One of our group commented “he must have a lot of time” when reading about Martin Wallace’s (this game’s designer) job as a grammar school teacher!
Well, he certainly designs an impressive number of games – not all of them winners, but excellent games like “Lords of Creation” or “Empires of the Ancient World” come to mind when thinking of Wallace.
This game is a relatively minor effort of his – a simple “trick-taking” card game of no great inventiveness.
9 cards are dealt out to each player, ranging from 15 (highest) to -10 (lowest). Then one card less (from the same -10 to 15 stack) than the number of players is dealt out openly. Each player now plays one card face down, then the cards are turned over, and the lowest played card takes the lowest open score card (the “trick”). S/he is “out” and greeted by a rule-enforced (!) “Und tschüss” by the other players (which means “good riddance” in German, well that reminds me of the games I had to endure as a grammar school kid....). In subsequent rounds the sum of the cards played until then is counted, not only the newly played card. Sounds easy and stupid (well it is, a little), but don’t forget there is l card less than the number of players. You see, there will only be two players left who compete for the last card, and one of them will get...nothing. So it might be more clever to drop out early on and be satisfied with a low card, than to spend lots of cards on nothing.
Cards unused are kept, you fill up to 9, and a new turn begins. The player who dropped out first also has the opportunity to exchange cards s/he doesn’t want. After the deck has been exhausted a certain number of times, the player with the highest collection of score cards wins.
If this sounds not particularly exciting you’re right. The question is, as there are so many interesting German card games around (think of “6 nimmt!” for example), do we really “need” a half-baked effort like this? Well, Goldsieber seems to think so.
Not atrociously bad, but not a winner either.