they don't add anything except a lot more time and randomness. [Spiel des Jahres Winner] [6-player Games] [Holiday List 2002]
This two-player game of ancient combat among the Aegean isles has a close and instructive relationship with its undeclared sister game, Fjords, but more about that anon. In this one, each turn a player faces three possibilities: (1) place a new tile and try to claim it; (2) supplement armies, fleets and cards; or (3) attack. Tiles are hexagonal and show either a slice of coast or an island. They must be placed so that all seas eventually connect (in Fjords all lands must be contiguous). If the tile matches up to a tile where a player has a ship, possession can be taken of it. Some tiles contain temples which become points of contention since a player holding a majority of them gets to do four things rather than three when supplementing. Cards received at this time can be in any of three varieties: advantaging sea activities (card backs show Poseidon), military (Ares) or miscellaneous (Zeus). Apart from optional cardplay, attacks are entirely deterministic. If the invaders come overland and at least match the number of defenders, they destroy them and win. Over seas one extra army is required. Any tile can station at most three armies so there are limits to massing as well. There are no supply requirements though a successful attack often admits the possibility of new targets. Modulo cards, only one attack is permitted per turn as well. The goal is a race to control 10 tiles. Sometimes, if players are not careful, this can occur simply by exploration with not shot ever being fired, as it were. More frequently, players build up to around eight via exploration and then conflict develops, particularly since at least one Poseidon cards permits an extra exploration which could then win the game. Cards in general here are rather problematic as the decks are so unbalanced. It's easy for a single card to be a game winner, yet on the other hand sometimes a player wastes actions collecting several cards only to find them all useless. This is the most troubling feature and one of course that Fjords entirely lacks. Otherwise the two games provide a window into the design process. Here is a basic mechanism, turning over hexagonal tiles and placing them advantageously to grow a world. Now given this, what can the players do with the setting? Fjords stays with a German-style game, providing more placement, that of farmers and farms, becoming a game of putting down stakes and cutting off the opponent. In this one, players become more active, employing their armies to destroy one another, but without going as far as the chaos of a true war game. That would be a third possibility, but this is more a hybrid of the two. It should of course appeal to those who enjoy war games – the plastic soldiers and ships may help in this regard – and can be a bridge between those who do and those who prefer otherwise.
Strategy: Medium; Theme: High; Tactics: High; Evaluation: Medium; Personal Rating: 6
Franz-Benno Delonge; Kosmos/Rio Grande/Tilsit; 2002; 2
HellRail: 2nd Perdition
Essentially a train game, but with unusual topic of carrying souls deeper into the nine levels of hell, all accomplished via a deck of square cards. Cards are nicely and amusingly illustrated and placement resembles something of a pipe-connection game à la Linie 1/Streetcar, but one in which the trains are running as the tiles are still being laid down (and picked up). Four pewter engines are nice, though small. A bit random due to the vagaries of luck of the draw and dice. Four player games seem to work much better than three as more track tends to get on the board sooner. Strategically, one should consider that there are more deliveries starting at the lower numbers than the higher. It never made as much sense as when uttered in this game, "Where in the hell do you think you're going?" This game is a follow-on to the original HellRail. [Traveling Merchant Games] GalloGlass
Heroes Incorporated
Multi-player game of comic book super heroes, using characters invented for the game – no doubt to avoid licensing fees – who tend to resemble the most popular ones found in the comic books. Randomly-distributed tiles form a city grid on which the heroes operate. Crimes are generic in nature and hop to an adjacent location each round. The difficulty of a crime (and also its victory point value) are curiously not an attribute of the crime, but of its location. Heroes need to travel to that location and simply roll a die higher than its value. At the end of the round the player having rolled the highest gets the credit on a victory point track. Adding flavor and variability are special powers for each hero as well as special cards. While the special powers seem both balanced and sensible thematically, the cards are much less so, some being particularly useless depending on which heroes are in play or the stage of the game. Each hero is described by a large card and represented on the "board" by a matching cardboard standup figure. The artwork feels average and has some unfortunate typeface choices – that of the character PYRE looks like it reads DYKE. The game was probably never blind-tested as there are pretty serious holes in the instructions. (A post-publication on-line version appears to address all of these.) Surprisingly, play is fairly smooth otherwise, except that with all the luck and also the lack of a catch-up mechanism, may make the last round or two may be too much of a foregone conclusion. Compared to Marvel Heroes, this is a better game for more than two – in fact for just two it's not at its best as there is too little competition – but still is probably for comics fans only. After all they can get into the role-playing possibilities and make the game more than it is. [Quest Machine]
Strategy: Low; Theme: High; Tactics: High; Evaluation: Low; Personal Rating: 5
Heroes of the World

Depicting the entirety of world history, this majority control affair from the inventor of Azteca, sports an good concept, i.e. that the value of a region becomes known only gradually so that players must constantly readjust their efforts. That this simple idea has not been pursued much in majority control games before is probably explained by its inherent flaw: as players are constantly fixing up their positions relative to others, whoever acts last has a tremendous advantage. As a fix this player should be forced to pay a very large price for the privilege, but unfortunately that's not the case at all here. The map of the world has is divided into several large regions, i.e. Africa, Middle East, Mediterranean, India, China, America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Russia. Play is divided like a football match into two halves with a scoring round after each. The driving mechanism is the multi-function card played to begin each player-turn. Each of these names and displays an historical figure along with brief background information. Not all of these are the conquerors one might expect. Alongside Caesar and Napoleon there are Plato, Mozart and Ibn Battuta. Each of these cards provides money, more pieces, and either a chance to add value to a region or perform an attack, occasionally both. Adding pieces, each card names one or more regions corresponding to the leader's historical sphere – often rather liberally as the game struggles to cover all regions fairly, Africa being rather rare – where this can be done. These regions also dictate where any values (victory points) can be placed, this being accomplished via technology chit draw from a cloth bag. Second half chits are wisely worth more than those of the first. The number of chits each region can take is fixed; at scoring the player having the majority of pieces in the region receives all of its points; the second-placed player receives half and the third-placed player the value of the lowest chit, which could be zero. Attacks are also restricted to the named areas and are anyway rather chancy affairs, being based entirely on the roll of a single special cube and having the magnitude specified by the card. The attacker usually has a slight advantage, but two or three of the possibile results can really hurt. Notice that existing strengths in the region have absolutely no bearing on the matter, so a good idea is to attack where one has a single piece and the opponent the many, the reason being that even if one gets the usually unfavorable "counterattack", resulting in equal losses to both sides, the attacker only loses the one, but the defender the full number specified on the card. Money, besides being indirectly convertable to points, is used to move pieces between regions as well as purchase separate "wonder" cards which provide both victory points and a special rule-breaking power which may be used once per half. Examples include Tenochtitlan and the Great Wall of China. Since early acting players can get these more easily than others, maybe this was an attempt to balance the last acter wins problem. But if so it has not been implemented correctly since a round ends when all but one region's technologies are complete, i.e. whenever someone makes a lucky card draw. Thus this first player might well be the last player also! This is not the end of problems either. Card drafting is placed at the start of the turn rather than at the end, slowing things down for no very good reason. It's questionable whether these cards are well balanced anyway. Certainly their extreme variability puts newcomers at an unneeded disadvantage. Then there is the usual petty diplomacy fragility inherent in systems where any player can pretty much attack any other. Having the potential to go to two hours, it's hardly a quick affair either. On the plus side, the cards are fun and even educational, several rather obscure figures being included. Plastic piece fanciers will probably enjoy the warrior and horsemen as well. There is some theme present, obviously, though it's hard to say what players really represent and some leaders operate in unlikely areas. Although this doesn't really work, it should appeal to fans of El Grande, resembling an underdeveloped variation on that game, which, despite its thematic faults, at least resolved a number of these problems over a decade ago. [Buy it at Amazon]
LMHM5 (Strategy: Low; Theme: Medium; Tactics: High; Evaluation: Medium; Personal Rating: 5)
Pascal Bernard; Huch & Friends/Sirius Products; 3-5; 2008
Herr der Ringe, Der (The Lord of the Rings)
Reiner Knizia-invented game about travails of hobbits in the Tolkien novel of the same name. Not really a game in the usual sense as the title character does not appear as a player and the player-hobbits do not compete against one another, but only versus the game and their previous scores. Thus it becomes much like a solitaire card game with several kibitzers. Worse, it is almost always quite obvious what should be done while the challenge of trying to figure out one's opponents is wholly lacking. On the positive side, is quite nicely presented and probably represents the best of what the German games industry could do with such a topic as it would certainly never do to have any player represent Sauron's evil. Indeed, although in later editions Professor Tolkien's prefaces expressed disdain for the idea that his stories could be allegorical, he wrote the dramatic battle with the Balrog demon at the height of the Battle of the Britain and one doesn't need to think too hard to guess which German the Sauron character might represent. Perhaps there was one once, but at this moment it is still hard to recall any game made as a movie tie-in being good enough on its own terms. Even being a big fan of the novels does not help one to appreciate the game in my opinion. I read the novel five or more times during my teen years and have read several of the later books as well. Update: there have been two expansions, the second of which now adds Sauron as a player working against the team. This plus a variant which permits team members to compete may succeed in rescuing the game for me. The Complete Lord of the Rings with Reiner Knizia (video) A Der Herr der Ringe: Die Feinde
Herr der Ringe, Der - Die Zwei Türme das Kartenspiel
Reiner Knizia card game vaguely based on the Tolkien The Two Towers volume. Cards are employed to represent landmarks on the route from Amon Hen to Minas Tirith with other cards randomly interspersed to make the number of turns between each different every time. These turns are consumed with card drafting, either from the deck or others' leavings. The goal is to create same suit, same symbol combinations that match one of the symbols at the upcoming landmark where three point awards await those who have amassed the most. This tends to be a quiet endeavor as each carefully remembers what opponents are collecting and what has been discarded. So even though luck of the draw plays a big role, it is not without challenge. But what we have here is not the fish, but the bait, for if successful, it will be purchased by the Tolkien movie fan who after playing it may be encouraged to find more where that came from and become a Tolkien game fan. Eventually he or she may thus enter fully into our wonderful hobby. This then is the nature of the audience. For aficianadoes, we have seen this before and there is too little which is new and too little variation. It will probably be more of a gift item than something requested more than once. On the other hand, the short length makes it hard to turn down when offered. Card art showing the heroes of the tale is based on movie stills.
