Author: Rüdiger Dorn

Publisher: QUEEN GAMES

Awards: none



G@mebox author Marco Klasmeyer writes about the game:


During the game, the players build and develop the country with its villages and cities. The two to four players have to try and gain as much control as possible over the country and its people. Gradually the knights' castles are added. They are the starting points for the knights with which the players try to gain control over the towns and villages. The player who places the last knight in the town or village is awarded the respective victory points.


Raub Ritter (Robber Knights) is a land building and occupation game. It consists of 96 landscape tiles (24 for each player, with the letters A-E on the backsides) and 120 knights (30 wooden chips for each player). Each player obtains at the beginning of the game a pre-sorted set of landscape tiles and 30 knights of his colour. The landscape tiles consist of plains, forests or mountains. Some tiles contain additionally a castle, a village, a city or just open landscape. The start-set of each player contains 8 castles, 6 villages, 4 cities and 6 open landscape tiles. They are sorted according to their letters A-E on the backside, hence forming unordered subsets of equal size. They are stacked from E to B as a supply pile. From the remaining 4 tiles with an A each player selects one tile with a castle and another arbitrary tile and holds them hidden in his hand. The remaining two other tiles are put face down in the middle of the table. After all tiles have been placed they are flipped over and build the start field.

The game consists of turns (clockwise) in which each player has the following options:

  1. Placing tiles:

    The player has to place one of his tiles from his hands on the table. When placing a tile it has to be put side to side next to another already placed tile. The neighboured landscapes do not need to match. Afterwards the player draws the first tile from his supply pile an hides it again in his hand. The player is allowed to repeat this action two times, so up to three tiles can be placed in one turn.

    The size of all placed landscape tiles (i.e. the game board) is restricted and depends on the number of the players participating:

    • for 2 players: one row or column must not exceed 7 tiles, so the resulting game board will consist of 2x24=48 tiles in a 7x7 matrix.
    • for 3 players: one row or column must not exceed 9 tiles (attention: there is an error in the rules which states 8!), so the resulting game board will consist of 3x24=72 tiles in a 9x9 matrix (an 8x8 matrix would be too small).
    • for 4 players: one row or column must not exceed 10 tiles, so the resulting game board will consist of 4x24=96 tiles in a 10x10 matrix.
    It is never allowed to exceed any of these boundaries.

  2. Placing and moving the knights:

    Whenever a player places a landscape tile with a castle, he may place up to five knights on the castle. If he has no knights in his supply, of course he cannot place any knights. After the knights have been placed - and only then - they are allowed to be moved into one direction: up, down, left or right. According to the landscape shown on the starting tile an amount of knights must reside on the original place and only the remaining knights are allowed to move to the next field. On the plains one knight has to reside, in the forest two have to remain and in the mountains even three knights. If there are more knights available on the new occupied field than there have to reside, it is possible to move the remaining free knights also to the next field. When moving further, it is not allowed to change the previously chosen direction.

    It might happen that a field is already occupied with other knights (your own or those of your opponents). In this case the moving knights are set on top of the others and they now occupy this field. But it is never allowed to enter a field with four already placed knights. Thus a knight movement starts at a castle field in a chosen direction, which cannot be altered. The movement ends, if there are no knights available to enter another field or if the player decides to stop the movement. There no other movements of the knights allowed, after they have once been placed and moved.


After all tiles have been placed the game ends and the final evaluation takes place. Please note, that it might happen that not all players place their last tile in the same turn due to a possibly unequal number of placements in the course of the game.
The player with the knight on top of each landscape tile gains the corresponding victory points. A landscape tile with a castle counts 1 point, with a village 2 and with a city it counts 3 points. Landscape tiles without buildings yield no points. The player with the most victory points wins.


The basic principle of Raub Ritter sounds very simple. Every player has the same set of landscapes tiles, but in slightly different order. You can only place your tiles and you are only allowed to use your knights if you have placed a castle. Since the number of castles is limited, the number of possible knight moves is limited. And the distance between two knight placements and moves is foreseeable once you know all the tiles and their possible order. However, you definitely need to play this game quite often to learn how to estimate the order of the landscape tiles to follow. While it is true that you can play Raub Ritter right out of the box due to its seemingly simple rules, the game should be played at least three times for getting a deeper impression of the tricky game mechanism. Thus you will need several sessions to discover the full value of this game which definitely increases the tactical level of Raub Ritter.

It is not as easy as drawing one, two, or three tiles and place them accordingly on the game board. Once you or your opponents have placed valuable tiles with cities or villages you want to conquer then. Unfortunately only the last knight on top of the three possible knights gets the victory points, so it is not advisable to place the first knights too early, because there is the danger of becoming overruled. Another tactical trick is to block certain areas from the access of the others for instance by blocking key entry points with a stack of four own knights. Also, clever placing of worthless (empty) or difficult (mountains or the lake) landscape tiles might prevent your area from being overrun. On the other hand you cannot really plan your moves very well if more than two players are involved. You can only hold two tiles on your hand and you might even get an idea of the tile to be drawn next. But what you can never guess or plan are the moves of your three or four opponents. So when it is your turn again, the game board might have completely changed (nine possibly added landscape tiles and an unpredictable distribution of the majorities of knights. For this reason Raub Ritter is highly tactical for two players and less tactical and more unpredictable for more players.

You need a little bit to get used to the design of the cards, especially the colours. The knights are no proper knights but more round wooden chips.

Putting this all together, Raub Ritter possesses quite exciting aspects but they will only be revealed after several gaming sessions. This makes it not suitable for purposes like "just introducing a nice game". Leaving this observation aside, it is a nice tactical game and easy to learn.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany