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English language edition

List Price: $50.00
Your Price: $40.00
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(Worth 4,000 Funagain Points!)

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Product Awards:  
Games Magazine Awards
Family Strategy Game Nominee, 2006

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 45+ minutes 3-5

Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

Manufacturer(s): Face 2 Face Games

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Product Description

Hundreds of years ago the heart of Europe was divided. Powerful dukes ruled their duchies from their castles on the banks of the Rhine, and earned a rich income from their wealthy cities. Struggles for power were everyday, and frequently the intervention of the more influential bishops was necessary. Now you have the chance to expand your rule over the Rhine country. Outwit your opponents to expand. Outwit your opponents, and gain more power. Who will become the new ruler over the Rhine?

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Family Strategy Game Nominee, 2006

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

  • Manufacturer(s): Face 2 Face Games

  • Artist(s): William O'Connor

  • Year: 2005

  • Players: 3 - 5

  • Time: 45 or more minutes

  • Ages: 12 and up

  • Est. time to learn: 20-30 minutes

  • Weight: 1,785 grams

  • Language Requirements: Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English. This is a domestic item.


  • 1 game board
  • 55 money tokens
  • 15 wooden black bastions
  • 1 archbishop
  • 26 landmarks:
    • 7 castles
    • 7 churches
    • 12 cities
  • 55 cards
  • 125 wooden knights
  • 35 dukes
  • 7 bishops
  • rules

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.8 in 4 reviews

Sorry, but I like this game!
April 16, 2000

I often have to defend my liking this game and pretty much everything about it. I think this is because Rheinlander has some quintessential Knizia characteristics which I appreciate very much but, I must admit, often annoy others.

Since other reviews have thoroughly explained the rules, I'll just make some comments on the game in general. What most appeals to me is the ease of play. Although the rules and the scoring are somewhat complicated, the player's actual move is extremely simple. Each player plays one card out of his/her hand and places a knight on that spot along the river Rhein. Play moves quickly from one person to the next, so there's no time-killing counting out of various moves like in Tikal, or endless staring at possible action cards like in El Grande. Of course, Rheinlander doesn't have the complexity of these two giants. It's sort of a more humble, more fun little brother of that genre. As for the Knizia-isms... the calculation of the final scores often reveals a surprise winner. I find this cool, since sometimes it's me! But many people I've played with were disappointed that they couldn't tell exactly what position they were in all the time. Also typical of Knizia, the standard game-playing-with-a-hammer, single-minded takeover approach is not generally rewarded. A defensive, flexible strategy is usually more successful. I like this, since I often prefer to play that way. Knizia is also not afraid to let luck play a role in a board game. Here the cards you get often limit larger strategic projects. But even if you're not winning, you can do a lot to change the balance of power on the board. I think a lot of the nay-sayers miss this nuance in the game.

I find Rheinlander to be pleasant and challenging. It's also lots of fun just trying out different and unexpected moves! My only complaint is that the game ends just when some conflicts are starting to develop. I wish it would go on just a tiny little bit longer! For those of you who are looking for a longer game or more direct conflict, you might try Rheingold. When the opposition to Rheinlander grows too powerful I'm always happy to switch to that other battle on banks of the Rhein.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Coulda been a contenda!
September 30, 1999

First and foremost, buy this game. The theme of becoming the dominant ruler of the Rhine river valley, using very nice components, and a very strategic player interaction ingredient, makes this game a winner. However (yes, the other shoe falls), members of our group had some reservations.

The simplicity of play belies the intricacies of strategy involved. Players claim territory along the banks of the Rhine river by placing a knight on a numbered space which corresponds to a card played. Two or more adjacent areas create a duchy, whereby a duke is placed to show control. The more duchies you control, the more points you earn, and hence, victory. The grand strategy employed involves the placement of the knights, in that, literally, majority rules. If you can connect a duchy with a neighboring duchy, the player with the majority of knights in the new large duchy takes control. The point shifts can be very drastic due to a variety of realms attached to various areas which garner bonus points, and in the case of the church, add bonus abilities. Lots of fun and surprising takeovers inspire motives for revenge for later in the game. A real kicker is, when you lose a duchy the bank pays you the value of the duchy in victory points! The game ends when one player runs out of knights. The game can easily be played within an hour.

The bad part is, that it can easily be played within an hour! You just start to get your juices flowing, and really getting into play, and the game ends! Also, our groups naysayers did not like the randomness of knight placement the cards provided, and felt that players fortunate to control a high point realm in the beginning of the game have an unfair advantage. But, the biggest disappointment was the feeling of a fabulous game in here somewhere, and determining what is missing, or needs to be changed to make it one of the greats from Mr. Knizia. Maybe with repeated play a solution can be found, but regardless, as is, I really like this game.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Conquer the Rhein valley -- a job well done.
July 09, 1999

Rheinlander is an interesting new board game about controlling duchies on the Rhein. To accomplish this control, players place knights on the board. Knights can be placed on spaces in two ways - you can hold a card for the numbered space on which you wish to play the card or you can reinforce an existing knight by playing a knight next to one of your existing knights. (There are more rules regarding placement, but this gives the gist.) Whenever two or more knights of the same or multiple knights (again simplifying here) are contiguous, a duchy is formed and the person with the largest number of knights in the duchy places a duke to show ownership. As the game progresses, one can merge two duchies, attempt to wrest control of a duchy from another player, etc. Whenever a player loses control of a duchy, that player receives points for the duchy. Also, duchies held at the end of the game receive points. There are also cathedrals and cities and castles that one can control along with a duchy and these give extra bonuses. Castles hold an extra knight; cathedrals can help you become the archbishop, which is worth points at the end and means you can convert knights to your cause in certain conditions; cities are just extra points given out at the end or to the player who loses control of a duchy when control of a duchy is wrested from another player. All in all, a fairly complex game that plays quickly and well. More kudos to Dr. Knizia for such a fine game.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.

Show all 4 reviews >

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