Herr der Wichtel, Der
"Lord of the Leprechauns" is the translated title of this set-collection card game. There seems to be a play problem as no player ever wants or is forced to release any good card, which makes set collection well nigh impossible. This also can make it difficult to end the game as no one can achieve a qualifying set. The mechanism by which the leprechaun cards promenade back and forth during play is quite innovative however. May possibly be better with only three players or so, which is so far untried by me. [Krimsus]
Herr der Ziegen
if no image probably out of print
One major mystery of the past decade or so has been the disappearance of the minor hit, Kupferkessel Co. Sure, the fact that it only accepted two players was a knock against it, but on the other hand, that never stopped Lost Cities. Fortunately the problem has finally been rectified with the appearance of "Goat Master", which not only accepts two, but also three, four or five. The theme has changed away from alchemist apprentices to goats and shepherds, which is a tie-in to the creators' previous Ziegen Kriegen ("Goat Wars", a trick-taking game). But more importantly, gameplay has changed. Now there are five of each type of card, numbered 1-5, rather than just four, and one tries to collect a mere majority in a type, not all. There is a dilemma here as one's reward is not the point collected, but those uncollected points which yet remain on the pasture. As in the original, collection is done by pawns traveling around the perimeter and selecting a card from the row opposite. The card taken goes into a hand of size two, from which is chosen the next movement card. A special case is a sheep dog card which confers no movement, but permits swapping the pasture positions of two goats. The goal here is to drive one's own goats to one's stable at the edge of the display as such goats will have their values doubled. A second type of special card is the goat milk cocktail which is part of a pure majority control game, the player having the most receiving their value in points and the second placed, forgivingly, receiving half points. The beginning player sees his start-of-play resources as hand cards and goat position, but the experienced player also recognizes that high value goat cards which are already next to his pen require no dog to move them and are thus resources as well. The goat cards, charmingly illustrated to resemble Elvis, Einstein and others, are the very cute realizations of Michael Menzel (known for his work on Stone Age and Im Jahr des Drachen). The wooden goat pawns are fairly large and most resemble Scottish terriers, but one can see them as billy goats. Actually, shouldn't they really be shepherds? There are also ten smaller wooden goats per side and square cardboard constructions to serve as stables. The box insert is colorfully illustrated cardboard. The original was meant for players as young as 6. Due to the majority control aspect, this is probably no longer the case. On the other hand, the memorization aspect is gone and a measure of uncertainty and decision added as a player has more than one option for which card to play next. Recommended for all audiences 8 and above. [Translation]
Günter Burkhardt; Amigo; 2008; 2-5
Strategy: Medium; Theme: Medium; Tactics: High; Evaluation: Medium; Personal Rating: 7 [Buy it at]
Der Hexer von Salem
board by Vohwinkel
Realization may have been slow, but it's become apparent that Michael Rieneck is one of the most promising designers going right now. That he enjoys reading is clear from his titles alone: Around the World in 80 Days, Asterix & Obelix and Pillars of the Earth. What's more, these games are not only good, they make greater attempts than most in the German design school to incorporate their themes. This is even true for Cuba (designed with Stefan Stadler) where the laws are an especially thematic feature. Here he is working from the Sorcerer of Salem novels by German author Wolfgang Hohlbein, who has created a pastiche of the Cthuloid works of H.P. Lovecraft. Appropriately enough, this game too is a pastiche, of the Lovecraftian Arkham Horror, one which provides an instructive demonstration in streamlining an overly heavy and lengthy design. Both games have players working together to detect and close off rifts to other dimensions. In both, horrible monsters have arrived and threaten not just the investigators, but all humankind. The original makes a great fetish of movement, distance and obstructing monsters being major issues. Here each player has a deck of location cards and on each turn simply plays a different one to automatically go there. Returning to Miskatonic U. restores the deck for re-use. Obviously the interest here is in the higher level decision of what's best to do rather than the mundane details of getting to a location. Each location does tend to collect a monster which must be braved, but it only does a little damage per visit, and that determined by the simplest of die rolls. No longer will an encounter generate a knockout blow all in one go. At the location will be up to three item chits, each available at a different price for the player to buy. This is far more sane than repeatedly running around trying to find something which is supposed to be there, but often isn't (because one can't make the right die roll or draw the right card). Besides being used to destroy monsters, each of which is vulnerable a particular group of three items, items can be used to regain sanity, discern rifts or find out which of the big bad monsters is the real threat. The concepts of strength and physical weapons like guns and dynamite are gone. It's okay; they were redundant to the sanity system and it is more special to the genre anyway. Closing a rift used to be quite a long rigamarole of traveling into it and hoping to avoid random disasters. Now it's just a matter of knowing where the rift is and having a mystical item of the right type. There are still new monsters entering every turn and they just tend to fill up locations in clockwise order. Monster activities are depicted not by moving them around, but by having subsequent appearances of a monster still on the board have some nasty effect (different for each monster) on the players. New to this version are a sort of countdown track which gives players a scary visual of just how badly they are doing as well as the Sorcerer character who travels about randomly via event cards and is of help to them wherever he ends up standing. He is represented by a largish white pawn. There are also largish pawns for the players and beautifully illustrated materials by the great Mr. Franz Vohwinkel. But with all the aforementioned great strides, it's unfortunate to have to report that this design goes three steps too far. First, there is no differentiation of the player characters. Variable powers are always fun and it's really too bad that they weren't included here; the only cost would have been a little bit more playtesting. Second, and this is rare for a German school game, player elimination is possible. (This might be fixed by permitting potions and/or sanity-restoring events to be applied to eliminated players.) Finally, and most damning of all, the concept of a winner is omitted. The players either all win or all lose, removing completely the all-important inter-player competition. Alas, the games world seems to be going through another one of its mad fads and this time it's the cooperative game. It can only be hoped that its passage will be brief.
Michael Rieneck; Kosmos; 2008; 2-4
MHLM5 (Strategy: Medium; Theme: High; Tactics: Low; Evaluation: Medium; Personal Rating: 5) [Buy it at Amazon] [Buy it at]
Trick-taking card game by Dirk Henn could probably be translated as "Witch Tricks" or "Magic Tricks". Features suits in three colors, each of which contains cards marked both with numbers and one of these three symbols: witch, fairy or dwarf. Players must follow suit by color, but the symbol most often played decides who wins the trick. Taking fairies scores points while witches lose them. Instead of dealing all them out at once, cards are replenished during the hand. Nice illustrations give a pleasant feeling of twilight in a magical forest. Game play is mainly tactical and somewhat subject to luck of the draw.
Hextension (Take It Easy, Take It Easy XXL)
Puzzle-like game in which players each work on filling out a private hexagonal grid in the most pleasing fashion, and for the most points. The original version forces new tiles to be placed adjacent to the existing ones while later rules are more free form and allow them to be placed anywhere. Either way seems to work fine and preference seems to mostly depend on which version one tried first. There is little to no interaction, but because of the nature of the game, works as well for two hundred players as for four. Graphically I thought it would have been nice had the most valuable colors been drawn in thicker lines and the less valuable ones in gradually thinner ones. As it is, the game can even be played by the very young by just having them try to make nice, continuous lines and then having someone older do the arithmetic. Overall a nice challenge full of agonizing decisions that both gamers and non-gamers can enjoy. [6-player Games] [Top 10 Games for 7 or More Beginners] [shop]
Hi Ho Cherry-O
Game for children up to the age of six invented 1966 is about racing to pick cherries and drop in one's bucket. As all actions are dictated by a spinner, chiefly of use in learning counting. Attractively-made.
