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Store:  Strategy Games
Theme:  Business, Nature & Ecology
Format:  Board Games


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Product Awards:  
Games Magazine Awards
Game of the Year, 2006

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 75 minutes 2-5

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Product Description

Picked as GAMES magazine's 2007 Game of the Year, Australia is an area majority game set in Australia in the early 1920s. Players use planes and rangers to explore different territories in the continent, as they create camps, search for gold, and deal with industrialization. Players use their actions for a variety of effects, as they attempt to control the various regions. A windmill variant is included that adds even more fun - and all the pieces, especially the plastic airplanes look fantastic on the gorgeous board. A game for families and strategy gamers alike, Australia offers a wealth of opportunities with a whole lot of fun!

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Game of the Year, 2006

Product Information


  • 1 game board
  • 75 rangers
  • 5 airplanes
  • 5 scoring markers
  • 5 player board
  • 42 cards
  • 24 industrialization tiles
  • 24 conservation tiles
  • 44 Australian dollars
  • 1 windmill assembly

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 2.8 in 5 reviews

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So much box - so little payoff
May 06, 2006

I played Australia for the first time at a meeting of a regular game group. When the box opened, I thought, "Ah! A slightly different take on the territory-control theme." And in that regard, I was correct. Australia is, at it's heart a race to control the scoring of the various regions of the board by poplutaing the intersection points with rangers. Rangers can only be placed by moving your plane to a region whose boundary helps form the desired intersection point.

The game also has a limited economy, which is powered by the play of the same cards that allow ranger deployment. Also, there are two ways each region scores - one based on the number of rangers deplyed around the region, and the other based on rangers occupying all of the intersections surrounding a region.

All of this led me to expect a game that would at least yield a rich tactical challenge, and might even need strategic thought to be successful.

WRONG! The outcome of all of these rules, plus the random distribution of cards, plus the relative ease with which any player can place anywhere on the board at any time, leads to a game with many many choices on a turn, but little to no control from turn to turn. This game is essentially a two-dimesional version of NIM (the mathematical game that demonstrates determinism) with a healthy dose of random thrown in. Don't be the person who sets up the player after you to score! Oh, wait, that becomes impossible.

What it boils down to is you have to hope that other players give you more points scoring regions than they give anyone else. Over 2/3 of your points come from other players scoring regions.

At the end of the game, the only person at the table who had played before (over a dozen times) had no idea why he finished in last place (by a 30% margin), and why the winner had won. None of us did.

I suppose chaos won.


Fun and interesting (plus a rules typo)
May 03, 2006

I've played Australia three times now; it's the sort of game that is easy to learn but takes repeated play to master. In your first game you just get the hang of the legal moves and what sort of board positions yield good scores. Later you theorize about what locations are more valuable, such as camps bordering more territories. With experienced players, attempts to thwart your opponents' plans and conceal your own become important.

The game is fundamentally mathematical, so it particularly appeals to me as a computer programmer. The keys to success are optimization and resource allocation.

There is an error to note in the English manual. During setup, the four ranger card piles should be placed face down. The manual says face up in English but face down in the other three languages -- this makes a big difference in the planning and concealing aspect of the game. Also, the piles should contain 8 cards in the introductory game and 9 in the full game (again, only the English version is wrong).

I'd also note that the printing and packaging of the game is quite nice. It's too bad that the translations are inaccurate. Fun game overall.

Australia beats boomerang for return on fun!
January 03, 2006
As a novice player, who gets sucked in to my husband's addictive gaming habits, I tend to view new games with some trepidation. Australia however, passed the muster. I was able to master the play technique with minimal “reading of the rules,” the children [ages 11 & 13] were able to play competitively, and start to finish-the game lasted less than two hours. While my criteria for excellence may differ significantly than those of avid gamers, let me add that the game requires planning, strategy, and satisfies my need to be a bit cutthroat. Anything too pedestrian won’t make it past a second play in our house. Australia can be enjoyed by a wide range of gamers and would be a nice addition to a family game collection as well. If you want a quick return on your investment with a flavor of the Down Under- the Australia game beats a boomerang!

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