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Paul Johnson
United Kingdom
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I'd heard that this game was quite nasty so I thought it would probably appeal to the group. We're big fans of some of the nastier games such as Sticheln. So when I saw a copy for sale recently I grabbed it.

Rette Sich Wer Kahn (aka The Lifeboat Game, aka Every Man For Himself) is a negotiating game. A ship has sunk and everyone is fighting for space in lifeboats. Unfortunately the lifeboats are in a rather poor state of repair so they have a tendency to spring leaks. A leak generally leads to some poor sailor leaving the boat to make room for the inrushing water. The boats slowly make their way to the safe haven of three islands. Some of them make it, some of them sink. The game plays in a number of rounds, each of which has three phases. In the first phase everyone votes which boat will spring a leak. If the boat is full, the passengers then vote who will be thrown overboard. In the second phase, everyone votes which boat inches closer to an island. And in the last phase, each player hurls one of their sailors out of a boat and they all swim to different boats. Or drown. Each player can declare himself captain for three votes during the game, which means he can override the outcome of that vote. Unless two or more people try to do this at the same time in which case these players votes are ignored.

We had five players for this games maiden voyage. None of us had played before and I don't thing anyone apart from me had even heard of the game. The game stared off quite slowly as we spent the first few turns voting for leaks in boats with room for them and moving boats which equally suited everyone. However, we soon got into the spirit of the occassion and managed to drown a couple of Andys sailors. Steve seemed doomed to lose a man or two to the rough seas but used his captaincy rights early and often to speed a particularly leaky boat to safety. We'll be watching out for that next time. Myself and Oggie played chicken in one of the boats for a while as it took on water, then both lost men to the deep as it sunk with all hands. Soon boats were sinking and men drowning right and left, with The Boog proving particularly adept at losing sailors. As the leaks mounted and spaces in boats ran short we managed to conspire to drown a sailor each turn for a while. The game ends when all boats are either safe or sunk. I triggered the end by using my last captaincy to sail the only boat with my men in to an island. This was quickly followed by Oggie being forced to jump out of the last boat and flounder round in the sea as it sunk. Steves early push was to be the deciding factor in the game, earning him the win.

An okay game, but it wasn't as nasty as I expected. Definately worth more plays, as I expect it to get more cut throat in the future. I'll be interested to see how it plays with six people aswell - this is definately one of those more the merrier games. And if after a few more tries it still doesn't seem nasty enough, I'm sure the group can come up with a tweak or two to create The Really Nasty Lifeboat game.

Scores - Steve 24, Andy 21, Paul 19, Boog 19, Oggie 12
Ratings (/10) Steve 7, Andy 7, Paul 7, Boog 7, Oggie 6
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