Thursday, July 17, 2008

#76: Am Fuß des Kilimandscharo

Am Fuß des Kilimandscharo
  • designer: Reiner Knizia
  • publisher: Hans im Glück
  • date: 1993
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 3637/5.6
  • age: 7+
  • # of players: 2-4
  • print status: OOP
  • cost: $20.00 canadian (BGG)
Translated, the title means "At the Foot of Kilimanjaro" - each player is attempting to get his expedition to the base of the great mountain first. Well, in this case, it's actually the end of a 100 space track, but you get the idea.

Movement is pretty simple - there are four suits of cards (themed for various modes of transporation) and each player has 3 cards face up in front of him. On your turn, you play a card on a pile - yours or another players - and then move. The distance of your movement is based on the 3 cards in front of you - if none of the cards match, you move the highest number of the cards. If there's a pair that match, you add the values together. If all three cards match, you add all three values together.

So the game is a balancing act between keeping your guy moving forward & slowing down other players... so far, so good. But there's one more element to the race. At the beginning of the game, players are given some tokens which they can place face down on (almost) any space). The majority of them are "food" tokens, which cause the player landing on them to move forward the same amount again. There are also "lion" tokens which send you back to the next village & "swap" tokens which cause you switch places with another player.

The trick, of course, is to place & remember your tokens - then manipulate your movement to take advantage of them. Younger kids can do the memory part but aren't always able to do the appropriate math to get them to the spaces. Adults have trouble remembering where they put the coke glass, let alone a bunch of small pieces - but they can do the math to get where they want. It balances out in the end.

The game is quick & enjoyable - a little bit of hosage (which is good training for kids - they need a little hosage in their life to prepare them for Diplomacy... he he he) but nothing over the top. It does have a potential kingmaker problem (you can let someone win by not playing cards on their tableau) but the game is so short it really isn't an issue.

Final note: use the variant that the swap tokens have reduced powers.

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