Michael Palm &
Lukas Zach


G@mebox Star



Today, let us join a sinister circle of travelling companions in their coach on their hurried Kutschfahrt zur Teufelsburg. This new cardgame by ADLUNG features both german and English cards and rules, and it is playable for 3 to 10 players but especially suitable for larger groups between 5 to 8 players.

In this game, each player assumes the role of a character sitting in this fast-driven coach, and each of the characters is secretly assigned two cards depicting both his profession and his membership in one of the two available secret orders for this game (membership in both orders is evenly spread). Furthermore, each player is assigned one object card as hand luggage, and these luggage cards feature a number a artefacts with various powers and furthermore three goblets and three key cards. During the game, the players will have to find out which other players also are member of their secret order, and each of the secret orders has as its goal either to get the three goblets or the three keys into their possession.

The game then is played in turns, and during a player's turn he will usually chose between doing nothing, offering another character a the trade of an object or attacking another character. When offering an object for trade, the player receiving the offer looks at the card and then decides whether he wishes to recline or to accept the offer and give back another card from his hand. If the offer is accepted, both players then look at the cards they received whether they have any special functions which must be revealed after a trade, but if that should not be the case the simply keep silent about the nature of the object exchanged.

If attacking another character, all other players will have to chose which character they want to side with in the upcoming conflict, thus determining the basic strength of the attacking and defending side. The stronger side will have won the combat and the winning attacker or defender now may either look at the looser's profession and secret order card, or he may look at the looser's hand luggage and take one of his object cards. However, a combat usually is not simply decided by simply adding up the number of characters involved on each side, but instead, the players are allowed to use the powers of their objects or special abilities of their professions. These special skills and powers encompass an additional strengthening of one side or the other, the abrupt ending or even the full avoidance of the combat or the removal of characters from the combat. Quite unexpectedly, the player's may decide to use any of their powers at any point during the combat, so that there is no fixed order in which the players have to announce what they are going to do. However, once all players have announce that they have finished, the combat ends and the already mentioned consequences are enacted.

However, the objects' powers and professions' abilities do not stop with possibilities to influence the outcome of a combat, but they may also have influence on the conduction of trades. Thus, some cards allow the trade of more than one object, a chain trade involving all characters or even an exchange of profession cards. Once again, this are only examples for the cards available in the game, and thus there is a great variety of special powers which may be used to influence the usual course of the game. However, whereas objects may be re-used as often as desired, some professions have abilities which may only be used once unless a specific card allows the re-activation of a profession's ability.

The game starts with a phase of careful scanning, with each player trying to deduct who his allies might be. Once a player feels confident enough to win his first combat, quarrels will erupt which increasing intensity, and sooner or later at least some of the players will have a very clear view of the identities of their allies and enemies. Then follows the most difficult part, the collection of the three objects needed by each secret order to win the game, and once again the players will try to acquire the needed objects either by force or trade.

If a player feels confident that his secret order has acquired the required three objects, he may announce that his secret order has won the game and name all his companions which are in the possession of the required objects. All players then reveal their alignment and hand cards, and if the announcement was correct, that secret order will have won. Otherwise, as might be guessed, the other side will have won.

The variety of objects and professions in the game at first is a bit confusing, but it may be reduced for the first games and once players have gotten grip with the game mechanics the left out cards can easily be added. The players then will experience a rather unusual and challenging deductive game, which has a great entertainment value especially if played in a larger group. The excellent graphics strengthen the brooding and sinister atmosphere on this doomed voyage, and once begun the coach will not stop until the players' horses are totally exhausted.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany