6 Nimmt is a great light card game that has been very popular in Germany and has a dubiously-themed US edition, too (more on that later). The translation is basically “Take 6!”, which is an appropriate title because when you add a sixth card to one of the four sets of five set up for the game, you take the whole row of cards.
To begin a round of play, you get ten cards with values between 1 and 104 (one of each number is available). Four cards from those remaining are set up to start the four rows. Then, everyone selects a card to play and then, when they are revealed, they are distributed to the stacks in ascending numerical order. Your card is added to the stack with the highest number your card is higher than. So, if you play a 29 and the stacks are 15, 21, 46, 89, your card goes to the 21 stack. If your card is the sixth in the set, you take the original five cards in the row as points (points are bad) and your card becomes the beginning of a set to replace the old one.
If your card is too low to go on any stack, you choose a stack (the smallest one is usually the best) and take the cards, with your card beginning the new stack. Not a lot of sure things here, especially when playing large groups (this plays up to 10). The scoring is simple – every card has a number of bullheads and each one counts as a point. The card points are based on the number – multiples of five have two bullheads, those of ten have three, those of eleven have four – and they are cumulative - meaning that dreaded 55 (a multiple of 5 and 11) is the worst card with seven points.
The round ends when all ten cards are played and the game ends when one player gets to 66 points (the player with the lowest number of points wins).
There are a number of variants but the only one I have played much is Profi, where cards can be added to the low end of the card sets, too. This makes playing small cards much easier but also makes the game incredibly chaotic. Too much luck in that version, in my opinion, because you REALLY have no idea where your cards will go. Additionally, I was recently given the expansion from the 10th Anniversary edition that adds a bunch of '0' cards that can be used in a number of variants, too.
This is a charming, quickly played light game that is also fun on BSW (Brettspielwelt.de) because of the great sound effects (it moos when you take a card!) and a funny marquee that comes out and lists the order of ranking for each round - who took the least to who took the most.
The game has some simple strategies (playing low cards when there are single bullhead rows to take, playing numbers that immediately follow the current high number on a stack, playing higher than the low stacks but below the high stacks in hopes of piggybacking after someone else takes a set). But the bottom line is that the game does have a healthy load of luck in it. Sometimes even a really good play can be ruined by everyone else going a different way (or the same way). A good mix of cards all over the number chain is best and getting a lot in a row (I once had 31 through 37 – ugh, most of my hand!) or lots of low or high cards can be devastating. But it’s a quick game that is a lot of fun and I think will translate into the real world well.
By the way, I seriously recommend obtaining the German version. The US edition is published by a company that changed both the ‘number’ of the game and the theme – they call it Category 5. Anyone in the US is probably startled to hear this right now, as that term means only one thing in our perception: hurricanes. Unfortunately, that is the theme of this version.
There are also numerous other similar games - a board game version with different rules and a sequel, Hornochsen that has more control and positive and negative points.