What're you looking at!
My wife and I have played this game about 20 times (including five of its original: Dschunke das Legespiel), and think it is one of the deeper, simple games we have played. Set up time is minimal, the rules are simple, but after a few plays, the tactical and strategic decision making cause a mild brain burn.
This a tile laying game, where you can stack the tiles. The tiles themselves are 3x1 and depict a variety of spices and rats. The goal is to match as many spices as you can while covering up your colour's rats.
The game comes with 42 tiles of good quality cardboard. The artwork is cartoonish, and you may find yourself wondering what some of the spices are. We have given some their own names, like cauliflower and bamboo. There are four different green and red spices: each spice is represented ten times and each coloured rat is represented eight times.
Also included are wooden disks for scorekeeping: grey for single points; yellow for double points.
The rules are quite simple. A starting tile is laid, and then players take turns laying tiles. The first player lays one, and thereafter each lays two, until the last turn, when the second player lays only one.
Tiles are laid so that at least one of the three squares of the new tile is aligned with one of a previously laid tile. You can also place a tile on top of other tiles, but there must be no spaces under the tile. Also, you cannot place a tile directly on top of another: that is, it must rest on at least two different tiles (this adds a very cool wrinkle to the game).
The goal is to match your spices when you lay tiles and this is how you get points: one point for two matching spices; two points for three or more matching spices. These points are given to the player immediately. At the end of the game, all matching spices that are still showing (many will get covered up during the game) are scored again for the player's grand total. Whoever has the most points wins.
The game can end before the last tile is played. If a player has three rats showing at the end of his turn, he automatically loses. You have to be especially careful when you have two rats showing as you can draw another tile with one of your rats and not be able to cover either of the two already showing.
After a few plays I found this game increasingly more engaging. Whenever possible, you need to take advantage of tile stacking. If you have matching spices on two or more different levels, it is a lot more work for your opponent to cover them up (keeping in mind the re-scoring at the end of the game). Also, if you can get an opponent's rat surrounded by different levels, they will have to waste a few tiles to cover it.
I found getting into the mindframe of using the third dimension very challenging and interesting. You have to carefully consider how each tile is laid, or you will find your spices covered very quickly, and you opponent's very difficult to cover. The original of this game, Dschunke das Legespiel, is even more strategic as there is no scoring until the end of the game.
We enjoy this game immensely, and I give it a very solid 8. It's rather light on theme, and will not scratch that itch. However. if you are looking for a quick and easy thinker, this is definitely it. We will be getting many more plays out of this game.