FX Schmid, £9
Designed by Reiner Knizia
3-5 Players, about 20 minutes
Reviewed by Dave Farquhar

Have at ye varlets! Attacke is a jousting card game for three to five players. Each takes the part of a knight attempting to win the tourney by being victorious in five disciplines.

The type of each is not identified, but is represented by a different colour suit. The cards are numbered 2,3,4,5, and 7. The colour of the card lead determines the discipline fought to win the 'trick', and combatants either pass, or join in the trial of strength until only one survives. The winner gains a coloured disk commemorating this success (assuming he does not already have one). The first to gain the required number of different coloured disks is then declared the winner....HURRAH!

Any number of appropriate cards may be played at the same time, over as many rounds as desired, in an effort to attain the highest cumulative total. However, only one replacement card is picked up, regardless of the number played. Bouts may therefore be just one card long, or go on indefinitely.

This gives an interesting tactical decision of whether to hang in there in an attempt to win, or have a kip while the other knights batter each other to a pulp. Given the opportunity you can then lead this suit again, in the hope that the rest are still too weak to respond. This strategy can fall down, as the winner leads the next tourney suit, and he ain't gonna lead that one, having just won it. Gadzooks, foiled again!

The addition of two types of joker, a seven and a ten. add to the variety. Both increase the attack value of the knight who played it, but the ten is an all or nothing attack. If the knight who played it loses the bout, he has to give up a token!

That's it really. The game is pleasant enough, but does not have the hidden depths normally associated with Reiner's creations. Games range from a series of quickly won bouts, to hard fought contests, with the lead fluctuating throughout. Attacke is a likeable game. if you are looking for something relatively quick playing, without taxing the family too much, this could be joust the job (sorry).

SAMPLE TRICK Round One: Arthur to lead. He currently has yellow and red tokens, his hand consisting mainly of red and blue cards. Having already been victorious in red, Arthur not surprisingly leads blue, laying a 3. He says "3 blue", and picks one replacement. Cedric, who already has blue, stays in just to cause Arthur problems (the blue cards are of no use to him at present anyway). He declares a "5", and picks one. Gawain has no tokens, and is getting desperate to win one. He plays a 2 and a 4, saying "6", and picking up one (thus reducing his hand by one). Mordred has a reasonable hand of blue, but elects to pass in the hope of attacking them when they are weaker (typical), he declares "pass", and picks up one card, ending the round for him. Guinnevire plays a blue 7, and picks up.

Round Two: Arthur may now fold, or carry on, but needing to play blue cards which increase his total above seven. He plays a 5, declares "8" (5 + previous 3), picks up. Cedric smiles as he plays a 7 "12", picks up. Gawain must play at least a 7, but does not have one, so he again lays two cards (4&5) "14", replaces one. Mordred sits back and enjoys the carnage. Guinnevire plays a seven joker, and a blue 2 "16", replaces one.

Round Three: Arthur now only has two blue cards left, a 7 and a 2. He plays both, "17" heaving a relieved sigh when he picks up a 10 joker! Cedric passes, picking up one last card. Gawain, desperate to win a trick, places a 4 "18". Guinnevire folds.

Round Four: Now only Arthur and Gawain are left standing. Arthur throws down his 10 joker "27", and picks up ... a yellow! Gawain, with one mighty last effort, launches his last two blues, both 5, "28". Cedric falls to his knees, declares a pass, and picks up a last card. Lifting his visor, he wipes a tear from his eye as he throws in a token (penalty for losing having played a 10 joker). He chooses red, as this should be easiest for him to win back. Gawain claims a blue token, and it is his turn to lead, But from a much reduced hand. Mordred looks smug, but then he always does.

Dave Farquhar

On to the review of Die Hanse or back to the review of Anagram.

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