Drunter & Drüber
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The people of Schilda are building a new town. Up to now they've only completed the crazy buildings that they think will make their town famous. Still missing are the town walls, streets and river.
Each player takes on the role of one of the Schildans, and tries to preserve as many as possible of one type of building. Each type of building is represented five times on the board. The nearer a building is to the centre of the board, the higher its value.
Town walls, streets and the river tiles will be laid onto the board during the course of the game. This will cause some of the crazy buildings to be covered over. Each player tries to ensure that the five squares containing his particular type of building remain uncovered. To help him he has the help of other inhabitants of Schilda, which he receives in the form of a set of cards.
I recently blew $200 here at Funagain on 13 different games, and I have to say that out of the whole lot, Drunter & Druber is my favorite (with Ohne Furcht und Adel coming in a close second).
The game is incredibly simple, but at the same time leaves a lot of room for scheming and strategizing. (Read the blurb above for the general plot.) Each player starts with a number of single, double, and triple-length tiles that (s)he can use to extend the city's road, river, or two city walls. The board is scattered with 5 different instances of 6 different buildings, and each player is secretly assigned one building type that (s)he must try to defend. On your turn, you may extend either of the walls, or the road, or the river with your tiles, and then move the 'builder' pawn to the end of your addition, designating the end of the line where further extentions must be placed.
Usually, you have no control over where other players place their tiles, aside from trying to surreptitiously veer lines away from your buildings, unless someone proposes to build over one of the town's precious outhouses, at which point it goes to a vote. The players begin the game with an identical assortment of vote cards, ranging from 'Jaaa!' (whose 3 a's make it worth 3 positive votes) to 'Neee!' (which gets 3 negative votes from its 3 e's), plus the wild 'Jeein!' card (which can count for either 2 positive or 2 negatives) and the '...?' card (neutral). Everyone casts their vote simultaneously, all the vote cards (except '...?') get discarded, and if there are more negative votes than positive, the tile does not get played. When all the players pass consecutively, either because they can't make any legal moves or they just don't want to, the game ends, and everyone tallies up their score from their remaining buildings on the map.
Don't let the German origins of this game dissuade you; the English rules that Funagain encloses are very well-written, and the only German in the entire game is on the above-mentioned vote cards, which are so blatantly clear that you will never need to refer to the rules to remember what they mean. There's a little more German on the optional cards for the 'Expert Mode' version of the rules, but again these are simple enough that you can look them up once and never need to again.
In our most recent game, we played with the maximum four players. I and the other male in the game were neck-and-neck the entire time, until the very end, when my sweetly meek girlfriend ended up the winner, since her lack of protest when one of her buildings was bulldozed early in the game led everyone to think that no-one had gotten that type. It was awesome, and I definitely won't get sick of playing this anytime soon.
As an old SNL fan, my favorite Steve Martin line was, 'I'm a wild & crazy guy!' It is the perfect sentiment for 'Drunter & Druber'. First though, a small clarification on the name of the game itself. The literal translation in german is Above & Below, which has absolutely no relevence to the game at all. So, I happen to work with (true story!) a 6 ft. German Showgirl! I showed her the game and asked what's with this name. She cleared it up immediately. Used in the context of the game, the name in german would be, Topsy Turvy! EXACTLY WHAT THE GAME IS!! It is a wild, outhouse covering, UN-building game of roads, waterways, and walls. Keep your secret buildings safe, you win.
Every turn, a player places a tile on the board, adding on to an exsisting piece. Sometimes this will cover set buildings on the board, sometimes not. Where the true fun of this game comes from, is when an outhouse is covered. Each player must vote on whether this is a good thing or not. As a player you must vote 'yes' or 'no' to varying degrees. This is where your poker skills come in. Depending on how strongly you vote either way, tips your hand as to what your 'secret' buldings are. After all tile-placing areas have been exhuasted, players total up the value of their uncovered building with high score winning.
What I truly enjoy about this game and why I highly recommend it is the simplicity of rules. New gamers will pick it up very quickly and play can begin almost immediately. Players will groan, wring their hands, laugh, and cheer on the voting as everyone tries to second-guess who owns what buildings. This is not a deep, thought provoking game. It IS a great after dinner party game. Colorful graphics, clean gameboard, and minimal pieces make it very visually exciting and most importantly, FUN! Buy this game!
This game is a tile playing game that is a little similar to Wildlife Adventure. There are 3 types of tiles - walls, earth, and water. Each tile covers either 1, 2, or 3 spaces on the board. For your turn, you get to play a single tile on the board. There are some spaces on the board that you want to keep uncovered, and other spaces that you wish to cover up. Of course, your opponents want to protect/cover up different spaces than you do - that's what makes it interesting. The rules come with 2 versions of the game - I have always preferred the 'variant' or alternate version. While many games need 3 or 4 players to make them interesting, this game plays just as well with 2 players as it does with 3 or 4.
This is a very funny game, if you like German humor. I first heard of it from my (German) wife and I must say that I thought she was pulling my leg about the whole outhouse thing. Anyhoo, she said I'd love it, she ordered it, and we've played it with my 8-year-old daughter and had a blast! It has very simple rules with remarkable depths (you can't just build wherever you can--the building crew idea means you really have to plan ahead), and by golly you'd better have a good poker face. (Which I don't, which means I'll get trounced pretty much every time I play, but that's the way the cookie crumbles.)
So, funny, wacky theme, the kids can play (if they can learn to hide their disappointment when they lose a building), it's quick, and it'll remind your German significant other of home. Highly recommended.
Drunter & Drber is a normal game with a crazy theme. Once you get past the idea of laying rivers and roads over buildings that already exist, voting on whether toilets can be covered by tiles, and the totally wacky illustrations, this game becomes a tactical tile-laying game with a simple theme: keep the tiles from covering up your special squares.
I got a huge drubbing the first time I played this game and had all but my lowest-value building covered, but still I had a good time. I think that's what this game's biggest asset is - it's so crazy that you simply have to have fun.
Drunter & Drber doesn't give much scope for strategy in a four-player game; this is probably different with only two players. Having secret missions - the type of buildings you want to save - makes the game more intriguing as you try to work out what everyone else's agenda is.
This game is totally silly, but nonetheless it's a good way of wasting an hour or two.