Matt
United Kingdom
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That's my perp! Futsie, all right - crazy as a coot! He's got to be stopped!
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Despite sounding like something that your doctor may prescribe for a particularly embarrassing infection, Abluxxen (Or Linko, as it is known outside Germany) happens to be an unpretentious little card game created by Michael Kiesling and Wolfgang Kramer -the Lennon and McCartney of the board game world.

How do you Play?

The deck contains 104 number cards in eight different suits and five joker cards. Each player starts with a hand of 13 cards, on your turn you lay down one or more cards of the same value. If an opponent has already played the same number of cards and these cards are lower in value then you have the option of snatching these cards and adding them to your hand. If the opponent had cards snatched then he must replace them from six face-up cards or the face down deck. If the active player chose not to snatch then the opponent must either return the cards to their hand or discard them and draw the same amount back into his hand.
As soon as a player has no cards left in his hand the round ends, you score one point for each card played in front of you, minus one point for each card still in hand.

The Shadow Player

The game didn’t come with specific 2 player rules, but these official variant rules were released shortly after the game hit the market.
The two play variant has a really neat twist that I think makes the game even more interesting. There is an additional shadow player who is dealt a hand of thirteen cards (organised by value). Whenever you play cards that would allow you to snatch from the shadow player then you do not get a choice you have to snatch one set of “snatchable” cards from the shadow player’s hand.

This gives you a whole new gameplay facet to worry about or exploit. Now it becomes even more vital to consider which cards to play, and you often find yourself having to snatch cards that you really don’t want. With two Abluxxen becomes a terrific confrontational game of chicken, as both players decide the optimum time to play their most powerful card sets.

Conclusion

Abluxxen is a terrific game at all player counts, a lovely interactive game of bluffing and tricky decisions, belied by the childlike cartoon design. It is one of those games that doesn’t reveal its intricacies too readily, my first couple of games didn’t seem that interesting. However, persevere and everything falls into place. The shadow player takes very little housekeeping, just the need to top his hand back up to 13 when cards are snatched from him. If I had to be negative I would say that the game does now take up considerably more table space and the rules are not the clearest that I have encountered.

Often official two player rule variants seem to be released just to squeeze out a few more sales and to appease those clamouring for a chance to play a game with a partner. They are often less than satisfactory and were left out for a reason. You can play Abluxxen with two straight out the box but it really isn’t that great and once you try the variant I doubt if you would go back. I’m surprised that such a wonderful two player variant didn’t make it into the initial release, but at the same time I’m delighted that the two play rules were made public as they are brilliant.

Here is a list of all my reviews, some with puns that I really should be ashamed of.
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SJ S
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yay! glad to see ABLUXXEN's 2P variant getting some love!

you described its attributes nicely! well done!
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James Bentley
United States
Cleburne
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I noticed the link to Amazon for Linko!, and went to buy it but it says it's currently unavailable. Is this available in the U.S. yet? I don't want to purchase this from overseas...

Thanks,
jrbentley
 
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David B
United States
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jrbentley wrote:
I noticed the link to Amazon for Linko!, and went to buy it but it says it's currently unavailable. Is this available in the U.S. yet? I don't want to purchase this from overseas...

Thanks,
jrbentley


It is available directly from Ravensburger which ships out of New England. They are just as easy to order from as Coolstuff and they ship quickly.
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Lee Fisher
United States
Downingtown
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pfctsqr wrote:
jrbentley wrote:
I noticed the link to Amazon for Linko!, and went to buy it but it says it's currently unavailable. Is this available in the U.S. yet? I don't want to purchase this from overseas...

Thanks,
jrbentley


It is available directly from Ravensburger which ships out of New England. They are just as easy to order from as Coolstuff and they ship quickly.


And sign up for their email for a coupon.
 
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