After surfing around BBG some time I found my way to Marcel-André Casasola Merkle's Verräter and Meuterer. When it came to the theme, I found Verräter much more intriguing, but the things I read about it weren't that good, and Meuterer was praised to be better. So in the end, I ended up ordering Meuterer, and after some plays I'v made my verdict.
The game consists of only the small box, the rulebook, and the cards. The cards are made of somewhat stiff cardboard, and they aren't necessarily the best when it comes to the quality, but hey, the game cost 7 euros and 90 cents which is pretty damn cheap and when compared to the prize the quality is pretty good too. The art on the cards are fantastic, and the "Affeninsel" card is a nice touch. Marcel-André made good work with this one. The box doesn't have English rules, so you'll propably have to print your own. I put the original rules and all the player-aid cards away and made just and just enough space for a folded A4 sheet where I have my English rules.
One of those games where the player with most victory points wins... Again. But who cares? It's a good system. Points are gathered by selling goods, guiding the ship (as the captain, or as the mutineer taking the control) or helping whoever ends up having the control.
First, players choose the captain in whatever way they like to do it, and give him or her the two captain cards (both are two-sided and have the numbers 0, 1, 2 and 3 but ar eotherwise identical, I'll tell you more about this later). Then the island cards are set up in a circle, and Hochland is turned the light side up and the ship card is put to mark that the ship is there (the island cards are two sided, the dark side and the light side are besides the colour otherwise identical, if the light side is up, it means that the player can sell goods here). Then the role cards are places face down in the middle of the circle, more about the roles later. Then every player is dealt a hand of 5 cards (the cards depict different types of goods and sabres). After inspecting his cards, the captain chooses how much he's willing to pay the first mate for his services. Then, starting from the captain, players start to throw in their goods (or sabres) that they want to sell at the ports available (the port where the ship left and the port where it sailed, at the first round only Hochland is available, and sabres can't be sold, but if they are played at this point, they still do count for the phase they are used if the player has any use for them, and players can lay goods that they can't sell in either of the ports to get rid of them). When a player decides to stop playing goods cards, he takes the role cards from the middle and chooses one, and puts the rest back. The captain doesn't take a role, but counts the cards he has left in his hand and puts the captains destination card that amount of islands to the clockwise that he has cards left in his hand. When all players have stopped players start to sell goods. Some ports only take one type of goods, other take any kind. Starting from the captain players decide which goods they sell at which port, this sometimes allows some tactics. When everyone has chosen what to sell where, the scoring starts. If a player has sold the most of the type of goods the port takes (in ports that take anything; the most of anything of one type), he get's the amount of points shown in that islands "I" ball, if two players are tied for the most, they both get the "II" ball amount of points and if three players are tied, they get the "III" balll amount of points, unless one of them is the trader, who gets the full points if his tied for the most.
I already happened to tell you the trader role, but let's now go through the roles before the actual revealing point;
Händler (Trader): Get's full points when tied for the highest when selling.
Lädemeister (Loading Master): When refilling his hand, gets 3 extra cards and chooses 3 cards of the cards he got to discard.
Kapitain (Captain): The player in the round who starts practically everything, the player "in control" of the ship. Get's point's for sailing around (minus the pay for the first mate). The Captain get's no points if he is overthrown by the mutineer.
Maat (First Mate): Captain's helper, if a mutiny is afoot the First Mate plays sabres for the Captain. The First Mate is in itself counted as one sabre card for the captain. The First Mate getäs one point plus the amount of points the Captain is willing to pay. The First Mate get's points only if the Captain stays in power.
Meuterer (Mutineer): Tries to overthrow the captain. If he wins the captain, the ship goes to the mutineers destination (which is calculated the same way as the captains destination and therefore might just aswell be the same island).
Schiffsjunge (Cabin Boy): Mutineers 'lil helper. Playes sabres for the mutineer, and if the mutiny succeeds, get's two points. The cabin boy is not counted as a sabre in itself for the mutineer tho.
Well those were the roles in a nutshell. Anyhow, after the selling anyone else (the trader should have been revealed earlier) reveals their roles. If there is no mutineer, there is no mutiny, and the ship glagly sails to the island what happens to be the captains destination, then the captain is awarded the amount of point's shown on the ship figure on the destination island, minus the pay for the first mate if there happens to be one.
However, if there is a mutiny, then players involved (Captain, First Mate, Mutineer and Cabin Boy) can play any amount of sabres from their hand to aid their battle. Sabre playing starts from the Captain, and goes clockwise. Remember, that the First Mate is concidered as one additional sabre for the Captain, but the Cabin Boy is not concidered as one for the mutineer, though the mutineers side does win ties... So, when all involved players have had their chance of laying sabres they are counted, if the Captains side has more sabres, the mutiny is stopped and the ship sails to the captains destination and captain and his first mate are rewarded, while the mutineer and cabin boy are left without points, but, if the sides are tied or the mutineers side has more sabres, the mutineer get's the captain cards, the ship sails to the mutineers destination (the amount of cards clockwise on the circle that the mutineer had cards in his hand when the mutiny brake) and get's the amount of points shown on the ship figure, and the cabin boy (if any) is awarded two victory points, while the former captain and his first mate are left with no points. And now, a new round begins.
This is done overall 8 times (for 4 players) or 9 times (for 3 players).
For it's price, 7 euros 90 cents, this game is absolutely ridicilious. Completely, utterly ridicilious. It's incredible that you can get a game so simple to teach, so thematically utterly fantastically working completely incredibly deep game that travels in your pocket wherever you go so easily for ONLY that amount of money! If you can see this game somewhere, BUY BUY BUY BUY BUY! Hell, even if it was double the price, or maybe even triple, it would still most definetly be worth it! The only bad things I can find about the game are that you have to reshuffle the goods a lot, I mean, the game consists of a quite small pack of cards, and that the play doesn't scale that well, should be playable with 3, but best with 4, and I'm lucky enough to have only played with four. These two things are completely outshined by the games magnificance, though the gameplay might seem rather dull and the amount of roles small if your used to Citadels, I think you just have to experience the game before judging.
Anyhoo, I'll give this piece of gold a grade on the respectable BBG scale, and it is:
10 - Outstanding. Always want to play and expect this will never change.
9 - Excellent game. Always want to play it.
8 - Very good game. I like to play. Probably I'll suggest it and will never turn down a game.
7 - Good game, usually willing to play.
6 - Ok game, some fun or challenge at least, will play sporadically if in the right mood.
5 - Average game, slightly boring, take it or leave it.
4 - Not so good, it doesn't get me but could be talked into it on occasion.
3 - Likely won't play this again although could be convinced. Bad.
2 - Extremely annoying game, won't play this ever again.
1 - Defies description of a game. You won't catch me dead playing this. Clearly broken
Thank you, Marcel-André Casasola Merkle! Because of this game I just plain HAVE to get to know your other products!