The multi-player war game is a difficult form. But this groundbreaking design set in Iron Age Ireland has made so much progress that this commentary isn't even going into the war games section. Player elimination, kingmaking, turtling, all of these and more tend to plague this type of game. In addition, the few methods of resolving conflict (e.g. CRT, "to hit" roll, etc.) have become rather stale. All of these are addressed here. First, each player begins with a single cube in one of the four castle spaces on a board with counties in four colors. The player rolls a special die showing these colors to determine which matching provinces he can attack. He also receives a free attack. Alert readers will now be wondering about the other two die faces. One is "wild", permitting an attack on any color of county while the other aids in scoring. After the attacking is done, the player advances his piece on the scoring track, the spaces of which are not numbered, but colored. Advancing on the track is a matter of owning counties in the corresponding colors. For example, if the next two spaces are both yellow, possessing two yellow counties are needed to progress. If owning only one, the scoring die result permits the die to substitute for the missing county. The method of attack is to count the number of owned regions bordering the target region and then place cubes from supply or from elsewhere on the board into the region. Then both sides eliminate symmetrically until only one side remains. Defeated units are considered fled, but can be rallied whenever the player is willing to forego an attack. This lets the opponents rally half of their units as well, however. Besides the die restriction on where attacks can occur, no player can be attacked in his last two territories, thereby keeping everyone involved. Even a small position can make progress on the track, though it becomes slow toward the end as two of each color is needed and each of the colors is in short supply in one part of the board. It's also possible to reinforce one's areas instead of attacking, thereby enable a defensive strategy. Another good idea is that the center of the board is a four corners situation in which, uncharacteristically (and a little unthematically) one can attack from and to any of the four counties. This permits anyone to attack anyone else and generally lets anyone get in attacks on the current leader. The graphics by the designer are acceptable and it's nice that it comes in a rather small package. This packaging is somewhat flimsy and the board has some trouble lying flat. All of the board elements are quite clear, however. The instructions are also clear, if a bit casual. The scoring result on the die may be a bit too powerful, especially in the second half, but probably something was needed to prevent a stalemate. Maybe something slightly less strong would have been possible. Finally, the die and the scoring track feel very un-thematic, but there may enough going on otherwise for many players not to mind. Altogether this is a simple, yet absorbing system with challenging decisionmaking that lasts about forty minutes. It seems also that this system could easily be expanded with technology trees, events or other ideas, or transported to other settings. Finally, along with Cambria (which now has a Cumbria expansion by the way) we see developing a pleasing Celtic Nations series of games and no doubt a next installment to anticipate.
Eric Vogel; Vainglorious Games; 2009; 3-4
MMMH7 (Strategy: Medium; Theme: Medium; Tactics: Medium; Evaluation: Medium; Personal Rating: 7)
A complimentary copy of this game was received for purposes of review.
Hieroglyphs Game, The
Abstract, uncomplicated (ages three and up), some strategy, large luck component, instructional (good way to learn the hieroglyphs). Components are a board on which is depicted a 9x10 grid. Many of the boxes have depicted in them a hieroglyph along with the representation of its sound in English. There are eight unique double-sided word sheets and during the game each player will use one. These contain eight numbered words rendered in hieroglyphs. There are twenty black plastic chips, a die, rules and a plastic scarab beetle. Players take turns rolling the die and moving the beetle about the board. The first player chooses the number of the word each will work on. Whenever the beetle ends on a square containing a hieroglyph that matches one in the word, the player covers it with a chip. On the other hand, if already covered by a chip, the chip is removed. Rolling a six gives another turn. First player to finish a word gets two points and starts a new round. Game to six. [Ancient Egypt games]
High Bohn
if no image probably out of print
Could Bohnanza be combined with Puerto Rico;? Well sort of. The title reference is to the film High Noon, the famous Gary Cooper Western. This expansion kit for the base game adds twenty-two Cognac Bean cards as well as sixty others in the form of buildings. Each bean type used in the game has four associated buildings which have costs of 1, 2, 3 or 4 coins derived from sales of that type of bean. A player may only buy one of each type of building. The cheapest variety simply provide extra victory points, but the others, e.g. general stores, banks, jails, etc., also provide special advantages in the game. This special version enhances the value of deep bean collections so wise players will be open to the so-called accelerated trades, i.e. hand to hand trades, that help make those feasible. Overall the buildings and their special effects make this a fun and refreshing take on beangriculture. It may also bring back to the bean table those no longer interested in the original game. On the other hand, some purists may object that the new elements travel too far from the game they have come to love. Also included in the package are the thirty-six cards that comprise an expansion to the game Al Cabohne, Prohibohn (not reviewed here).
Uwe Rosenberg & Hanno Girke; Lookout Games/Rio Grande/Amigo; 2000; 2-5
MMMH7 (Strategy: Medium; Theme: Medium; Tactics: Medium; Evaluation: High; Personal Rating: 7) [Buy it at Amazon]
High Society
Reiner Knizia card game from 1995 sees players bidding from identical holdings to acquire valuable items as they are turned up from a deck one by one. However, one must not spend too much as the winner must not have the least amount of funds remaining by the end. The ending is determined by the "ticking clock" mechanism and there are a few wrinkles in the prizes: cards which double, halve or subtract. Probably too chaotic to be taken very seriously, but invokes very interesting feelings in players as they must try to navigate a middle path. In addition, they must constantly re-evaluate their positions, re-calculating expected values as each new card is gets sold. It's also necessary and challenging to figure out how much something is worth from the moment it's revealed as cards bid cannot be picked up during the auction except to drop out. As information is fully trackable open cash holdings may be a good idea. Update: re-released in English in 2003 by Überplay in a somewhat overproduced edition. The box is larger with plastic wells not deep enough to permit completely closing the box on the hard-to-shuffle prize cards made from inflexible cardboard.
High Stakes
The casino-themed game uses all of the mechanisms of Monopoly, but exacerbates its excessive randomness even further by changing the rent payment to a forced gambling attempt. The best thing here is the presentation as the built-up green plastic structure really does evoke a casino table. The closeable storage areas built into the side were a good idea too although it doesn't ever seem to stay closed.
Trick-taking card game with adjunct board. Before each hand players each bid a secret hand card to determine trump. The nice and tricky thing about this is that the highest card wins and yet is removed from play. There are multiple ways to approach this, based on one's characterization of the hand. An unbalanced one may make it worth bidding high, but it could be just as useful to create a void or dump a low card. The color of the led card corresponds to an on-board ship illustration which the trick winner gets to occupy. As they fill up, earlier players are kicked off onto a penalty track somewhat akin to that of Adel Verpflichtet. On top of this, taken tricks can be given away – the two players who end with the most cards suffer penalties. This one is a good illustration of the danger of appearing to be in the lead as players are constantly deciding which player to penalize. Normally this is calculated based on current position plus potential. But as much of the potential is in hidden hand cards and scores are only re-calculated at the end of a hand, a high score is often succeeded by a very low one. It's much better to aim for a medium score each round instead. Overall, while sometimes a bit arbitrary, this does feature intriguing decisionmaking – often tactical – and is a worthwhile lighter entry, even if it won't steal the wind of its trick-taking forebears. Probably best with at least four players.
History's Mysteries Card Game
Mike Fitzgerald Rummy-based card game created for the History Channel television network. Players collect up to ten different popular legends such as crop circles, Big Foot and the Loch Ness monster. The gavel card feature usual to the Mystery Rummy series is here omitted and the instructions are simpler. The unique feature revolves around the ability to declare layoffs as fact or fiction and adjust one of the original melder's cards as well. These constitute votes that confer extra points to those backing the right side. The ninety cards are slick and sturdy with decent artwork. Accompanying text differs from card to card making it unfortunate that the subject is more sensational than historical. As large negative scores are possible, there is less "science" here than in any of those in the series, but as a passable game that ties in with the network's program it succeeds in what it set out to do. Experienced players may find it a good choice when playing with non-gamers, especially as it accommodates up to six. [6-player Games] [Holiday List 2003]
Hit the Spot
Action game in which players must cause a metal ball to travel upwards along two parallel rods fixed at one end by continually opening and closing the gap between them.
In this two-player-only free-form game of hexagonal tiles, a player attempts to surround the other's queen piece. The intermediate goal should be to place and move so as to keep the opponent in profound doubt regarding the true plan, not a difficult task considering the variety of special powers. (Keeping the play secret from even yourself, as I do, doesn't count.) While this is definitely different from all but a handful of pure abstracts (see Tactic Blue), it has a feeling reminiscent of Chess, though usually requiring much less time. Of course this appeals to fans of games with few rules and no fiddliness. The variable powers give it a leg up over other pure abstracts, even if at the end of the day that's where it remains. The first two editions featured much desired wooden pieces onto which stickers were applied, the third, large, sturdy bakelite pieces.
John Yianni; Smart Zone Games; 2001; 2
MLHL5 (Strategy: Medium; Theme: Low; Tactics: High; Evaluation: Low; Personal Rating: 5)
Hoax (Sein oder Nichtsein)
Innovative game in which players continuously adopt different roles in medieval society and thus gain certain powers. The fine point is that each player has one true, fixed role which is secret, but if ever caught out in his hoax, must depart the game. The general concept is very attractive, but problematic as the rules are confusing and the in the free-flowing play it can matter which player says something first. Players may also be out before the game is over, or the game may end before it even becomes interesting. Revised and published as Die Erben von Hoax (The Heirs of Hoax) which is said to be less free-flowing.
Satirical card game about popular musicians from the prehistoric era, or are they? Mel Z? Bibi Biederspears? Slim Shabby? Some of these sound suspiciously familiar? Yes, it's those wags over at Krimsus poking fun at the pop, rap, folk and metal industries. Players represent producers creating these musical assemblages, also boy bands and girl groups. The mechanics are quite workable: draw two cards (one can come from the discard pile), possibly create a band and then discard. A producer's bands must always increase in value so the job gets more difficult as time goes on, but each player begins with a singing teacher, dance instructor and stylist who can help later on. The same sex crossover groups are in a competition all their own, giving points if they are the most valuable. Players interact mainly in terms of what they discard and by getting their bands to market first, which reduces by two the value of subsequent bands of the same type. The thematic idea here is a good one, but does not seem to go far enough in capturing the essence of the modern musical scene. The truth is still more bizarre than this reality. Where is the Frank Fontana/Milli-Vanilli episode? Or the recent Christina Aguilera transformation? Or even East Coast-West Coast rapper wars? This one was designed by Mark Sienholz, but according to the credits apparently lacked the contribution of Ralf Sandfuchs. In the past, the company's best products, e.g. Strand-Cup, have been collaborations between these two stalwarts. It seems that perhaps the former contributes the backbone system and the latter the flavor for that is what seems to be somewhat lacking here. This, by the way, is not to criticize the sharp card artwork of Lutz Winter who has done an admirable job. In a world in which Showmanager, a Vampire and a Wyatt Earp already exist, theme and these caricatures are the best reasons to want this one. In addition, the small deck of 48 cards seems best for two players lest the deck and one's options become too quickly exhausted. There is no practical text reading problem for non-German readers although some of the jokes may be a bit opaque. Title can be translated to "Cave Rave".
Hollywood For Sale
Auction card game about collecting movie memorabilia. Players take turns drawing the top card from a deck of items, each of which has a victory point value. Then the item is auctioned with only the drawer, who also participates in the bidding, knowing what it is. The winner pays the bank, with the active player receiving a commission of 100,000 if he managed to sucker someone into buying a worthless card for over 300,000. There are a few cards which double a player's score in a particular type of item. The game ending is always a complete surprise as there is no ticking clock, just an "end" card shuffled somewhere into the deck. Reminiscent of Münchhausen as the only real talent is the ability to discern to what extent the auctioneer is lying. Probably state-of-the-art back in the 1970's, feels very antiquated and dull today. The only redeeming feature are the amusingly titled and colorfully depicted memorabilia cards which feature joke items such as the automobile of "James Splean" (i.e. Dean), etc.
Homas Tour (Demarrage, Um Reifenbreite)
Team bicycle-racing game whose German title means "by the width of a tire." Bicycles move by card and/or dice, but may also draft, leading to interesting situations of mutual dependency and bluff. Definitely has a mathematical element as possible future positioning means a lot, especially in relation to the hills which appear to be key to the game. Thus a race with at least two hills is probably the best way to play. Advance planners who can outguess their opponents should do well. As there are event cards every time one generates a "7", you'll need some luck too. The rules look longer than they are – it should not be too difficult and is more rewarding to start right in on the Advanced rules, even on the first play. The map and riders are nicely made and it seems to look very much like a real race. Players should also note the victory awardings and the high bonus for having the first cycle over the line, despite the fact that one wins or loses as a team. Originally released as Homas Tour by Homas Tour in 1979; re-published as Um Reifenbreite in Germany and Demarrage! in the Netherlands by Jumbo in 1991. [Cycle Racing Games] [Spiel des Jahres Winner]
Rob Bontenbal; Homas Tour; 1979; 2-4
Personal Rating: 7
if no image probably out of print
This take on the settlement of post-Civil War America is in the mold of Puerto Rico, players acquiring buildings which convey various benefits. They come in four categories: residential, commercial, industrial and special with examples being familiar Western venues like the general store, bank and dude ranch. Players are steered away from buying errors as well as staying in theme as different buildings are available during the three eras of play that comprise the ten game turns: Settlement, Town and City. Items of consequence include workers, gold, silver (money), copper, cattle, apples (food), iron, wood, trade and victory points. Many buildings require at least one worker to perform their special ability, some permitting more than one to get extra production and some permitting a choice of production modes. Acquiring buildings works nothing at all like Puerto Rico, but stems from multi-multi auctions that permit purchase of licenses to buy a building in one or more colors. Curiously, the bidding track for these licenses begins not at one, but at three and after seven starts increasing by more than one at a time. One player is necessarily left out of the auctions and instead gets a consolation prize by advancing on a (railroad) track that gives a better reward the further one has traveled. Taking loans is permitted and taking at least one probably advisable; after that they multiply in victory points cost according to the triangular numbers scheme. There is also an exchange rate system that players can use at any time to buy or sell virtually anything and get something else. The artwork is somewhat drab and simple, but that is in harmony with the topic. At least communications-wise the different building types are distinguished both by color and code. More problematic, and worse than in Puerto Rico, which has the same problem, is that the functions of the available buildings are difficult to discern from a distance. This ties in to the general problem that it's hard to see the roadmap of where one wants to go in the buying program already; not being able to tell at a glance what the buildings do makes it worse. But at least there are several strategic paths to follow. Similarly, it's easy to forget what counting every last bit of production and income one has on a turn; perhaps something could have been done to ease this. The third issue of this type is that when buying, players tend to make complicated transactions with the market to generate the required items which often don't really get verified by other players and thus can be all too error-prone. The small board is paper thin, but the wooden bits – apples, black and white cows, cowboys, copper bars, wooden planks and the like are rather cute. Finally, and most unfortunately, when it comes to presentation, a lot of the copies in the first edition have water damage, some so much so that one doesn't want to play them. Although this may seem like an auctions game, a genre that has worn out its welcome, in reality it's about bottleneck management, the auctions just serving as unpredictable costs that must be managed. That the unpredictability comes not from a randomizer, but from other players just makes it better. In terms of theme, it feels like maybe this could have had a larger scope and scale, but this works as an economic/system venture that lasts the right amount of time. One note tactically: even though by taking loans it's possible to buy just about anything, one can only buy and sell at the market using trade tokens. Thus, it's important to produce a diversity of products or at least two trade tokens a turn or risk not being able to buy the necessary building when the time comes.
HMMH6 (Strategy: High; Theme: Medium; Tactics: Medium; Evaluation: High; Personal Rating: 6)
Alex Rockwell; Tasty Minstrel Games-2009; 2-4; 80 Amazon
Small game for children of racing colored bears. Its inventor, Reiner Knizia, has said that the game was not necessarily intended for children and was originally about merchants bribing their way to the Sultan in order to show their wares. Actual play feels less like either of these than like a stock or horse racing situation. Each card play advances a like-colored bear either one or two spaces. Joker cards permit moving any bear. Each bear has a score depending on its position when the first crosses the finish line – the more advancement, the more points, some being negative. This is multiplied in some fancy ways with the number of matching cards in each player's hand to determine the score. There's a certain amount of bluffing going on as one tries to get others to move the bear matching one's own hand cards, but this rarely survives the early stages. After that there is the dilemma of whether to improve one's positive scores vs. trying to avoid too large negative scores, at least in three-player outings. In most games probably most concentration should be on the former as others will probably address the latter. With five, probably no bear will remain in negative territory. Four most likely makes for the best experience. The ideal hand is one composed only of one suit and jokers and as that can sometimes actually happen, fairness can be subject to the luck of the draw. players will also need to overcome an offputting feeling as they realize that only about a quarter of one's cards are saveable. Overall the publisher's assessment of the correct audience seems correct with interest for adults being more limited.
Hong Kong
Two-player abstract game of perfect information by Reiner Knizia is about the building of skyscrapers in Hong Kong, thinly. Actually it's more a matter of who can build up faster and higher and thus cap his opponent's buildings. Or try the strategy of trying to cover territory. This strategic dilemma makes things interesting while the double move pieces afford difficult tactical decisions. Thus should appeal even to those who are not normally fans of abstracts.
Hopfen und Malz
Early Dirk Henn game around an unusual and pleasant topic: brewing beer! In the first half of this bipartite endeavor, players draft cards from the tops of the beer, malt and water stacks, spending to buy the best they can. Then in the second half, contracts ranging from 10 to 100 are flipped up and players use sets of three hoping to win once-around auctions for them. Strategic dilemma is to manage to draft enough complete sets while still maintaining cards of sufficiently high values. Moves quickly, but is not particularly challenging. Many of the same ideas have been more successfully realized in their later Premiere/Showmanager, particularly the ability to pay to clear the entire drafting field. As cards are nicely laminated, perhaps a good choice for an evening of beer and pretzels. Title translates to "Hops and Malt".
Dirk Henn; db-Spiele
Card game similar to 6 Nimmt using the almost identical specialized deck. In addition players receive cards labeled "+5" and "x2" which are used to affect the final point value. The game plays something like an abstract, with minimal hidden information, and so involves more analysis than one would expect from such a game. Nickname: "Horno". [6-player Games]
Hungry Hungry Hippos
Dexterity game for children invented by Thomas J. McMahon is only of passing interest.
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