I discovered this game by accident on a geek list, and like an excited puppy I searched for more information on it. As a long time 6nimmt! fan I was eager to try it out – was it simply some variant, or was there more to it? According to the website of the game’s designer Wolfgang Kramer, it was due out February 2010! I searched for a copy, and not finding any UK shops stocking it went further afield. After finding several German shops willing to send me a copy surely encased in lead, from the postage costs they quoted, I eventually found a reasonable price and with my tail waging “ten to the dozen” I bounded over across the room to get my wallet and placed an order
The game consist of 110 cards, a colour rules sheet encased in a small card box, a standard Amigo-spiele small card game.
The cards are of good quality with a nice linen feel and anyone who has played an Amigo-spiele card game before knows what to expect. There are 100 blockhead cards and 10 bull cards with different backs so are relatively easy to sort apart when starting a game.
If you have played 6 nimmt! / take 5 then the blockhead cards will look familiar, they are numbered 1 to 100 and have a number of ox-heads on, though its not the same distribution as you find in 6nimmt!. Most of the cards have a single ox-head on, except numbers ending in a 3, or are a prime number (yes I checked). Prime numbers, not ending in a 3 have three ox-heads on, and cards ending in a 3 have a different number of heads depending on if the number is also a prime or not – if it is a prime then it has five ox-heads, if its not (33, 63, and 93 are not primes) then it has seven ox-heads.
The idea of the game is that you start with 10 blockhead cards each and take turns, clockwise, to place card(s) down onto existing stacks with the aim to be the first to get rid of all your cards, everyone else scores negative points according to the ox-heads on their cards. The game starts with a face-down draw deck (the remainder of the blockhead cards after 10 have been dealt to each player) and a single face-up card as the first play stack.
On your turn you may play a card onto a stack, or pick up all the cards in stack into your hand. If you play a card its number has to be no more than ten above the card on top of the stack (hence why “11 takes”), and if you can’t you pick up the stack. Each time a stack is picked up two cards from the draw deck are revealed and form new stacks, so as the game progresses the number of stacks onto which you can place a card increases.
If the stack you pick up consists of at least three cards, you also get a bull card which you place down in front of you not into your hand. A bull card allows you to play more than one card onto a single stack, so long as they are all within the “10 difference” of the top card of the stack, and you can have multiple bull cards (so if you have three bull cards, you can place multiple cards on three stacks on your turn). So you may tactically decide to pick up a stack that has at least three cards in to get a bull card. The stacks themselves should only have the top card visible, so you are relying on memory what and how many cards are in each stack.
Overview – is it 5nimmt better than 6nimmt?
So far I have played a couple of four player games, and in each the game starts off with players opting to take a stack with three cards in to get a bull card, with some going for multiple cards. Then as the number of stacks increases the game, stacks are taken less and everyone starts to put down series of cards on stacks trying to be the first to get out.
There are ten bull heads, and so far not all ten come into play. One of the aspects of the game is that when the bull head stack runs out, each time a 3+ stack is taken you take a card from the player with the most bull heads. So maybe there needs to be less heads in games with less than 7 players? I'm sure being denied the use of a bull head could be quite good and may make someone take a three stack to try and stop a player (especially if they are all within 10 so can be put down again in a future turn).
So how does this game compare with the other block head games? 6 nimmt! started it all off, where everyone plays simultaneously you try to avoid having the sixth card in a row. Many said it was too luck based, so the followup game Hornochsen aimed to inject more strategy. 11 nimmt! plays sequentially like Take 5!, but it doesn’t have the multipliers, and you don’t have the dumping points on players that often occurred (that was fun, unless you were receiving them ). Luck still seems to play a large part, and the main interaction is realising someone may soon be out and trying to beat them to it.
This is an enjoyable game, and good alternative filler game, though I need to play more to decide whether it deserves a "nimmt" name
You say that the numbers are distributed differently than 6 nimmt!, where there are 104 cards. Could you play with a 6 nimmt deck?
It's not that the numbers on the cards are different, it's that the number of "ox heads" used to score points are different this time around.