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BLATZ, £24.95

2-4 players

designed by

reviewed by

If the sight of grown men and women testing the relative weights of plastic statues filled with tiny particles of rock fills you with sadness, then you will want no part of Die Oster Insel. That, in essence, is the game. To call it lightweight would be to breach the trade descriptions act. But for all that, it has sound game mechanics (Herr Randolph and mate) and is superbly presented. I'm embarrassed to report that it is closing in on my 10+ list.

What is initially attractive about this package are the detailed plastic statues, authentic (apparently) scale models of those found on the mysterious Easter Island. The rest of the kit comprises a smallish game board, supplementary statues, play cards and the aforementioned bag of gravel. The game turn is rotated, and comprises selecting one of the five cards drawn from the top of the deck and then either moving your own playing piece (statue) or filling it with rocks. The cards depict rock formations comprising between one and six stones. If, for example, you select the ``5'' card, this will enable you to move five spaces but you must then place five rocks in the other players' statues. Alternatively, you may drop the rocks down the aperture of your own model and then move the other playing pieces a combined total of five squares.

The mini-rocks can be replenished by passing the smaller statues en route, the first one gaining one stone, the second two, etc. There are eight in total. There is also a joker in the pack, which can either be used as a ``6'' card or as a means of stealing another player's rock pile. In a novel twist, the winner is the person with the heaviest statue in either first or second place once the finish line has been breached.

Since Spiel '94, there has been discussion as to the definition of victory. I now understand that the literal translation of the rules states number of rocks in the statue, but during the demonstration of the game on the Blatz stand, there was little doubt that the heaviest statue took the grand prize. If you had been privy to the ceremonial weighing at the Ruhr Hotel in Essen, utilising their splendid brass scales, then your preferred method would be mass.

Mike Clifford

next up previous
Next: AUSGEBREMST Up: Sumo 20 index Previous: SACK (formerly BANTU)
Stuart Dagger