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Subject: Not Just Funky Suitcases! rss

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Hart an der Grenze- Right at the Border

Game Overview

Hart an der grenze is a bluffing/ money game where players attempt to smuggle goods in a suitcase past the Border Sheriff. Each player begins with a suitcase, $30 and one seizure marker. One player is chosen to start as the Sheriff (identified by the handy dandy included Sheriff badge) although every player will assume the role during game play. Five cards are dealt to each player.

The game lasts 3 rounds. One round consists of each player assuming the role of the sheriff once.

The Sheriff places his cards to the side for the turn; they will not be involved in smuggling or bringing goods over the border. Each other player takes 1 to 5 of his goods cards and places them in their suitcase.

The Goods Cards

Legal Goods consist of Jugs, Maracas and Sombreros, each with a different value.

Illegal Goods consist of Cigars, Tequila and Statues, also with different but higher values (being illegal of course).

The player to the left of the Sheriff begins by declaring the type and number of goods they have placed in the suitcase. Players may only declare legal goods and this continues till each player has declared to the Sheriff the goods contained in their suitcase.

The Sheriff now picks one of the players, or travelers shall we say, and tells them to open the suitcase. If the player was honest with the goods he declared or is crafty in their ways, they place their cards on the table or attempts to bribe the Sheriff to not inspect the suitcase.

If the player has the exact cards they declared, they are paid from the bank for being unjustly accused and the goods cards are placed on the table behind the suitcase for later sale.

If the declaration was not honest and cannot reach a bribe agreement with the Sheriff, the Sheriff inspects the cards (insert drum role here). Goods that match the player’s declaration are kept and placed behind the suitcase for later sale. Cards that have not been declared or are illegal are discarded and the player must pay the penalty listed at the bottom of each card. Penalties collected are paid to the bank.

Seizure Markers

The Sheriff, once during the whole game may discard the seizure marker and inspect another player’s suitcase. The Sheriff secretly looks at the goods cards in the suitcase. All goods that match the player's declaration are given back to the player and placed faced down behind the suitcase for later sale. The Sheriff keeps any cards not declared by the player or illegal goods and places the cards in front of their own suitcase. Bribery is not allowed when the seizure marker is played.

Extra Inspection Markers

With 5 or 6 players, each player is given an inspection marker at the beginning of the game. Once during the whole game, the Sheriff may discard this marker and choose another player to inspect and possibly receive a bribe from.

At the end of the Sheriff's turn, remaining (not inspected) players place the goods cards from inside of the suitcase to the front of the suitcase, and the next player clockwise to the Sheriff becomes the new Sheriff. The sequence is then repeated.

After each player has been the Sheriff once, the round is over. Cards in the players hand are temporarily placed to the side. Each player now picks up the cards in front of his suitcase.

Each player beginning with the player left of the Sheriff now chooses up to 3 goods cards to stash under the suitcase for the remainder of the game. The player must tell everyone how many cards they are putting under the suitcase. At the end of the game, a player may be lucky enough to sell those goods for double the value. To do so, the player must have the most of that type of good under the suitcase to be the first player to sell for double the value. Inside the suitcase is a chart picturing the number of each good to be sold for double versus the number of players in the game.

Cards not placed under the suitcase are now sold to the bank and discarded.

Players count their money and the poorest chooses the starting Sheriff for the next round.

After 3 rounds, goods under the suitcases are sold for double value; goods cards not sold or left in the players hand are worthless.

The player with the most money wins.

Game Components

As with most Kosmos games I have purchased, the game pieces are of the highest detail and quality. The box is sufficient and detailed with artwork. The insert is specific for the game, not generic. Each piece is held in place by the insert and has a separate tray for each suitcase. The components appear to be designed to last through years of game play.

Game Play

Kosmos lists duration to be 45-70 minutes and allows 3 to 6 players. We played with 4 players as we were learning and the game lasted between 40 and 50 minutes.

The recommended age is 10 and up. There is alot of mathematics in the game so most 10 yr olds may need assistance. I would guess it is better suited for 12 and up because of the math. Besides, kids learn quickly enough on their own, do we need to teach them about bluffing and smuggling?

My Rating!!!

First off, in my opinion this is not an in depth, serious gamer’s game. But none the less, an excellent introduction into German gaming. This game plays best with more people and is a light, relaxing, possibly party type game. It does not require too much thought which can scare non gamers, but still involves some strategy and thinking for those who must.

Traditionally, our group introduced new friends and family to games through Ticket to Ride or trivia type games such as Scene It. Hart an der Grenze will now be used as well to introduce people to board gaming. It is a wonderful and very social game with lots of conversation and laughter.

To rate this as a hard core board game geekers game I would likely rate it as a 6.2 as luck and lack of extreme strategy are prevalent during game play.

But let's face it geekers!! All of us, even the most supreme of geekdom have a couple of friends who may not be into boardgames or would play during a party or while having a few beverages before going down to the tavern. Sometimes, it is nice to play a game with quick set up and less intensity as something such as Puerto Rico or Power Grid. It also nice to have a few games that allow for more than 4 or 5 players. For these reasons, I rate Hart an der Grenze as a 7.5 out of 10.

Thanks for reading the review and enjoy the game!!!!








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Damian Fraser
Canada
Whitecourt
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Great Review,

It sounds like a nice fun game. I just hope that I get a chance to play this game one day.
 
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Mark Rollings
United Kingdom
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Played a couple of times with my family. It has us in fits of laughter. It's a fun game that shouldn't be taken too seriously.
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Ian Johnson
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Now, I have played this game with many others, and as many may have said before, what a game!laugh This game gives you a good time for family and fun!
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Self Appointed Senator of Good Ideas
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After more play, I have changed to a 6.8. It is still fun, alot of fun. But it is getting less play.
 
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Self Appointed Senator of Good Ideas
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After quite a few plays, I have decided on my final rating based on the BBG system. It is above a 7 (Good game, usually willing to play) but below an 8 (Very good game. I like to play. Probably suggest it and never turn down a game) because it is dependant on the group, enthusiasm and environment.

For non gamers it is usually a big hit. For serious gamers it is a good change of pace or change after a big session.

7.5 out 0f 10
 
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