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Subject: Flashenteufel : Too good to be true ? rss

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Kris Verbeeck
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Flashenteufel is a trick-taking game that is requested by my non gaming friends. Too good to be true ????


My review is for the dutch version of the game released by University games. Only the rulebook with short story is in dutch so I wouldn't worry too much about it.

The rules are explained very well in the booklet. It includes also the short story from R.L. Stevenson.
For the dutch readers don't expect too much of the story because the translation of the story is not so good. If you are not familiar with the story I would definately read it because it adds to the game.

Components :/5



Box : a little bit big. But offers good protection.
Rulebook containig short story : Nothing fancy but does the job.
Cards : 37 cards and three! help cards. Cards could have been a bit thicker.


Why they haven't included four helpcards i don't understand.
***Edit 24-May-07 : Guenter the designer explained that this decision was made to keep the cost down. You can check his reply a little lower on this page.***

and a wooden bottle containing the imp



Objective :

Plays continue until a set score is reached. I would highly advise to expirement with this set score. If you have little time you can set it low for example 120. the rules suggest 250

Rules :

Only one. You have to follow suit.

Gameplay /5

the 19 card is put on the middle of the table. The bottle is placed upon the 19 card. This means that the bottle has a current value of 19
Cards are dealt. after all cards are dealt. You give one card to the player on your right, one to the player on your left and you place one card under the bottle. the cards under the 19 card are the imps trick. these are the negative points to the loser of the hand.

The first player leads the trick. The winner of the trick is the player who has the highest number on the card.
Unless the value of the bottle is undercut. If the value of the bottle is undercut the trick goes to the player who has undercut the value the closest to its current value.
example : starting hands

current value 19
A : 23
B: 36
C: 37
trick goes to C

C: leads the next round
current value 19
C : 22
A : 12
B : 2

Trick goes to A; the bottle imp is put upon the 12 card in front of player A. Who is now the owner of the bottle.
the imps trick is put aside for the loser of the hand. (if the bottle changes in value, player A can add the 12 to his scored tricks;

Note : allthough the 22 is closer to the current value of the bottle. The twelve wins the trick because its the nearest value under the current value. If B had trown away the 18, the hand would go to A. Allthough B could have won the hand easily, he thought it would be better to get rid off the 2.

A Leads and so on ...

The hand ends if all cards are played.

Scoring/5

Now the hand has ended the scoring starts. The player who is stuck with the bottle gets the imps trick. He/She counts the circles on top of the card (1-6). This is the negative score.
the other players count the circles on top of the the cards(1-6) of the tricks they taken. Those are there positive points.



Possible theme change and variants :
It made me think of the movie the ring. You die if noone other sees the video in the next week. Play ends after one player has reached five deaths (ended the hand five times with the tape (bottle) for instance.
The player with the least deaths wins. in case of a tie the positive points could be used as a tiebreaker.

To make it even more cutthroat you could count the negative points as deaths. Play ends after a set number of negative points (count the circles) is reached.
the imps trick in a 3P game scores between (3 and 18) so big swings in fortune can be expected here.

Overall : /5
Flaschenteufel is a great tricktaking game. It is asked for by my non gaming friends. So its great to have.

It won't make a big cut in your budget current prices are around 10 euro and 12.50 american dollars

I would highly recommend this if you are into trick-taking games and even if you know some friends who used to play cards. Thanks to this game they are more interested in the boardgames i have.

If you have any suggestions to make my next review better please feel free to comment. This was my first one.
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Sifu
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Nice first review Kris. I liked the pictures embedded in the review.

Suggestions: Don't break up your ratings into "gameplay" and "scoring". Gameplay is everything, so if you wish to rate different aspects of the game, break down the gameplay portion into other things, such as: complexity, interaction, and fun. (Or something like that.) Also consider a rating for "integration of theme", or something like it.

And finally, I would like to know why you think Flaschenteufel is a great game. You say it's great (I've played it, I also think it's great), but after reading your review I still don't know *why* you think it's great. What is it about the game that makes it so much fun? Is it more fun with 3? 4? Does it matter?
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Kris Verbeeck
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Why is it so great?


There are only a few rules. those are easy to understand. So I can explain this game in two or three minutes. And then we can start playing the game. after a few tricks I allways get some remarks like. Now I've got it. Or now I know what I did wrong.

The easy rules don't mean that you won't have tough decisions to make. Do I take the trick that sticks me with the imp. Allthough I have to get rid of it the next turn. I touched it in the review but felt it would make it too long.)
Too explain this would also take away one of the discoveries you make in the game. Once you start to understand what cards to get rid off, you are surprised by the depth this little game has.
It's relatively easy to catch the leader. This means that most games are very close.
You can allways play it. by setting the game score you can change the length of the game.


The first time I play this with people that are new to the game, we only play three hands.
Next time I see them most of them mention it. :"I have been thinking about that game and i know how to win it." (the same people who said now I've got it)
I think if I we were playing more hands people will think they understand the game and won't ask for it. When we play again they have a strategy and know exactly what to do. And then they loose. Or won't win as easy as they thought they would.


I only played a four player game once.
It changes the numbers a little bit. The really low numbers aren't so bad anymore. Yes sometimes they stick the aggressive player up with the one. But if they feel they won't have the bottle at the end. They take the trick away from it. Only once happened in a 3P game. Where the player with the fewest points played the one. Also catch the leader was much easier. It was not so good to get a clear lead to soon.
But maybe that is how we play it. So I don't know if that counts for all the games. And I feel that these are discussion topics for players that have played the game. Everyone knows it better. After the game has ended the winner explains how smart he was. While you think if I didn't make that mistake I would have won.
I could go on and on about it ...
And last but not least my non gaming friends ask for it. And have taken an interest in my boardgames as well. They wonder what is in the bigger boxes? if such a small game has so much too offer ...


Thanks for the suggestions. the rating was a last minute addition. I wasn't too sure about it.
I'll try too better that in my next review.

Last note:
Most of the people in belgium have played card games in highschool. A trick-taking game is something they are familiar with. But when they play it it is a whole different game than they are used too. This means they are interested in other games as well. They wonder what else is new.
(I'm from the monopoly generation)

I have played the game for only ten hours or so.I'm sure this will hit the table at a regular basis. One of the non gamers asked me to buy him a copy. The first game he bought for himself in 20 years.

BTW : corrected only a spelling mistake in the review
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Guenter Cornett
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KrisVerbeeck wrote:

Cards : 37 cards and three! help cards.
...
Why they haven't included four helpcards i don't understand. (minus half a point)


Hi Kris,

thank for that review. You're right, it would be better to have four overview cards. But to answer your question: One extra card would have increased the customers price of the game for about 2 €.

I don't know the exact price University paid for the cards (and wouldn't tell), but at publishing 'The Bottle Imp' at Bambus Spieleverlag we could print 120 cards on one sheet. So we had to decide to print 3x40 cards or 2x41 cards for the same price (and throw away total 38.000 cards). If we would have done so, the production costs for each game would have increased by +0,50 €. Selling the game to shops and customers and paying taxes would lead into a higher customers price of about 2€.

So we decided, that's the minor problem for two players to share one overview card, looking at it with just one eye each. arrrh goo

Best, Guenter
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Kris Verbeeck
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Guenter.Cornett wrote:
KrisVerbeeck wrote:

Cards : 37 cards and three! help cards.
...
Why they haven't included four helpcards i don't understand. (minus half a point)

thank for that review. You're right, it would be better to have four overview cards. But to answer your question: One extra card would have increased the customers price of the game for about 2 €.


thank you for your answer and thanks for making the game.
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