Schweinebande is the new family game by Stefan Dorra with artwork by the talented Doris Matthäus. The game is intended for 2-5 players, age 8 and up. Playing time is supposed to be 30 min. The game offers good quality components. Thick card stock counters and wooden playing pieces. The rules are well written.
We played a 4 player game.
Round 1: Bloody S., the youngest player in my group, opened up the game. He drew a chicken and decided to keep his first farmer. I was second. As I had prepared the game for our group I was able to develop a strategy beforehand. I wanted to try out exploiting the first player advantage in getting as much animals as possible - mass instead of class. So I decided to place my first farmer immediately regardless of what animal I would get. I turned over a cattle, lucky me.
I made sure that I was the first player to pass, giving me the player 1 token and making sure that I would be first player in the next round as well.
I ended up with 7 tokens, two goats, a donkey, a pig, two cows and a feeding sack. I decided to keep the sack for a later round and traded in my pig to feed my animals. Nobody was able to put any animals inside their stables. My rivals mostly traded in a cow for food.
Round 2: I decided to become a bit more daring and placed my first farmer in a corner where he might end up collecting 5 animals. I was blocked here and there but had some outs left. I also went for the number 1 token again. I got some good animals again. I ended up with a set of six different animals, making it possible to get a cow inside the stable. I paid the remaining animals with the sack. Everybody was able get something inside the stable, Darth D. had a set as well, Bloody S. had to settle for a goat, Mourning T. got a donkey.
Round 3: This was the toughest round. I got a load of animals but only a goat found its way into my stable. But three donkeys and three cows looked promising for the final round. Only Bloody S. got a cow inside his stable the others settling with something smaller. We all ended the 3rd round with around 10 VPs. Of course I was first in the last round.
Round 4: This time I decided to leave my strategy and place my farmers on the needed cow and donkey instead of going first. I found the cow pretty quickly and ended up with my seconded farmer being last. I turned over some of the remaining animals in search of my last donkey. I found one in a crowded spot which I took nevertheless. Much to my surprise I also ended up getting a set and an additional four cows...bringing two cows into my stable for a 24 points total. I won with 6 points to the player on the second position.
Although I usually like games I win without to much of a problem, we all agreed that Schweinebande is neither fish nor meat. It is neither a real strategy game because of all the luck involved nor is it a family game because it can become quite nasty.
Also the first player strategy is terribly obvious and seemed tough to beat. Maybe I was overly lucky with the animals I got in my rows but I doubt that. I ended up a round with usually 7-8 animals while the last player had to settle with 4-6. Maybe the other players had to gang up on me, ending the game in an unforeseeable kingmaker situation?
This is definitely not a game for my family. My wife and my daughter are only casual players. Blocking the farmer of my wife or taking the much needed cow of my daughter would surely end up in a serious family crisis.
I doubt that this one will hit our table many more times but who knows...at least it is easy to remember and quick to play.
- Last edited Fri Feb 12, 2010 8:06 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:08 pm