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



Emanuele Ornella

AMIGO 2008

No. of Players:
3 - 6



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

Byzanz is a new card game from AMIGO, introducing the players to the role of merchants visiting the famous market of Byzanz where they bid for the best bundle of wares. Payment is done with other wares from their hand, and three wares of the same type can be sold with the highest card counting as victory points at the end of the game.

Depending on the number of players, some cards are put aside, so the game keeps the right balance with every number of players. In addition, the number of rounds is determined by the number of players as well. So, in a 6-player-game Byzanz only lasts four rounds, while there are eight rounds in a three-player-game. Every player begins with four cards in his hand, and these cards show different kinds of ware and their values.


In each round the players bid as often as the number of players for bundles of wares. However, the number of ware cards in the bundle is decreased with every auction that has ended. So for example in a game with four players the first auction in the round is for five ware cards and the last auction only for only two ware cards. Players who won an auction are not allowed to bid for another auction in this round again. So, every player wins an auction in each round of the game, but the players will get different amounts of wares cards. As could be expected, this usually results in the fact that the wares in the first auction will be sold for much higher than the wares in the following auctions, and the last auction does not really have to take place, because there is only one player left.

Beginning with the start player every player either bids, passes or adjusts his bid. A bid always must be higher than the one before. The player with the highest bid pays the amount of his bid by placing cards from his hand into the market of Byzanz, chooses one card of the auctioned bundle and also puts it into the market, and finally takes the rest of the bundle into his hand.

All cards that go into the market of Byzanz are sorted by type (not by value). At the end of the round the players in ascending order, beginning with the player who was last in the auctions, choose one type of the cards in the market and take all of them to their hand again. So at the end of the round all players will be well equipped with cards for the next round, because either a player won one of the first auctions with a big bundle of cards or he can choose from the cards in the market before the other players. A somewhat funny system of checks and balances, but it is required to make Byzanz work.

The wares from a player's hand can be sold at any time. Three cards of the same type of wares are chosen for sale, and the player keeps the card with the highest value as victory points whereas the other two cards will be discarded. After the specified number of rounds, the game ends and the player with the most victory points wins the game.

No offence, but Byzanz is a rather simple game. Maybe it is a little bit harsh on the game to compare it with titles like Wizard, Relikt or awards-winning Bohnanza. But whenever I have such a small box from AMIGO in my hands, I expect an interesting and funny card game in which time is slipping away too quickly. Byzanz does not evoke that kind of feelings. Although the game promises a lot of interaction, I was not struck that this is really true. Round after round the players do the same thing again: bidding and waiting. This would be okay, if the game would only take about 20 minutes. But especially with a new group of players you can easily play 45 minutes or longer and soon the one or other player wonders how long the game still takes. So, in the end I really was quite happy that I could present my (new) round of test players, who I wanted to elate with my games, a different and more satisfying game: Saboteur, another great cardgame from AMIGO....

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Copyright © 2008 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany