Mark "Krimsu"

KISTE 2008

No. of Players:
2 - 4



The old German folk song Im Wald da sind die Räuber sings about a band of outlaws living in a wood, and indeed, the new game by KRIMSUS KRIMSKRAMS KISTE (finally back with a new game, and at the same time the first boardgame they have ever done) puts the players into the positions of bandit chiefs who are raiding Homesteads, Inns and Castles from their encampments hidden in the woods.

The gameboard used is made up by hexagonal tiles, and at the beginning a center road crossing of three tiles is placed at the gameboard. 12 additional tiles will be placed by the players around this crossing to form the playing area to start the game, but the remaining tiles will be shuffled and placed down as three hidden stacks which each consist of 12 tiles. While setting the game up, each of the players also receives a tile which features his encampment, and these tiles will be added by the players so that they are present with the startup gameboard.

Certain rules must be observed when the tiles are placed, so that roads always must be placed in a way that they connect to the gridwork of roads available on the board. This actually prevents the creation of a wholly independent area. Furthermore, a load of 40 treasure counters (gems, coins, gold bars, jewellery and silver cutlery) have been placed in a bag, and a treasure counter can be drawn and placed on a new tile if a new Homestead is revealed, whereas it must be placed in case a new Inn is placed. Castles have more riches than the aforementioned buildings, and so two treasure counters must be placed on a newly found castle. Once the intial placement phase is finished, the real game may begin.

A player begins his turn by drawing and lacing a new tile from the first of the three face down stacks, and when a building should be revealed on the new tile treasure tokens may be placed just like it was done when the game was set up. Next, and more important, comes the movement phase in which the active player actually may start to move with his outlaws from his encampment, and each of the outlaws has its own movement allowance to be moved a number of steps from one tile to another. Whenever a space with a treasure counter is reached an additional movement point may be spent to take up the treasure, and if the player succeeds in carrying back the treasure to his encampment he may place it in front of himself. A limited number of special draught tokens may be used by each player, and these markers may be used to double the movement allowance of one of their outlaws. Also, special rogue counters may be discarded to force another player to lose a treasure counter he was carrying, and this counter then is placed on a neighbouring space where another player possibly may steal it with one of his outlaws and carry it home.

An evaluation will be done whenever one of the three hidden stacks of tiles has been used up (marking the end of a third of the game), and in this evaluation the players will receive victory points for their treasure counters. However, the value of the treasure counters increases when a player possesses more treasure counters of the same kind, so that the player's basic strategy will be to acquire the right treasure counters to get most victory points.

To spice the game up and to give the players a challenge while carrying the treasures home, a guardsman is patrolling the forest and rides from one Homestead to another. He comes into play when the first Homestead is placed during a normal turn, and the player who activates him also has to mark a Homestead to which the guardsman will ride. From that moment on each player will have to roll a dice and move the guardsman for the rolled number of spaces on the shortest possible way to the target Homestead, and the player who is active when the guardsman reaches the Homestead will be allowed to identify yet another Homestead to which the guardsman will ride. This movement is continued till the end of the game, and whenever the guardsman comes upon an outlaw that outlaw is placed back in its player's encampment, possibly discarding a dropped treasure on the space where the guardsman was met.

A person which actually met the Robbers in the old folk song was a Maiden who was on her way in search of a blueberry bush, and a token depicting the Maiden will be placed on the first empty tile which is placed during normal gameplay. The Maiden-chip may be taken just like a treasure counter, and if the player takes her to the blueberries on the central crossroads he will receive a reward of three victory points. The Maiden then is removed from the board, but it is placed again once the next empty tile has been revealed.

Finally, even outlaws like to celebrate a good day's work, and nothing would be better than doing this in an Inn with lots of beer. Thus, the players may try to get their outlaws into Inns before the third and final scoring, and each outlaw at an Inn at the final scoring will bring additional victory points.

Whereas some of the games I have seen on the SPIEL 08convention can be qualified as being specialist games for hobbyists, Im Wald da sind die Räuber in the best possible sense falls into the category of family boardgames. The playing mechanism offered here actually assembles some features which can be found in different other boardgames, but the whole composition of these elements is used in a new, unique and entertaining way. Personally, I rather like such "tease your fellow players" games, and through the movement of the guardsman and the rogue chips some valuable victory points may be lost at a crucial moment. Taken together with the setup phase and the constant placing of new tiles the game even offers some strategic impact, and so I think that Mark "Krimsu" Sienholz and his crew actually have succeeded quite well in bringing a bit of the long-lost German folksong to life in their cute new boardgame.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2008 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany