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Build Bridges, Arrange Leaves, Fight for Whiskey, and Mark Up Europe

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game: Hashi
As I have undoubtedly made clear from multiple posts about The Mind (one example) and The Game (example) among other things, I'm a fan of German publisher Nürnberger-Spielkarten-Verlag, a.k.a. NSV, as it releases quick-playing, family-friendly games with minimal rules, which I appreciate since I'm always trying to introduce games to new people. What's more, I like these types of games myself, partly just because I'm curious to see what designers do in a "small" game space.

With that in mind, here's an overview of the early 2021 game releases from NSV, starting with Jeffrey D. Allers' Hashi, a 1-4 player game built around the concept behind the Hashiwokakero logic puzzles (a.k.a. Hashi or Bridges) of connecting islands with bridges, but this is a competitive game in which you try to "complete" as many islands as possible. In detail:
To set up, all players decide on which side of the board to use; each side shows 18 islands: 4 with a red flag and 3 with a blue flag, with all others having no flags. Write a 3 or 4 on a non-flagged island, then give this board to the player on your left. Remove one of the 18 number cards from the shuffled deck without revealing it.

On a turn, reveal a card, which will show a numeral (1-6) and a number of bridges. Write the numeral on an island that doesn't yet have a numeral, writing on a flagged island only if it has at least one bridge connected to it. Then draw the number of bridges on the card from numbered islands to orthogonally adjacent islands, noting that:

—You can't cross bridges.
—At most two bridges can connect orthogonally adjacent islands.
—The number of bridges connected to an island cannot exceed the numeral on that island.

Board Game: Hashi

You can skip one or both parts of this card, if you wish to or are forced to. If the number of bridges touching an island equals the numeral on that island, circle that numeral. If you're the first player to circle all the red-flagged islands, all the blue-flagged islands, or six connected islands of any type, you score a bonus and all other players cross off this bonus; they score only a bonus of lower value if they complete one of these goals on a later turn.

After 17 cards have been revealed and played, players then score 2 points for each circled island in addition to any bonus points. The player with the highest score wins!

To play Hashi solo, you play the same way, but you score bonuses only if you complete goals within a certain number of turns.
• Designer Steffen Benndorf is a regular with NSV, having partnered with them for Qwixx, The Game, and several other titles.

Benndorf has three titles with NSV in early 2021, the "largest" of them being Alles auf 1 Karte, or "Everything on 1 Card", which is a game rule that has been transformed into a title. Here's how to play:
Players need to complete the colored rows on their cards in order to score points, but they can mark off rows on only one card at a time.

During set-up, each player is dealt two (erasable) cards that have five rows on them, with the rows being 2-6 spaces long; the rows are in five different colors out of the six colors included on the six-sided dice.

On your turn as the active player, you roll the five dice, then re-roll as many dice as you wish up to two more times. After you stop, all players can then use the results of the die roll to mark off empty spaces on one of their two cards — but if you want to use a color rolled on the dice, then you must use all of that color. If the die roll shows three purple, for example, you must cross off exactly three purple spaces; if you can't cross off three, then you cross off zero!

Board Game: Alles auf 1 Karte

The turn that you complete three or more rows on a card, you score that card, earning points equal to the collective length of the filled rows. You can also earn bonus points for completing one or both rows with sun symbols. You then take a new card from the deck.

The game ends the turn that a player completes their fourth card. Every player then scores for completed rows on their cards (but not sun symbols), then whoever has the most points wins.

Another way to play Alles auf 1 Karte is to start by choosing three cards from the five you are dealt, shuffling the others back into the deck. When you complete a card, you choose one of three face-up cards as a replacement.
• The other Benndorf title is 5 Minuten Puzzle, part of NSV's "MINNYS" line of even smaller games, which come packaged along the lines of a Magic: The Gathering booster pack. The gist of the game is "fill in as many spaces as possible", but in more detail:
Each player in 5 Minuten Puzzle takes one of the player sheets — making sure that everyone is using the same side — and a pen. One side of the sheet shows a roughly hexagonal grid composed of black hexes and blue and red circles (collectively "spaces"), while the other side has these hexes and circles arranged like a bear's head.

On a turn, any player rolls the die, then you each must draw one of the shapes next to this die result— e.g., a circle, two hexes, and another circle in a line — into the grid, then cross it out to indicate that you can't use it again. You can place the first shape anywhere, then all subsequent shapes you add must touch something you've drawn previously. If you've used both shapes for a number, you can choose any available shape, then cross it out. If you can't place a shape or decline to do so, you must still cross one out.

Board Game: 5 Minuten Puzzle

After twelve die rolls, you will have three or more spaces still open (because the grid has 51 spaces). You then score penalty points for each unfilled space: 3 for red, 2 for blue, and 1 for black. Additionally you score 1 penalty point for each different area of unfilled spaces in your grid. Whoever has the fewest penalty points wins.

As a variant for experience players, each player can fill in 0-3 spaces in their grid before starting play. This possibly allows you to have a lower score, but only if you can still place all of the shapes in your grid.
• The third Benndorf title is a co-design with newcomer Kaddy Arendt, with Go for Gold being a simultaneous "roll and move" game that works like this:
In Go for Gold, you and others explore an island with temples and treasures, attempting to grab more loot for yourself than anyone else can.

To set up, each player takes their own double-sided player sheet, making sure that everyone is using the same side. The sheet shows an island of hexes, with various spaces displaying shovels, footprints, treasures, and five colors of temples. Each player starts the game in a different harbor space on the island's perimeter.

Board Game: Go for Gold

On a turn, the active player rolls a die, then each player moves that many spaces in a contiguous line, marking each space as you go. You can't re-enter spaces you've visited previously. If you pass through or land on shovels or footprints, you circle those icons on your player sheet. By crossing off a footprint, you can ignore the die and move 1-6 spaces.

If you end your movement on a treasure, roll the die, and if the die result equals or exceeds the treasure value (4-6), you collect these points in one of your six scoring spaces. For each shovel you cross off, you can add 1 to the result of the die.

If you end your movement on a temple, roll the die; if you have at least as many shovels as the number rolled, you score 9 points, and if you don't, you lose 1 point. If you succeed in exploring a temple, all other players mark it out since you've looted that location.

As soon as a player has filled their six scoring spaces or no one can score any more points, the game ends, and whoever has the highest score wins.
• A third MINNYS title is Bunte Blätter ("Colorful Leaves") from the design team of Jens Merkl and Jean-Claude Pellin, with Pellin specializing in real-time games such as Cookie Box, Flip Hop, and together with Merkl Nine Tiles Panic in which you need to put stuff in order quickly. Bunte Blätter is the newest title to join this family:
In Bunte Blätter, you want to recreate a pattern of leaves as quickly as possible.

Each player has a set of five double-sided leaf cards, with four leaves on each side of each card. The game also includes 16 double-sided target cards that show a pattern of 16 leaves.

Board Game: Bunte Blätter

To play, flip over a target card to reveal the pattern on the opposite side. You then race to recreate the leaf pattern shown, placing four of your cards in a 2x2 grid, then laying the fifth card on top of this grid, overlapping at least two of the cards on the bottom layer. If you think you've recreated the pattern, slap the target card. If you're correct, you claim that card; if not, you're out for that round.

The first player to collect three target cards (or whatever total you decide upon) wins.
Loot, Shoot, Whisky is a two-player dueling game from Moritz Dressler that brings the total number of new MINNYS to four:

After a greenhorn foolishly drops their golden nuggets on the saloon floor, the two players in Loot, Shoot, Whisky are caught up in a struggle over the precious loot.

Each round, four saloon cards are revealed, with the cards showing either gold nuggets, whiskey, or a bullet. Each player has a hand six cards: two each of Loot (go for the card), Shoot (take a shot at their opponent), and Whiskey (grab the whiskey bottle). Players each secretly play one card on the two saloon cards closest to the deck, reveal and resolve those cards, then secret play on the next two saloon cards, resolve those, then refill the saloon layout to four cards.

Board Game: Loot, Shoot, Whisky

The outcome of these confrontations uses a rock-paper-scissors mechanism:

• Whiskey beats Shoot, with the winner gaining a separate, non-saloon whiskey card or (if they already have it) flipping it over to "drink" it; if you win whiskey three times without the opponent taking back the bottle, then you finish the bottle and win.
• Shoot beats Loot, with the shooting player taking a hit card as a badge of honor. If you collect four hit cards, you win.
• Loot beats Whiskey, with the winner claiming the current saloon card. If this card is a shoot or whiskey, then you resolve those cards as described above; if this card shows gold nuggets, you collect those nuggets, and if you have collected nine or more nuggets, you win.

In case of a tie, discard the saloon card.

If someone doesn't win the game instantly as described above, then the game ends when you can't refill the saloon to four cards. In this case, whoever has the whiskey bottle on their side of the board wins.
Inspektor Nase from NSV developer Reinhard Staupe continues the "yellow" line of titles for younger players, with this design having a similar feel to Similo, but with more unpredictability as to how you lead people to the proper card. An overview:
In the co-operative deduction game Inspektor Nase, players take turns in the role of "Inspector Nose" to try to lead everyone else to identify the correct card.

Board Game: Inspektor Nase

The game plays over five rounds, and you start each round by laying out five image cards from the deck. If you are Inspector Nose, shuffle the number cards (1-5) and look at one of them to determine which target card players must not remove from play. You then roll five image/symbol dice, choose one of them, and place it on the clue card. The other players then debate and remove one image card from play. If they didn't remove the target card, you add one more image/symbol die to the remaining four, roll them, choose another die, and so on.

If the players remove four cards and leave only the target card behind, great! If they remove the target card earlier, well, better luck next round. The team scores 1 point for each correctly removed card, with the highest possible score being 20. How well will you do?
• Finally, NSV has released Würfelland: Europe, an expansion for Andreas Spies and Reinhard Staupe's Würfelland in which you'll be marking off spaces in the same manner as in the base game, but with each player now marking up a colorful European country while on the hunt for treasure spaces.

Board Game: Würfelland: Europe
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