Reiner Knizia


Spiel der Spiele



Some years after the release of Reiner Knizia's Rheinländer under the label of PARKER, the decision-markers of HASBRO once again have discovered the importance of offering games of well known authors for being successful on the german games market. Thus, HASBRO now has started a new PARKER-series of "Authorenspiele", and the start of this new series was made with a new Knizia game - Tal der Abenteuer.

Tal der Abenteuer is a game about an expedition into the far-off regions of the Himalayas, and the players will accompany a team of four daring adventurers who have set out to discover a hidden valley. The two-sided gameboard shows the travelling route to the hidden valley, and whereas the first side of the board displays the leg between the base camp and a distant temple where the adventurers hope to find hints of the valley, the second side of the map shows the final leg of the voyage through the higher mountains from the Temple to the hidden valley. At the beginning of the game, all four adventurer figures are placed at the base camp on the first side of the board, and a total of 15 adventure tiles is shuffled and placed face-down on marked spaces on the different ways between the base camp and the temple. Also, a deck of cards displaying the different adventurers (or Jokers with all four adventurers) and movement ranges from one to three spaces is shuffled and a number of cards is distributed to each player.

The game then starts with the players taking turns, and the process of a player's turn is relatively simple: a player choses one of his hand-cards, plays it and accordingly moves the adventurer displayed on his card for the also indicated number of spaces. This ends his turn, unless the adventurer moved by the player has landed on one of the spaces containing an adventure tile. In this case, he may reveal the adventure tile (if it was not already revealed) and act upon it.

Four different kinds of adventure tiles exist in the game:

  • If the tile shows a card, the player is allowed to draw a new card from the deck.
  • One or more footprints mean that the player has to move a different adventurer for the indicated number of spaces.
  • A number of coins allows the player to take that many coins.
  • A gem means that the player may take a gem.

The first half of the game ends when the first adventurer succeeds to get to the Temple. The player who has moved the adventurer to the Temple is granted a gem, and then an evaluation off the cards left on each player's hand takes place:

  • The players receive three coins for each card on their hand matching the adventurer who has reached the Temple.
  • The rest of the gameboard is split into four areas with different landscapes, and each of these areas has a value between "-1" and "2" gold coins. Thus, the players have to check for the positions of the other three adventurers, and the amount of gold they receive for each of the cards left on their hand depends on the position of the adventurers on the gameboard.
  • Jokers are put aside, since no coins are distributed for them.

Once all cards were evaluated and the players have received their gold, the gameboard is turned over to the side displaying the routes from the Temple to the hidden valley. The players receive a new hand of cards, and the adventure tiles are once again shuffled and placed face down on the appropriate spaces on the gameboard. In addition, five rope-bridge tokens are placed on different positions to make passage over a chasm possible, and then the second half of the game begins one again with the players taking turns, playing cards and moving adventurers. The game now proceeds in the same way as in the first half, with the addition that each of the bridges only allows one crossing. Thus, if an adventurer has crossed one of the bridges, that bridge token is turned over so that the remaining adventurers will have to take different routes to finish their voyage.


The game ends when the first adventurer reaches the entry to the hidden valley, and the player who has moved the adventurer to this space receives three coins and an additional gem. Then, as at the end of the first leg of the voyage, the players once again turn their remaining hand cards into coins by evaluating the positions of the adventurers on the gameboard. Finally, the players count their gems and coins. The player with most gems gets an additional 12 coins, the player with second most gems gets 6 coins. As might be guessed, the winner will be the player who was able to collect most coins.

Reiner Knizia once again showed his ability to create nice, tricky games without much effort. Although Tal der Abenteuer doesn't feature any surprising new rules or playing mechanisms, it is a solid family entertainment game with a strategic factor surpassing the usual streamlined dice-rolling boardgames. During the course of the game, the players constantly have to re-evaluate the value of the cards on their hand to match the relative positions of the adventurers on the gameboard, since a player's strategy usually will be spoiled by the actions of the others. Second guessing the others and a bit of bluffing also is important, and furthermore a certain degree of speculation appears when the players have to decide whether they should use cards for movement or hold onto them to participate in a possible scoring. Taken together, all these elements give the game a playing depth which is quite pleasing and a bit surprising for a game which can be played with children as young as eight years. Due to these advantages, I would recommend this game especially to parents who want to play a challenging game with their children, but also seasoned players should not underrate the game and its tactical options simply because of its seemingly streamlined appearance.

Talking about tactics, I last want to mention that HASBRO has celebrated the beginning of their new series of "Authorenspiele" by releasing Tal der Abenteuer in two editions. Apart from the standard game outlined above, there also exists a limited edition containing several special cards. This special edition only is available through smaller gamestores, but it develops the game in a way allowing the players even more tactical options. The decision for this two-tier release was made on the grounds that the usual customer in a smaller gamestore likes games with a good tactical involvement, and thus HASBRO wanted to make their game more attractive for this target group of players while at the same time doing something to improve their long-neglected relations to smaller stores.

The only point PARKER still need to work on is the graphic presentation of their new games since the quality of the graphics in Tal der Abenteuer falls back behind the high standard of the game itself. The design is colourful but a bit flashy and not too detailed. Including simple wooden playing pieces, the game is a bit boring to look at, but to sum it up, I consider Tal der Abenteuer to a be a felicitous start for HASBRO's re-discovery of authored games, and I will be eager to see how the new line of games will be continued.

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany