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2F-SPIELE, approx. £25

3-6 players, about 90 minutes

designed by

reviewed by

The literal meaning of `Falsche Fuffziger' is `counterfeit fifties' (`Fuffziger' is a dialect expression for `Fünfziger'), but the expression is mostly used in the metaphorical sense - `er ist ein falscher Fuffziger' -- meaning someone is a crook or a bad person (thank you for the German lesson Barbara). The promotion of the 'ff' to capitals in the title 'FuFFziger', as well as the choice of the name of the game, undoubtedly has something to do with Friedemann's own name.

The object of the game is to own the most silver coins at the end of the game. Silver coins can only be obtained in auction, by bidding with `real' money. The real money is obtained through the money washing (laundering) of counterfeit money. The counterfeit money is produced on printing presses. The game ends when the last of the printing presses breaks down.

The contents of the game include 40 money washing, 10 inspector and 5 prompt cards, all of which are of playing card size and quality. There are lots of counterfeit money sheets (which need to be cut up), real money in the form of cardboard counters and pearl coloured plastic counters for the silver coins. There are also lots of small double sided printer cards, some of which need to be altered in line with the instructions on the erratum sheet.

At the beginning of the game each player owns three printers. Each printer will produce counterfeit notes, one printer 10DM notes, one 20DM notes and one printer 50DM notes. Later in the game printers can be upgraded or purchased in order to produce the higher value notes of 100DM and 150DM. Each turn a player has the option to change or sell their printers or to produce counterfeit money. Production is the safe way forward and each turn a machine will produce one counterfeit note. However, games are not won this way. Each printer card has a flip side and can be turned over once during the game. This will frequently result in that machine doubling its capacity or even increasing the value of the notes which it will produce. Unfortunately the machine may alternatively go kaput, in which case it will no longer produce any notes and is sold for scrap. As you do not know what will happen before you decide to flip the printer card there is an element of gambling involved, which I know is not to everyone's taste. A kaput printer early on in the game can seriously affect your wealth and your chances of winning the game. However the decision as to whether or not to flip a printer is only one of the many decisions which needs to be made and I found it acceptable in the context of the overall game.

The counterfeit money can be changed into `real' money in one of two ways. Firstly by money washing in auction and secondly by money washing at a fixed rate through the bank. The amount of real money available at each auction is identified on the money washing cards. These cards are turned over one at a time and state the minimum amount of counterfeit money which must be bid in order to secure a given amount of real money. Auctions continue until either no one can or wants to bid further or until one player wins two auctions. The two auction rule can be critical as it gives a player the opportunity to limit the amount of real money in circulation at that point of the game by bidding high and bringing this phase of the round to an end. This is useful because the sequence of the game phases means that only the real money obtained in auction is available to use to buy new machines during that turn, whilst the real money obtained from money washing at fixed rates from the bank can only be used in subsequent turns. The bidding in this phase is blind, indeed the rules require that the counterfeit money is screwed up in the player's hands when the bid is made. This was a complete anathema to everyone I've played with so far and we resorted to placing our bids in some hastily acquired envelopes. Extra white sheets of counterfeit money are provided with the game in order that more money can be photocopied when the original counterfeit notes wear out -- so don't cut these up along with the rest of the sheets when preparing the game!

During each turn there is also an auction for the silver coins. These auctions are generated by the inspector cards which also determine when the various printing machines will break down. The number of coins available at auction is determined by a die and the bidding is open. The starting player in that round puts an amount of money on the table, e.g. two counterfeit 100 DM notes or a particular amount of real money. The players who want to bid have to match the bid in the same denomination of counterfeit notes or with the same amount of real money. The bidding then continues with the next player increasing the bid according to the same rules. Players who weren't able, or who didn't want, to take part in the bidding are not allowed to re-enter the bidding. This system is quite fun, and has the attraction that it is possible to exclude the wealthiest player from this all important auction if they are without, for example, a single low denomination counterfeit note. The inspector cards also determine at which point the various printers break down. The machines always break down in sequence, i.e. those printers printing the lowest denomination counterfeit notes will break down first, at which point players receive the breakdown value of those machines, however all the notes of that denomination immediately become worthless. Only the timing of the breakdown of the final 150DM machine is known in advance as in this instance the relevant inspector card has a `green back'. A further consequence of the printer breakdowns is that as the game progresses only the higher value notes remain and the bidding increases accordingly.

As in Wucherer, Friedemann is not shy about adding extra bits to his games, which I am not always convinced are necessary. For example the inclusion of a `münzen' flip side to the 150DM printers and additional silver coin rewards to the players owning the most real money at the end of the game. I suspect the game has been financed from the profits from Wucherer, which I understand has sold over 15,000 units, and the game contents are reasonably produced subject to the unfortunate similarity in the red and orange colours which are used throughout. The box artwork however could have been improved upon. Full colour has been used, but the lid and base are both predominantly plain green (clearly Friedemann's favourite colour) with basic artwork and plain sides which will certainly not endear the game to retailers. This is a pity because the game is a good one, the overall game system appears well thought out, there are lots of decisions to be made and the game jollies along in a similar way to Elfenroads. I can certainly recommend Falsche FuFFziger to anyone who enjoys this length of game. Falsche FuFFziger has been published as a limited edition of 1,600 copies.

Richard Breese

next up previous
Next: SACK (formerly BANTU) Up: Sumo 20 index Previous: NEW RULES FOR CLASSIC
Stuart Dagger