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Subject: A fancy rat or does this rat bite? rss

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Yellohat
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Picture from themiddleages.net

Black death
In the years 1346 to 1351 in Europe people were dieing to a back then unknown disease. In Europe there were an estimated 25 million deaths, a third of the total population. In various cities this loss caused social disorder.
People initially thought it was God's punishment but later doubted because disaster struck all classes, deep religious or less religious. Only, due to their hygienic rules, Jews were less affected This raised suspect that Jews were poisoning wells. And that was confessed by a Jew after torture.
Hundreds of years later they found out that the cause of the disease came from flees.

A new rat to the pack
Henrik and Åse Berg are authors of Rattus which was published in 2010. In the following years expansion Rattus Pied Piper and Rattus Africanus were published.
Rattus Cartus was published recently and though it is designed by the same couple and it copied the name, artwork and theme, Rattus Cartus is a completely different game.

Components
Rattus Cartus has a lot of cards. twelve different building cards, five each. Six different population cards, fourteen each and next to that there are five different bonus cards.
Furthermore there are player tokens, victory points and many rat tokens in various nominations. The components look very robust and are of fine quality. The rulebook is well written and is in the box four times, in English, German, French and Dutch.


Picture of a hand of cards. In the background you can also see the scoring track for the six factions. Picture by bgg user henk.rolleman.

Setup
In the middle of the table five population cards are placed, face down, and these will form the nun row. Each population card has a number of pink pawns printed on it, the number varies from zero to four. The total number of pink pawns on the five cards is the number of rats you can have at the end of the game for not to loose. If there are more rats than nuns, you will get bit by a rat and die.
Furthermore the bonus cards, the score board and the point and rat tokens are placed in the middle. Each player start with five population cards at hand and five rats in tokens.
Then 30 building cards are selected and a number of them, depending of the number of players, are set aside as the building replacement deck.

Game play
At the start of each round two building cards, when playing with two or three, or three building cards, when playing with four or five, are revealed. If all building are the same, one gets replaced by a card from the building replacement deck.
Then the income phase starts. Each player may pick one of the possibilities displayed on one of the building cards. Income can be such as draw a number of cards, peek a card of the nun row, discard a rat or a combination of these.


Picture of three building cards. Picture by bgg user diddle74.

Influence
After the earnings have been done, starting with the start player all players try to get influence in one of the six factions. With a marker the player indicates which building is used and then he or she plays as many population and or bonus cards as wished. The cards are laid down, closed, at the table. After everybody played the cards are revealed. The person who entered the building with most population cards will get the top bonus on the card. Other players also in the building will get the bonus as displayed on the bottom of the card. All players obtain influence in the faction where the building belonged to, equal to the number of population cards they played. For each population card not belonging to that faction, the player attracts a rat.
The bonuses that can be obtained on the building cards are such as earning victory points, drawing population cards, peek non row cards, discard rats or obtain bonus cards such as the wild, gold, flute and sword cards.

Sword and flute
There can also be bonus cards played in a building, like the flute or the sword card. These two will only have effect if there is another player in the same building and if there is a majority at one side. In case of the flute the winning player may discard one rat to the loosing party. In case of the sword the loosing party must give half of his hand cards to the winning player.
There are also other type of bonus cards. The sand clock gives you the option to pass. Wild cards can enter any building just as normal characters but never attract rats. The gold cards can give you points at the end.

Victorious
In order to win, firstly you need to have less rats than there are non pawns in the non row. Then you need to have most points. During the game you can earn a few points. But there are many more. If you are leading in one of the six factions, you earn ten victory points, if you are second you get five, third brings you two points. Then you get two points if you have most population plus wild cards, flute cards, sand clock cards or sword cards. If you have most gold cards you will earn six points, if you are second you will have three points.

Conclusion
The game plays lovely straightforward and it plays remarkable well for two players as well as with four and I think with five as well. The rounds go by smoothly and there is some good fun in the bluffing and the fights going on in the buildings with the flute or sword cards and of course on the influence tracks.
The replayability is high as there are many more building cards in the box than you need for one game. One building, the tower, is a bit too complex, so I would remove it from play the first time. This building is indeed, not in the proposed first game setup. The other buildings are fine.

You need some luck for the win with drawing cards and the buildings that show up, or do not show up. But that is completely fine in this fun game. Rattus Cartus is a nice fun card game that can be done under an hour. Rattus, which with the expansion Pied Piper, is a fine game and I like this game, Rattus Cartus better.


If you are interested in reading more of my reviews, click here.
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Ron
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Re: A fancy rat or does this bite?
Thank you for that review! thumbsup

I bought the complete Rattus trilogy this year in Essen, but passed on the card game - which was obviously an error (which should be rectified in the near future).
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Wesley Fechter
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Re: A fancy rat or does this bite?
Thanks for the review Ravinck. I agree with you; Rattus Cartus is a good game which plays well with all number of players. I also think it's even better then the boardgame.
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Andreas Hellwig
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Re: A fancy rat or does this rat bite through?
Thanks for the great review Ravinck !!! thumbsup
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τὰ ὄντα ἰέναι τε πάντα καὶ μένειν οὐδέν
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Re: A fancy rat or does this rat bite through?
Quote:
In Europe there were an estimated 25 deaths, a third of the total population.


So Europe was pretty sparsely populated back then.
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Yellohat
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Re: A fancy rat or does this rat bite through?
Bahimiron wrote:
Quote:
In Europe there were an estimated 25 deaths, a third of the total population.

So Europe was pretty sparsely populated back then.

Well spotted, mea culpa. I will correct it to 25 million.
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Åse and Henrik Berg
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Re: A fancy rat or does this rat bite through?
Hello,

thank you for the nice review! Just a small comment:

ravinck wrote:

If there is a duplicate building, one gets replaced by a card from the building replacement deck.


Note that you only replace a building if all the drawn buildings are equal. So in a 4 or 5 player game, you would not draw replacement if only two of the three buildings are equal (as in the example picture you included).

All the best,
Åse and Henrik (the designers)
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Yellohat
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Re: A fancy rat or does this rat bite through?
aseoghenrik wrote:
Hello,

thank you for the nice review! Just a small comment:

ravinck wrote:

If there is a duplicate building, one gets replaced by a card from the building replacement deck.


Note that you only replace a building if all the drawn buildings are equal. So in a 4 or 5 player game, you would not draw replacement if only two of the three buildings are equal (as in the example picture you included).

All the best,
Åse and Henrik (the designers)


It is always great to get a response from the designers themselves! Thanks Åse and Henrik! I got it corrected in the review.

I am curious for the expansion!
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