David G. Cox Esq.
Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are.
The Wacky, Wacky West
Winner of the SDJ (1991) under the title of Drunter & Druber
Designed by Klaus Teuber
Published by Mayfair Games (2010)
Time changes everything.
Twenty years ago Drunter & Druber won the highly coveted Spiel dah Jahres. At the time the game was state of the art.
A lot can change in 20 years. Certainly the graphic capability of game publishers has blossomed due to computers. With the advent of a whole new breed of designers gamers expect more from a game than they did 20 years ago – at least I’m fairly sure that I do.
Mayfair games has republished Drunter & Druber under the new name/theme Wacky Wacky West. It could have be called the Tacky Wacky West, but let's burn that bridge when we come to it.
I recently purchased Wacky, Wacky West at a convention because a friend had told me it was an excellent game and I saw that it was designed by Klaus Teuber. I was unaware that it was simply a rethemed version of Drunter & Druber.
Now that I have played the game I find myself unable to describe it as an excellent game. I would describe it more as ‘adequate’. Personally, I thought that it was lacking in fun and doubt that I would ever suggest it as a game to play. I would play it if someone suggested it. Personally, as far as the fun goes, it doesn’t compare to games such as Downfall of Pompeii. Think about it – what is going to be more fun, throwing Roman citizens into an active volcano and then trying to cause others to sizzle to death in the lava or by trying to preserve public toilets in an ‘old west’ town. It’s not rocket surgery.
In WWW there are six different types of buildings that are worth points. Each player obtains points by stopping a particular building type from being demolished. There are also a large number of toilets, latrines, outhouses (call them what you will). For some reason a significant number of hypothetical townspeople want to save the toilets – I guess either because of their historical value, their utility value or simply because they add ambiance to the immediate vicinity.
In the game players take turns placing tiles that represent roads, rails and river. There are four distinct paths of tiles being placed on the board, each one emanating from one corner of the board.
If a tile is about to be placed over a toilet players use their voting cards to decide if the placement goes ahead or not. Players have 8 cards each - three yes votes (1, 2 and 3), three no votes (1, 2 and 3), a wild card (2 votes yes or no) and an abstain vote - apart from the abstain card cards are discarded after use.
Players are randomly given an equal number of tiles at the start of the game. Players are limited to these tiles for the game. As they are distributed randomly players will have different numbers of river, road and rail tiles.
The game ends when no more tiles can be laid. At that time players score points for their buildings that have not been covered by tiles. No one knows who is going for what buildings until the end of the game and this adds an element of uncertainty. Only a small number of tiles have bridges on them and these bridges allow paths to cross.
The game is very simple to understand and very quick to play. It seems to lack depth and it is hard to believe that it actually won the SDJ.
I found the game bland, verging on boring. It lacked interest and excitement. The decisions are not that deep or difficult. The theme is very thin and starts to stink after a small amount of time. I have many other games that will give me more pleasure.
The game’s only redeeming feature is that it is very simple and easy to explain so may be suitable as a ‘gateway’ game for people with little experience of boardgames.
We generally have similar tastes -- you're on my list of users with high correlations to my ratings -- so it's too bad you didn't like this one. I find Drunter & Druber to be a fun game with interesting decisions. It has elements of bluff, deduction, and tile-laying, and comes together well. There's enough opponent-screwage to make things interesting but not so much that it becomes confrontational. Although no one knows for sure who is going for what building, you had better have a pretty good idea by the end of the game!