Review by David Roe, June 24, 1994.
We've been playing this an awful lot recently, and have come to the conclusion that its a fabulous game - simple yet intricate - easy to learn but difficult to master.
__________________________________________ | _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | L | | Y | | C | | G | | K | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |___| |___| |___| |___| |___| | | | | _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |___| |___| |___| |___| |___| | | _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |___| |___| |___| |___| |___| | | _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |___| |___| |___| |___| |___| | | _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |___| |___| |___| |___| |___| | |________________________________________|
The game is played in four rounds, the winner being the one with the most money at the end. In addition to the board is a deck of cards, money chits and little screens to hide your cash.
Symbol 1 - Open auction. Eveyone bids until one bid remains.
Symbol 2 - Round robin. Starting with the player on the left of the card player, each player bids once or passes, each bid must be higher than the preceeding bid. Thus the owner always has the option to buy his own card for one higher than the highest bid (since he bids last).
Symbol 3 - Closed bid. Eveyone secretly puts an amount of money in their hand, and all bids are revealed simulateously - nasty.
Symbol 4 - Set price. The owner sets a price for the card, and each player - starting with the left, has an option to buy at that price or pass on. If no-one buys the owner must buy it herself at that price, so they must set the price equal to or less than the money they have.
Symbol 5 - The double. The player may do one of two things. Firstly he may match the double card with another non-double card by the same artist from his hand, and auction both together acording to the second card's symbol. This is as normal, except two cards are being sold at the same time in a 'job lot'. Alternativly, she may choose to play the double on its own - each player - starting with the left may now choose to pass, or play a non-double card by the same artist on it and conduct the auction himself. In this case the two cards are sold as before but the money is split between the player who put down the double, and the player who matched it. If the card is matched and sold by another player in this way, play then passes to _that_ players left. So a player who declines to or can't match a double will skip his go. The matching player also sort of misses, in that he must play a matching artist - but at least gets to sell a card. If no-one matches the card, it passes backto the player who played it who buys it for free.
Lets say, its player C's turn. He places a Christin P. in front of him, thus ending the round. - This round-ending card does not get sold, it is simply discarded.
At this point the sold cards are valued. There are three tokens which are placed on the board underneath the appropriate artist. - A 30,000, a 20,000 and a 10,000. Thus two artists will be worth nothing at all. The artist who's card 'ended the round' - in this case Christin P. automatically gets the 30,000 marker. The next highest number of cards gets the 20,000 and the next the 10,000. In the case of a tie, as we have here between Lite Metal and Karl Gitter, the artist furthest to the left of the board breaks the tie. Thus after this round the board would look like -
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | L | | Y | | C | | G | | K | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |___| |___| |___| |___| |___| | | | | _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ | | |20K| | | |30K| |10K| | | | | |___| |___| |___| |___| |___| | | _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ | | | | | | | | | | | | |
All the sold cards are now cashed in, note that the Yokos are worth nothing at all.
The players take their money - more cards are dealt and play proceeds in the second round.
Lets say after the second round the scores look like this.
| | L | | Y | | C | | G | | K | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |___| |___| |___| |___| |___| | | | | _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ | | |20K| | | |30K| |10K| | | | | |___| |___| |___| |___| |___| | | _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ | | |20K| |30K| |10K| | | | | | | |___| |___| |___| |___| |___| | | _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ |
In order to be worth something an artist must score that round in which case, any previous scores also count. If Gitter scored 30K next round he would be woth 40 overall.
The game is over when the fourth round is ended, and the player with the most cash wins.
(Ken - the above observations about the power of double cards are apparently based on a poorly worded rules translations - the same one I've got as it turns out. Mistranslations are the bane of Euro-gamers and should be avoided where possible but translating rules is a tricky business.
Tim Trant points out that in the case of a double card the player directly on your left must either match it and auction both cards, or you get to keep it for free.)
The wealth of tactics involved and the quickness of the game - about an hour a game - give it an addictive quality that I dont remember since Brittania.
The components are of a very high quality - the cards depict very good imitations of various artists, including Pollock and Lichtenstein. The cards are high-quality plastic coated, and stand up well to wear. Its all quite attractive, and comes in a good box - unusual for German games.
(Ken - Steady, Dave! Aside from some of the very small houses, like Moskito, German game manufacturers seem to have consistently high production values.)
I'd recommend it to anyone, and its available in the UK from SFC Press, who I have no association with whatsoever.
Review by Dave Roe, Trinity College, Dublin, Irelanddroe@cs.tcd.ie June 24, 1994
The Game Cabinet - email@example.com - Ken Tidwell