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Rette Sich wer Kann
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Rette Sich wer Kann

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Product Awards:  
Deutscher Spiele Preis
5th place, 1994

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 90 minutes 3-6

Designer(s): Ronald Wettering

Manufacturer(s): Walter Mullers Spielewerkstatt

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Product Description

Your ship has struck a reef and is sinking fast. Quick! Run for the lifeboats! If your sailors can make it to an island, they'll survive and you may win. But watch out! Those lifeboats are full of leaks and may sink as well. Also, your fellow shipmates are not very cooperative. Everyone is constantly swimming from one lifeboat to another in the hope of finding a faster, more watertight one. And just when you're sure that everyone has decided what to do, some wise guy pulls rank and orders everyone to do something else.... Well, what did you expect? It's every man for himself!

Product Awards

Deutscher Spiele Preis
5th place, 1994

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Ronald Wettering

  • Manufacturer(s): Walter Mullers Spielewerkstatt

  • Year: 1993

  • Players: 3 - 6

  • Time: 90 minutes

  • Ages: 12 and up

  • Weight: 1,390 grams

  • Language Requirements: Game components are language-independent. An English translation of the rules is provided.


  • 1 gameboard
  • 7 wooden ships
  • 18 captain's hat markers
  • 28 sailors
  • 12 officers
  • 15 leak markers
  • 6 vote wheels
  • 1 log

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.4 in 5 reviews

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Terrific, Unique -- Great Dynamic
July 13, 2002

This is what the home board game of Survivor SHOULD have been! Everyone who plays loves it, very interactive, negotiating and backstabbing but all in good fun. The 'switching life boats' at the end of every turn really makes the game. You and your guests will all be raving about how enjoyable such a simple game can be--ours all were, and everyone wanted to play again next week.

What a hoot!
November 24, 2001

When I first read the description of this game, I thought the concept was brilliant. I only hoped the game itself would do justice to it. I'm happy to say I was not the least bit disappointed.

The only thing you're armed with in this game are your powers of persuasion and penchant for selfishness, as you try to prevail in a struggle for survival, which is deliciously drawn out over many rounds.

EVERYTHING that happens in the game is driven by majority rule, and alliances shift rapidly as everyone scrambles to preserve their own self-interests. There are other games that use voting as their primary driver, but few have the immediacy of consequence as Rette Sich wer Kann.

Be prepared for an evening of loud, boisterous fun that everyone will be talking about for days after the game is over.

Vicious, and that's a good thing
August 05, 1999

Best time to play this: Just before the 'main' game of the day. It will create factions for you, and jump start the enemy-making process.

Don't play this one with Mom or the kids. Save it for your gaming buddies who know to expect the knife in the back (in this game it's getting tossed overboard).

Hog the lifeboats while throwing everyone else to the sharks
February 02, 1999

Your ship has just sunk. There are a certain number of lifeboats, each with a limited capacity. Every player has officers and seamen who must try to fit into these lifeboats.

Each turn, one lifeboat springs a leak. This lowers its carrying capacity by one. If there are too many passengers, one gets thrown to the sharks. Then, one (and only one) lifeboat gets to advance one space towards a safe shore.

What's remarkable about this game is that every move described above is determined by majority vote. As a result, you try to get into lifeboats that are also populated by players who need something from you, like you, or dislike someone else more than you.

This is a game where strategy is second to negotiation. Unlike some heavier negotiation games, however, this scenario leaves you laughing all the way to the bottom of the ocean.

Our casual quartet is not sure how much replay value this game has, but the idea is a lot of fun so far. If you can keep exposing new players to this game, you will probably have more fun.

Are you sure you know who your friends are?
January 19, 1999

Rette Sich wer Kann is democracy at its best. Each player has six tokens (two captians and four mates) who must try to make it to shore on one of several boats before they drown. If you make it, you earn points depending on the island you land on and captains are worth double the mates.

All the movements in this game are based on votes. All players vote (using nicely-designed seceret voting wheels) to see which boat receives a leak, which passenger will be tossed out, which boat moves closer to their shore, etc. Each player can also vote their three 'captain's hats' which gives them absolute authority for that decison just as long as no one else tried the same thing. Deals are made and broken, and the fun part of the game is trying to persude everyone else of a strategy that lets you win!

Not a game for everyone, since it is quite free form and requires good interaction of at least four people (ideally 6) to be the most fun. But, recommended if you like negotiating and matching wits with your friends. Just make sure you have your own ride home!

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