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Subject: Dorra at his finest! rss

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Robert .
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Razzia (Stefan Dorra)

Components (Bits):


Razzia is a fairly old game, and as such, the components aren’t up to spec of the newer games, but they are still adequate – and far better than most American games. The cards are small, and quite thin, but have a decent coating on them. The club boards are a bit too thin, and could use a Pick Picknic level of thickness as they have a bit of the “Curl” on them. Otherwise, I’m fairly pleased with the quality and especially enjoy the nice artwork!

Setup and Rules:


The rules are printed on a nice glossy colour paper, and are very short and easy to understand. The only complaint here would be the setup and preparation required to play the game, depending on the amount of players, cards, money and clubs must be removed. This creates a 5 minute delay in starting a game, but nothing that is a serious impediment to the enjoyment of Razzia. Each player is dealt 5 cards after the required component adjustments are made to compensate for the number of players.

Theme:


Let me start by saying I’m biased towards games with a mafia theme. With that fact known, I have to say I absolutely LOVE the theme of this game, and the wonderful artwork is very fitting and well done. The theme in this game is far more enjoyable than the theme in the reprint (Pick Picknic), and lends itself to adult gamers more easily. The theme works very well and integrates into the game play flawlessly, and doesn’t feel “Pasted” on. Dorra is quite good with the themes on his games, and this one is no exception.

Game Play:

The game starts with the player next to the dealer placing money down on each club from left to right, after this is done that player must “Seed” a club of his choice with an additional money piece. At this point all players look at their hand, and decide which card they want to play. This card is drawn out, placed face down, and all players simultaneously reveal their selections, and resolve the play. If a gangster is played on a club alone, he gets all of the money on that club. If a copy is played on an empty club, he gets nothing. If a cop is played on a club with any gangsters, the cop cleans out all of the money. If more than one gangster or cop is played on the same club, they must “Negotiate” and agree on how to divide the loot. If they cannot agree then they must duel. Each player rolls the dice and adds their roll to their card number for a total, the highest total wins the total amount of loot in the club. The clubs are replenished, each player draws another card and this continues until all cards are exhausted, at which point the money each player has is totalled to determine the winner.

Depth and Tactics:

This is a bidding/bluffing game at the core. The tactics amount to how well you can predict, guess, or otherwise surmise what other players will do. Don’t be alarmed, there are plenty of decisions to be made, and careful play will be rewarded with victory. For example, do you play your best gangster on a club with a lot of money, and risk being run off by a cop? Do you gamble that someone will play gangsters on a club, and play a cop to scoop up the loot? Do you avoid confrontation, and go for one of the lower value clubs and clean it out? Even if you play on the same club as another player, there is a chance you can negotiate a settlement to benefit you both – or fight over it. When placing money on the clubs, it is quite possible to throw people off by seeding a club you have no intention to play on. This is an added element that I rather enjoy about this game that is missing from Pick Picnic. Overall, this game is filled with decisions and exciting tactics and is a whole lot of fun. Nothing brain busting, but certainly enough to keep even the most hardened gamer playing.

Summary:

Razzia is a really fine game, it takes mechanics I really enjoy, and puts a nice theme on them with some cool twists. I love simultaneous action games, I enjoy bidding games, and I really like bluffing and push your luck. Razzia offers a nice combination of all of those aspects, and comes together to make a fine game. Pick Picknic is essentially Razzia re-themed, with most of the compelling and interesting mechanics stripped out of it. The main differences between Razzia and Pick Picknic are;

1) Conflict resolution is much better in Razzia, and adds a negotiation element to the game that is quite fun. Haggling is a pretty interactive and sweet aspect of Razzia that is all but missing from Pick Picknic. Even more interesting is the haggling when 3 people or more fight over the same club. The highest card person can make "Offers" to the other two, if one accepts, he takes the money offered and runs, but if one disagrees, then it sets up a duel between the last two. So sometimes it is best to just agree, and get out of town.

2) Distribution of money is more thoughtful than cube distribution in Pick Picknic because the person distributing the money can "Seed" a bar of his choice after each club is filled. For example if you are distributing, and have STRONG cards for the red club, you can slap a 50K stack of cash on red and seed your next play. This is quite important, and exciting, and often creates more conflict. In Pick Picknic, you just refill the cubes.

3) Police cards are MUCH better than the foxes in Pick Picknic. For example if 2 police officers raid the same club, they can "Haggle" over how to split the loot AFTER they run off the gangsters. In Pick Picknic if a fox is played, he "Eats" the bird, and takes it into his winnings, usually this amounts to very little. In Razzia if a cop raids a club players played at, then the cop runs off the crooks, and takes ALL of the money, which is VERY lucrative and interesting.

4) Razzia supports up to 8 players, and is a great party game for everyone of all ages. Pick Picknic only supports 6 players and is geared toward children.

5) Razzia has a much better theme in my opinion, and much less of a childs game, but still very fun for kids to play. What kid doesn't like cops and robbers?

6) We find money in Razzia better than cubes.. My wife thinks the cubes in Pick Picknic are fiddly and annoying, but loves the little cardboard cash in Razzia.

Razzia is a far better game than Pick Picknic in my opinion. Instead of reprinting Razzia, apparently they decided to re-theme it, and remove many of the best elements. I feel this was a mistake; they are different enough games that someone should pick up Razzia and re-print it. This is one of the best filler games I’ve played and deserves to be in more collections.
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Jay Little
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Eden Prairie
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I didn't realize this was a re-tread of Pick Picknic... I've played PP and had fun with it, but felt the cube management was a bit fiddly... I actually have a copy of Razzia collecting dust on my shelf that I got as an "add on" in a game trade and have never cracked open before. Looks like I should give it a try!
 
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Andrew Glynn
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There are 2 games called Razzia. I just bought the Knizia game and was quite puzzled at first by this game review.
 
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Robert .
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Hence why I have (Stefan Dorra) at the beginning. I'm unsure why they stole the Razzia name, this game was out much sooner than the one by Knizia, and it just makes it all confusing. Silly thing to do!

Also, I think it has been doing this game a disservice by saying it has been "Republished as PickPicknic", which I think i've shown, couldn't be farther from the truth. They are like completely different games in many cases - and this one is considerably better.
 
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