Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Authors: Wolfgang Kramer &
Michael Kiesling




G@mebox author Marco Klasmeyer writes about the game:


Australia at the beginning of the twenties of the last century. The land is in a state of continuous growth. Modernisation and expansion of the industry are the big goals to let the economy grow "down under". At the same time national parks are raised and many nature protection projects for the preservation of the fauna and flora in the name of the government are founded. Each player takes the leading role of a group of rangers, which have to realise nature protection and industry projects on behalf of the government. The player who performs best and hence collects the most success points wins the game.


"Australia" consists of 74 rangers in 5 colours, 5 aeroplanes (double deckers), 42 ranger action cards, 24 industrialisation markers and 24 national park markers, furthermore 44 gold coins (Austral Dollar). The game board shows a map of Australia and is divided into several coloured districts. Also the surrounding sea is separated into larger zones.

At the beginning of the game the action cards are shuffled separately for each of their kind and placed in four decks of eight cards (remaining cards are laid aside). These are the four kind of action cards in the game:

  • place 1 ranger and take 3 gold
  • place 2 rangers and take 2 gold
  • place 3 rangers and take 1 gold
  • place 4 rangers and take 0 gold

At start-up a marker with a Koala (representing a national park project) and a marker for industrial projects (with the number value face down) are placed into each district or sea zone. Both marker types represent the projects, which have to be completed by the players to gain victory points. At the borders and corners of the districts there are camps which have to be populated with rangers. Each camp is related to all its neighboured districts. Only rangers of one player can occupy a single camp and hence partially control the projects in the neighboured districts. Between the sea zones ships fulfil the same role instead of camps. Each player gets a number of rangers, which can be placed into the camps. The number of available rangers depends on the number of players participating, ranging from 10 to 20 rangers. Each player represents the group leader of his rangers and has one aeroplane to discover the country and transport his rangers to and from the camps and ships.

The player on turn has to perform two of the following optional actions:

  • Moving the aeroplane: The player can move to any district on the map. If he arrives at a district with a face down industrial project marker, he has to flip it around immediately. This reveals the requirements for completing the industrial project to all players. If the requirements (see below) are met, an immediate evaluation phase shortly interrupts the course of the game.

  • Playing cards and placing rangers: The player's aeroplane must be in the appropriate district and the player needs to play an action card showing the same colour as this district. The player is allowed to set the specified amount of rangers or even less, but he can always take the amount of gold independent of his previous choice. The player can move the rangers to any free camp at the border of the appropriate district or an already occupied camp of his own rangers. After playing an action card, the player draws immediately a new card. Please note the following special option:

    • For the price of 3 gold dollars the player can ignore the colour of the action card!
    • A player can play an action card according to the rules but then renounce to place any rangers. In this case he can still take the gold but he gets also two victory points.
  • Removing rangers: The player can take up to four of his rangers from every camp of the district, where his aeroplane is located, and put them to his supply.

Besides these normal actions there is one special move, which can be made additionally at any time during the turn: For 4 gold dollars a player can move one of his rangers from an arbitrary camp to another free or occupied camp with his own rangers. This action can be done as often as the player is willing to spend the 4 gold dollars.

Evaluation of the projects:

A national park project is completed when all camp/ships at the borders of the districts are occupied by rangers. The evaluation takes place immediately after the last missing ranger has been placed.

An industrialisation project is completed when the exact number of rangers shown on the marker is settled around the district. This is regardless of number of free camps or ships in this district. If there are more rangers than required, the project is neither completed nor evaluated! In the special case that an aeroplane arrives at an undiscovered district and the industrial marker is flipped over, an evaluation is performed immediately if the condition for the rangers is met. The evaluation takes place immediately after the required number of rangers is available.

For every ranger in a camp participating at the completion of a project the group leader gets one victory point, for every ranger on a ship he gets two points. The player who initiates the evaluation gets three extra points regardless to whether any of his rangers are participating. All victory points are counted on the outer border of the game board.

The game ends when all supply cards and hand cards have been used up and the round is completed. The player with the most victory points on the score board wins the game as the best group leader.

Additional rules:

The game offers one supplement for advanced players, a wind wheel. The wind wheel symbol is placed in a district at start up. Whenever an industrial marker showing a wind wheel is revealed, the wind mill is set to that district and its value is increased by one (turning the wheel). Whenever a player transports rangers to a camp or ship and the wind wheel is also in same or an adjacent district, he can also choose to place rangers on the wind wheel evaluation area on the game board. Whenever a project is completed, the project marker is also placed on the wind wheel evaluation area. If there are enough markers in this area, the wind wheel is evaluated. The player with the majority of the rangers gets the number of victory points the wheel currently shows. The second place in majority rank gets the half number of points (rounded down) and the third place only gets half of the half (rounded down). After distribution of the victory points the half of the rangers are taken back to the supply of the players, starting with the rangers who have been placed first on the wind wheel area. The later the rangers have been placed in the course of the game the more likely they participate in several wind wheel evaluations.


Australia is a nice game with tactical elements also teaching a lesson in dealing with industrial and nature projects at the same time. It introduces the players to the continent Australia and its special challenges, always having double tracked objectives of saving the nature and the ancient culture and bringing forward the industrialization. Australia has few tactical elements, but on a per turn basis it offers a lot of opportunities. The evaluation mechanism provides a fair scoring for all players. All projects are completed jointly, although one player earns "slightly" more points than the others. In the normal case during an evaluation phase all players obtain at least some points. Nevertheless a player can cause quite a chain reaction of project evaluations by cleverly placing his rangers during a normal movement and also making use of buying extra moves. Especially when the game comes to an end and mostly all rangers are on the board, the last few remaining evaluations may become quite critical.

The wind wheel is a nice add-on to the normal game mechanism, but it is not that important. You can have enough fun without it. It only provides another way of placing rangers and participating in the success of the others. One thing is tricky about the wind wheel: You have to consider a possible evaluation of the wind wheel as a consequence of an advantageous evaluation you want to let happen during your turn. At first sight, the evaluation might be advantageous for you, but at closer inspection your opponent might get more victory points for the evaluation of the wind wheel. Thus there are several things to be considered when the wind wheel is part of the game.

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Copyright © 2005 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Trier, Germany