Thursday, June 07, 2007


One of the games I've been most looking forward to, Die Kutschfahrt Zur Teufelsburg, has arrived in CyberKev's collection and been played (by me) twice now. I rate it a 9.

The first time we played was with 10 players which was a little unwieldy as any venture with 10 people will be. The second was 6 players and was much smoother. Eight players might be good as well.

So here's what happens: there are two secret societies and half the players are in each (I don't know what happens with an odd number of players). The societies are so secretive that you don't know who else is in them until this particular coach ride to Devil's Castle. There are also some items with various powers. Some of the items are objects which are sacred to your society and your team (secret society) is trying to collect all of those. But you don't know who's on that team.

On your turn you can trade an item with someone or attack someone. If you attack other players support the attacker or the defender. Whoever gets the most support wins and may either steal an item from the other player or look at which secret society they're in. When you trade an item you offer an item to another player and they may accept or reject. If they accept they give you something in return. Trading is assisted by the fact that some items have special powers like "when you trade this away you draw another item" or "you must trade if this item is offered to you".

On your turn you may also declare victory by nominating enough members of your secret society that all have sacred objects and have at least 3 of them between them. In that case the whole secret society wins (or loses if you're wrong, Evil Count). Thus you want to (a) determine who the other members of your secret society are, (b) get the sacred items, (c) let the other members of your society know if you have the items.

A typical sequence of play goes like this. I'm in the Brotherhood of Open Secrets which needs 3 keys to win. I attack the Evil Count. Everyone rushes to defend him. I lose. He looks to see what secret society I'm a member of. On his next turn he offers to trade a key to me which suggests he doesn't mind if I have the items needed to win... so I guess he's in the Brotherhood as well. As the game proceeds you make similar linkages to other players.

I was particularly happy with the conclusion to the game I played this evening. I'd determined that the Evil Count and Minotower were in the Brotherhood with me. I had a "secret bag". The power of the secret bag is that when you give it away you get to draw an item, and when all items were drawn that secret bag turned into a key. On my turn there was one item left and I had the secret bag so I offered it to Minotower. He took the bag and gave me a key. I drew the last item so his bag turned into a key. He had a fistful of items and on his turn he declared victory, claiming that he had two keys and I had one key. Woohoo!

Kutschfahrt reminds me a lot of Werewolf but with more analysis and less emotion and lying. I like the analysis and deduction, and the cards are very pretty, so this game is a winner for me. With experienced players I could see the opportunities for deception increasing, and that's attractive to me as well. I need my own copy.


ekted said...

Nice. I need to look at this again. Is the copy you played in English?

Kevin S. O'Brien said...

The game is in German, but all of the cards have English at the bottom (in small font), and the rules are presented in both German and English. So it's entirely playable.

Friendless said...

Yes, it's definitely playable in English. I'd like to play it with my sister's family but my nephew can't even read English yet.

Kevin S. O'Brien said...

By the way, with an odd number of players, each player has a "Potion of Power" (or something like that), which can never be lost or traded. It counts as the object your side needs (a key or a goblet), but can only be used by the side with the fewest members. So, if you're counting on it to meet the requirement of three items, you need to make sure that you are the minority association. We played our first game with five players. It played OK, but I think it plays better with an even number.

Todd D. said...

I got in a play of this at the Houston Gamers on Saturday. Gorgeous illustrations on the cards definitely add to the experience.

I liked it enough that I'd play again, though I'm not sure how many plays it has in it.

We had two or three cards that required some explanation - the English terminology is a tiny bit goofy.

Still, a fun filler - there's just not enough information at the start to bog the analysis-paralysis folks.