A fan of new Knizia games
Alles im Eimer, affectionately known around here as "Buckets", is a 2 to 6 player game published by Kosmos as part of their "wine" box series of games. Stefan Dorra, who games are typically light, fast playing and rather good, designed the game. Based on those criteria, Alles im Eimer fits right in.
The object of Alles im Eimer is to protect your pyramid of buckets from the ravages of some farm animals, which have apparently become feisty and have the strong urge to knock something over. That something is buckets, and the game comes with lots of them.
Each player receives 15 sturdy coloured buckets chips, three in each of five colours. They also receive a hand of twelve cards, which depict five suits of animals of value between one and eight. During play, each suit of animal targets a specific coloured bucket.
The players examine their hands and try to identify the strong and weak suits, and using this information they construct their bucket pyramid. The bottom row of the pyramid contains five buckets, which support the subsequent rows of four, three, two and finally one bucket at the top. Play is ready to begin.
The card play of Alles im Eimer is reminiscent of Reiner Knizia's Attacke/Ivanhoe. One player leads by playing one to three cards in a suit and announces the total face value. Subsequent players around the table must now either play a higher total in that suit or drop out. If you play card(s), you may draw one to replenish your hand. Play continues until one person drops out, at which point the fun begins for that player’s opponents!
The first player who drops out must lose a bucket from their pyramid in the suit colour played. If they are having a good day, there will be such a coloured bucket sitting up on the top row of their pyramid, or on a bad day the offending bucket may be three rows down and buried. If either case, that bucket and any buckets higher it was supporting, are removed. That player now leads to the next round.
The game ends when one or two players, depending on the number playing, have lost all their buckets in their pyramid. The player with the most remaining buckets wins the game.
This fun stuff with lots of laughs and groans flying around. However, there are some interesting things going on. It can be advantageous to drop out deliberately and lose a cheap bucket simply to get the lead, and cause mayhem and destruction amongst the players on your left. If you are weak in a suit, an almost bliss-like state comes over you if you realise the player to your right also suffers the same shortage, effectively shielding you in that colour.
In summary, this is a good little game that will hit the table often. It takes the Attacke mechanic and improves on it, by giving the players a chance to defend their hands via the pyramid construction, as well as some tactics to employ during the game to aid their chances. Best of all, it’s light enough that all that stuff about tactics doesn’t really matter; it’s just plain fun. Recommended.