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



Keith Meyers


No. of Players:
3 - 6



Serious boardgames hobbyists will have developed a strong liking for "meaty", complex games, but as research has shown a single-sided diet is not very healthy. Thus, some variety is needed, and here AMIGO offers relief through their successful, fast playing Sitting Ducks cardgame. Although the players do not face any shooting restrictions, these feathery imps have been haunting the AMIGO cardgames pond for several years, and now AMIGO even has increased the population by adding the new Sitting Ducks Deluxe!

As you might guess from my introduction, the game is about the hunting of ducks. So, each player is assigned a family of duck cards, and to win the game a player needs to be the last participant who has ducks in the game. The duck cards of all players are shuffled into a big deck, and a number of these cards then is revealed and placed in a line within the hunters' field of vision. The ducks try to escape from the hunters' range by moving leftwards out of the field of fire, and every duck which successfully escapes is placed back under the stack of duck cards, giving its owner some security that he will stay in the game at least until this duck is revealed again.

However, a duck which leaves the hunters' field of vision (either through frantic paddling or on a casualty-stretcher) will leave an empty space, and now all duck cards which were behind the removed card will be moved one step forwards, and the last space in the card row will be replenished by a new card coming from the top of the duck cards pile. Thus, like a shooting gallery there will be a constant leftwards movement and replenishment of ducks, and it will be the players who will try to eliminate the other players' ducks while at the same time trying to keep their own poultry out of harm's way.


All the action is driven through the players' random hand of action cards, and most of these cards allow either the movement of ducks on the pond or a hunter's action. As might be guessed, there is a huge variety of cards which allows many different kinds of movements so that ducks may move forwards or backwards, interchange their spaces or even movements to and fro the pile of duck cards can be triggered.

Talking about triggers, the hunters' actions of course focus on the elimination of these wacky birds. However, before a shot can be fired the players will need to take aim. Thus, the deck of action cards contains a number of targeting actions, and these actions allow the placement, movement or removal of cross-hair markers which may be assigned to the different spaces of the duck pond.

It is important to notice at this place that the cross-hairs markers are not assigned to a specific duck but to the different spaces in the field of vision, so that a movement of ducks may cause a different duck to drift into the line of fire. Thus, a player has to be careful when using a targeting card, since only a few action cards allow a combined targeting and shooting action. Most other targeting cards are restricted to the placement of the cross-hairs, and so a player needs to speculate whether another player might use the cross-hairs to shoot the current duck or whether the other players will use their cards to exchange the positions of some ducks, possibly moving a duck of the player who has placed the cross-hairs under the targeting-marker!

The deck of action cards is rounded up by some interactive cards which allow the stealing of cards from another player's hand and - of course - cards for firing. Here the deck once again features a broad choice of cards, ranging from simple shots which allow the removal or one targeted duck to wrong targeting which allows the killing of a duck on a space next to a cross-hairs marker. As indicated, some cards even allow a combined targeting and shooting action, and these cards are most feared because they allow an instant kill at the hunting player's choice.

In comparison to the basic version this Deluxe edition of Sitting Ducks features a nice pond-gameboard and over 30 new action cards. Thus, the new cards allow some surprises, but players who own the basic version of the game are not really obliged to buy Sitting Ducks Deluxe unless they want to enhance the general visual appearance of the game. New-duckers may confidently buy the Deluxe-version, since the price of the new box is still moderate enough to justify the direct acquisition of the set.

In terms of playability, it should be fairly easy to guess that Sitting Ducks foremost is a fun game which should not be taken too seriously. Due to the fact that the players are faced with a randomized deck of action cards which allow nearly every conceivable action the players are faced with a high degree of instability which makes any serious planning impossible. The players' decide their next move as they go, and in most cases they just try to get their next duck out of the pond and back below the deck of duck cards. However, there are enough instances when a player lacks the cards to do anything beneficial for his own birds (or - luckily - has all his quackers in the duck pile), and in these cases it becomes quite enjoyable to use every possibly means to sink the enemy's feather-fleets to the bottom of the pond.

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Copyright © 2012 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany