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Subject: Die Macher Review - Vintage Charm Galore rss

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Mikko Ämmälä
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Introduction:

I have been tinkering a quick and solid system to rate and review boardgames and this Die Macher review is my second review using this system.

Basics:


Theme, Component quality, playability, play mechanics, challenge, replayability and fun factor are rated with grades 1-6. If one of the above section gets full '6' that means that a given game really offers something very unique excellence (examples might be Hellgame's and Twilight Struggle's themes or Magic the Gathering's replayability).
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1: Very Poor 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent 6: Outstanding
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Theme: A game manages to hook you with theme only. How well the theme is implemented. Is theme somewhat overused or unique?
Component quality: Chits, board, figures, money, tokens, counters etc
Playability: Set up time, learning curve, how fast the mechanics are grasped, downtime factors. Analysis Paralysis?
Play mechanics: Innovative? Easy-to-execute? Not over-used? Fits the theme? Makes you to play game rather than execute a script?
Challenge/Reward: Are your good moves rewarded enough? Do you feel satisfaction of your better play moves? Is long term planning couraged?
Replayablity: Any lasting power for this game? Scalability. Extra features a'la expansions/variants which add play time?
Fun/Social Factor: Is it fun to play? Player interaction? Social skills needed? Diplomacy factor?
--------------------------------------------------------------------

Die Macher - "so this game is about German elections....yeah riiigghtt"

This is the one heavyweight classic and was totally out of reach for years. Fortunately a couple of years ago Die Macher was reprinted. This review is based on about ten Die Macher games (4/5 players) played.

Die Macher by raw numbers:

Theme - 4,5 : This is a mixed bag for players. On the other hand utterly boring and on the other hand very original and extremely well implemented. As a personal bias I love politics (both in real life and as a game theme)
Component quality - 3,5 : A lot of them with mediocre design. Compared to today's standards also has unnecessary components. Aged somewhat but has incredible vintage charm. The game also looks on the other hand very juicy (though messy) when set up and running.
Playability - 2 : Difficult to teach, hard to play (a lot of rules to remember). Hard to master. Clumsy scoring. Surprisingly very manageable downtime.
Play mechanics - 4 : Some of the mechanics are outdated. But at least there are LOT OF them and they fit the theme perfectly creating good old chaotic (read: politic) environment.
Challenge/Reward - 6 : This is the game practically par none in terms of challenge. A lot of options and rewards. Always multiple paths for a short term gain or for a long term benefit. A full game is practically seven included subgames (seven elections)
Replayability - 5 : Fantastic otherwise but gap between plays can be often months as Die Macher while gives a lot also requires a lot from players.
Fun Factor - 5 : Politics just cannot be more fun. A lot of player interaction and intense yet enjoyable play.

Total score: 30p

Summary:


Vintage Charm? Check! Challenge? Check! Playability? Piss poor at times! Die Macher is still really excellent game for dedicated 4/5 players who enjoy a bit chaotic yet skill-rewarding and intense challenge.

I hate not to have this masterpiece in my collection but luckily a couple of good friends of mine have it and I personally cannot resist "VAALIT" (in English: Elections!) which means a call for playing this classic.

Turn the Die Macher result 30p into my geek ratings = 9.

>32p = 10
>30p = 9
>28p = 8
>26p = 7
>24p = 6

My other reviews with my same formula:

Kingsburg 28.5p : http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/284679

Thanks for reading

.mikko
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DK Kemler
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Playability a 2? I've seem to find that players grasp the mechanics after turn 1, turn 2 at the latest. None of the rules are particularly difficult or obtuse, there are just quite a few steps to go over, and a play sheet makes this nice and easy.
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D a n _ C
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A good playsheet helps a lot (I have posted one here on the Geek). But I think there are some folks for whom this game will just be too overwhelming.

But you are right, the individual steps really aren't that hard, it's just a matter of seeing how it all fits together....

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Henri Harju
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degamer wrote:
Playability a 2? I've seem to find that players grasp the mechanics after turn 1, turn 2 at the latest. None of the rules are particularly difficult or obtuse, there are just quite a few steps to go over, and a play sheet makes this nice and easy.


I kind of agree here. I don't think the mechanics itself are difficult, it's just the way they work together. I remember, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing the whole first game I played. Then again, I just might be a bit slow on the uptake.. zombie
 
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Mikko Ämmälä
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degamer wrote:
Playability a 2? I've seem to find that players grasp the mechanics after turn 1, turn 2 at the latest. None of the rules are particularly difficult or obtuse, there are just quite a few steps to go over, and a play sheet makes this nice and easy.


Die Macher is a game which with modern design could take 1 hour less to play.

I am bit upset about the fact that even recent times we have played this with experienced players (read: 2+ Die Macher games) and yet we have played this differently each time (smt minor always wrong).

It is far from fluid to set up if there is two month+ since last played game and so far there has always been "rules reintroduction" round at first.

If you really are praising Die Macher's playability you are just biased. Compared to modern games it is just piss poor with its long setup time, always needed rules remainder and just lot to remember.

But otherwise...what a gem it is...

.mikko
 
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Mikko Ämmälä
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degamer wrote:
Playability a 2? I've seem to find that players grasp the mechanics after turn 1, turn 2 at the latest. None of the rules are particularly difficult or obtuse, there are just quite a few steps to go over, and a play sheet makes this nice and easy.


I was not going to make a review about "nice external material which might be available somewhere in BGG/WWW". Instead I made a review about playing Die Macher.

.mikko
 
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