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Zoch Verlag's Late 2013 Line-up: Chickens, Pigs, Birds, Beer & Even More Things for Grabby Players to Grab

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game: Polterfass
• As we get closer to Spiel 2013 and news of new games continues to come out of the woodwork, it's time to run through Zoch Verlag's offerings for late 2013, starting with a new take on the prisoner's dilemma in Andreas Schmidt's Polterfass:

The innkeeper of "The Wild Boar" tavern is a sly old dog! While he treats humble guests who don't ask for much to free rounds, for hard-drinking boozers he closes the tap and keeps the cool brew for himself.

Polterfass is a dice-rolling game without dice! Yes, the dice have been replaced by small beer barrels, and the active player each round is the innkeeper who shares his brew with players who keep their requests modest.

The game includes nine barrels — two of them being special ones — that are rolled out of a die cup. The normal barrel bases show numbers, while the special barrel bases show symbols that allow the innkeeper to double other values or cancel them. After each roll, only the values/symbols of "standing" barrels count.

After the active player has rolled for the first time, the other players secretly place cards with numbers in front of them. The active player then decides whether to reroll, change the values, or end his turn. Once his turn ends, the guests reveal their cards and sum them. If the innkeeper's total is less than this sum, he wins this round, keeping all the beer for himself while the guest with the highest card actually loses points! If the innkeeper's total is higher, each player scores the value of his played card, and the innkeeper keeps the rest.

When one player has at least 75 points, the game ends, and the player with the most points wins!
Sounds like a fun one, and for once a bar-friendly game is actually themed around playing at a bar!

Board Game: Polterfass

Board Game: Ghost Blitz: 5 to 12
Jacques Zeimet's quick-playing reaction game Geistesblitz from 2010 has been translated and republished in multiple languages, with one sequel/spin-off released in 2012. Now Geisterblitz takes on new shape — and includes new shapes! — in Geistesblitz 5 vor 12.

In the original game, five wooden items sit on the table waiting to be caught — a white ghost, a green bottle, a cute grey mouse, a blue book, and a comfortable red chair — and the item to be grabbed depends on what's shown on the card revealed that round. Geistesblitz 5 vor 12 increases the challenge by including nine objects in five colors. Each round, a player reveals a card that shows three of these objects, and the player who grabs the object that has neither the same shape nor color appearing on the picture keeps the card — unless, that is:

• An object on the card is in its original color, in which case you must grab this object.
• And if an owl appears in the picture, you must name the object instead of grabbing it.
• And if the ghost appears with a clock, you must give the time on the clock instead of doing anything else.
• And if the magic mirror shows up, none of the other rules apply and you just need to grab whichever object is reflected by the mirror!

When the card deck runs out, whoever has collected the most cards wins.
Board Game: Ghost Blitz: 5 to 12

Board Game: Zicke & Zacke: Ran an die Federn
• The chickens are back in a new game titled Zicke & Zacke, not that they ever really went away. They just hang about Klaus Zoch's apartment in the spare room waiting for him to give them a new task. Here's what they need to do this time:

It's eggactly high noon, and the chickens Zicke and Zacke have started a feather-trimming duel. Rump to rump, they flutter in opposite directions, but since they're running around the chicken yard in a circle, they will meet soon enough with loud clucking. Whoever manages to jump over the other adorns herself with a new tail feather — but the more the young chickens puff up their feathers, the slower they strut around. And the worms, who are skillful enough to flee time and again, also make for lots of stops during the race.

In the end, only the chicken that pays attention to closing her memory gaps will fill her rump with feathers and win by a beak.

In Zicke & Zacke, thirteen face-up tiles lay in a circle around 13 face-down "yard tiles" that have the same pictures on them. Two players or two teams take turns moving the two chickens, trying to reveal the corresponding tile that they move to, preferably the ones upon which a worm awaits. Jumping over the other chicken gains you a feather, but feathers slow down the chicken.

The player or team whose chicken gains four feathers first wins.
Board Game: Zicke & Zacke: Ran an die Federn

Board Game: Schmatzspatz
Edith Grein-Böttcher's Schmatzspatz has all the familiar Zoch elements: animals, worms and cool bits wrapped up with warm illustrations. As for the gameplay, here's an overview:

The breakfast worms are coming! Twelve hungry baby birds stretch their wide-open beaks into the air. Will the busy parent birds manage to get enough food for all of them?

In Schmatzspatz, four wooden birds sit on the edges of the circular rotating "board in the box", each with a worm in its beak. In the middle area are twelve hungry little birds with open mouths. A symbol die determines the sector of the board where the most hungry baby birds are. The player now decides which one of these birds to feed and tries to rotate the board to move one of the adult birds to the right position.

The turning board occasionally blocks the feeding, however,so the players must remember these "blocked" positions. When the worm can successfully be fed to the bird, the baby closes its beak. If the players manage to feed all the baby birds before running out of worms, they win the game together.

Schmatzspatz includes a competitive version in which each player tries to get rid of his worm supply first.
Board Game: Schmatzspatz

Board Game: Sauschwer
Sauschwer from designers Andrea Meyer and Martin Schlegel is a new take on the In a Pickle/Fauna style of guessing/party game, with players now trying to determine what weighs more:

Sauschwer is an estimable estimation game in which everything revolves around weight. A baby hippo is certainly heavier than a 10-liter bucket of silver – or is it? And what if we add enough grapes to the silver to produce 100 liters of wine? Or 1000 tennis balls? Or...

Each of the 188 playing cards in Sauschwer asks for the weight of a person or one or more objects. On a turn, the active player estimates the weight in his mind and places the card next to one end of a seesaw scale. After that, he places a wooden pig on the side of the scale that he thinks is now the heavier side (adding the "weights" of all cards on both sides in mind). If at least one other player doubts that guess, all players bet on one side of the scale being the heavier one. The result is often close and surprising, and the players who guessed correctly earn victory points.
Board Game: Sauschwer

Much thanks to Daniel Danzer for submitting these images and game listings!
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