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Stimmvieh: Ihr habt die Wahl!» Forums » Reviews

Subject: (2014 edition): Simple rules, interactive fun rss

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Daniel Danzer
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Stimmvieh was first published 16 years ago, but designer Andrea Meyer decided to re-publish an updated version and go the "crowdfunding" way via the German platform startnext. I asked her, if she could send me some PnP material, and she did, so I played it several times now with different groups of people and here is my review, based on this PnP version (photos not from actual gameplay).

Material:
Stimmvieh is a pure card came - there are 9 candidates in 4 colours/factions (pink, black, olive green, red), 24 donation cards with values from 50.000 to 200.000 Euros, 17 vote cards from 15.000 to 30.000 plus some additional cards and overviews vote / donation cards in the game.
Note: The 2014 version is planned with "oversized" cards (2.76" x 4.33"), the candidates with actual portraits (obama-ized) of backers and satirical slogans on them, but of course, in the prototype there are only generic portraits.

Overview:
The game is for 3 or 4 players and plays within 20 - 30 minutes. The core mechanism of the game is, that you will (usually) pick up one vote or one donation card per round - the winner after 9 rounds is the player with the highest donations (money wins!), but the players who collected the most and second most votes, double their donations during the scoring at the end of the game.
A second special mechanism supporting this core is that at the beginning of the game the players split their candidate cards in a group of 4, placed open in front of them and 5 to keep on their hand. The candidates have a influence value from 1 - 9, corresponding to numbers on the 4 donations / votes available. After you picked one o these the display is refilled with a donation or a vote card depending on which kind of card you played. Thus you influence the availability for upcoming players.

Setup:
- Each player selects one faction/colour and gets all 9 cards plus a card to mark their leading candidates in front of them.
- The donation and vote cards are shuffled seperately, then four random donation cards are revealed and placed in a row. The rest of the cards make two seperate open piles of donation / vote cards stacked on two base cards.


Setup for 4 players

Note: With 3 players, there is a dummy player ("Angela"), who is treated like a normal player. The decisions what she does, is taken by the other players in turn, so each player plays 3 turns of "Angela".

Gameplay:
First of all, each player selects 4 of his 9 cards and places them hidden in front of himself. Then all players reveal these cards and place them in an open row besides the "Leading candidate" card.


After having selected the "leading candidates"

The one who placed the cards with the highest total of influence on these 4 cards, is the starting player. Beginning with the starting player, players take their turns in clockwise order, until 9 rounds are completed.

On his turn, a player must play one of his cards and place it on one of two discard piles: Leading candidates are placed beside the vote card pile, cards from his hand beside the donation card pile. Each candidate card has a number on it (1 - 9), which is the influence of this politician.
Now he may take one of the four cards available in the row of donation and vote cards (not the top card of a pile!) with the same or lower number of influence required. The picked card is collected in one of two seperate piles in front of the player, so the value of the last card and the number of cards is visible.
Now the diplay is refilled with another donation or vote card. If the player has played a leading candidate (beside the donation pile), the topmost vote card is placed in the row, if he has played a card from his hand, the topmost donation card is used to refill the display.



This is it.

If the player is not able to pick up a card (because he only has cards with lower influences than required), or if he doesn't want to pick up a card, he only plays a card without taking one from the display.

Game end:
After 9 rounds, when all cards are played, players seperately count their donations and votes.
The two players with the highest and second highest total of votes now double their donation score!
The player with the highest donation now wins.

Fun factor:
The fun part in this game, IMHO, is the interaction and communication. Of course, there is some tactics included, since the cards with the lower values have a better price/performance ratio, and some cards have the same number of votes, but different influence numbers are required to get them. But what makes the game shine, is the discussion between players, who automatically advise each other and debate about what to do and what not to do!
The tension is high from the very beginning - and constantly rising. The selection of the leading candidates is tricky, even with the first set of available cards visible. And the question, what to do, when their are very attractive cards on top of the piles, and you have to trigger one of them, but also want to go with your own plans, is pure speculative greatness.

Target group:

This is not a kids' game - the values on the cards and the theme are obviously targeting adult players, who love to communicate, laugh, and are not afraid of some (easy) calculating.

Conclusion:
In my opinion, this game is quite different from any other game I know because of the combination of split cards to play, split cards to collect and the split scoring. And it is a very clever filler with a great satirical touch.
The 3-player solution works very well, too, since it is not random, but influenced by all the players - in my only 3-player game, "Angela" came in second, which was quite a surprise.

The game is right now on The German crowdfunding platform startnext - pnly until Monday, the 21st of July! It will have English rules, the slogans on the cards will be German [edit: and English, see post below], but are not important for playing the game (and probably still funny enough, when you have to translate them).
http://www.startnext.de/en/stimmvieh
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Andrea Meyer
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Thanks, Daniel. We plan to put both German and English slogans on the cards, just as they are provided and voted on by the the supporters. Each slogan will come with a translation on the card. We do this to increase the fun for the English-speaking crowd

Cheers,
Andrea
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Moved to Stimmvieh: Ihr habt die Wahl!
 
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