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Game Overview: The Game: Spiel...so lange du kannst!

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
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Board Game: The Game
Spielwarenmesse, the annual toy and game fair in Nürnberg, Germany, is a trade fair and not a retail show, so often game publishers don't have copies of finished games on hand because they're taking orders from retailers and distributors before hitting the big red print button.

But a few publishers did have finished goods on hand, and some of them even offered review copies, such as Nürnberger-Spielkarten-Verlag, which my cameraperson and I visited at approximately 5:50 — ten minutes before closing time — on our last day at the show. I intended to pick up flyers and get brief overviews of their games so that I could add them to the BGG database, but after the presentation, the NSV representative offered review copies of the two games in question, so into the bag they went, with Steffen Benndorf's The Game: Spiel...so lange du kannst! coming back out of the bag on the flight back to the U.S. and proving to be as enjoyable a time filler as I suspected it would be.

Here's an overview of the game — or rather, The Game — which I've now played fifteen times. The gist of The Game is simple: Play all of the cards in the deck onto the four discard piles. Sometimes you get lucky and can play a few cards, or many of them, without worry; at other times, you dance around, try to stash cards in hand for later, and hope to draw the right things in order not to be forced to close out a discard pile. If you've played the iOS app King Solitaire, originally known as 4 Thrones, you'll have some sense of the gameplay, with you being forced to play in certain directions — ascending or descending — on the discard piles, but sometimes being able to retrace your steps and play cards that you might have thought unplayable. The video has more details, and the English and German rules are available through NSV.

One thing I didn't mention in the video is that should you become an expert player, the rules suggest that you can increase the challenge by having fewer cards in hand or forcing yourself to play at least three cards each round. I'm not there yet as I often have unclear notions of which cards I've played and not a perfect memory for such things. Having such a memory doesn't guarantee success, but it does allow you to play the odds better because you'll know which cards remain in the deck still waiting to be played. All in good time...

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