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Players compete to earn the most money in the world of Oil Exploration. Players explore the oil fields with their trucks and decide whether to establish oil rigs on the sites they find. Each established well produces one barrel of oil per day, which must be transported back to the refineries via rail line or it will be lost. Since the rail line gradually extends across the board throughout the game, transporting any oil found beyond the current range of the rail line is more costly. Money is earned by selling the oil to one of the three oil companies, but the price is always fluctuating, and each company will only make one purchase per round, so players compete to sell in an auction. The game ends when the public rail line reaches the far side of the board, at which time each player earns a bonus for the value of his remaining oil wells, and the development of his rail line. Adding this to the money each player has earned through oil sales, the player with the most money wins the game.
Giganten (Giant) provides an excellent evening of gaming into the world of oil. Like my 1974 MB King Oil, it is a visually appealing game with a large game board, colorful playing pieces, (trucks, trains, oil rigs) and easy to read cards. Each player attempts to amass the most money through three 'phases', exploration (moving your truck accross the board to oil sites), development (building rigs, and providing transport to the refineries with your train) and bidding (selling of your oil at the three refineries). Players can stymie their opponents through card play, i.e. drive back their trains, but as everyone can see what cards are chosen, you can usually counter that attack.
The most dramatic phase of the game is in the bidding. This delevops into an intense 'poker room' feel as your 'Licenses' as kept secret. Get caught bluffing and you will pay dearly.
The adage 'money is like manure,... it doesn't do any good unless you spread it around' truly defines the strategy of 'Giganten'. While prices at the three refineries fluctuate widely, it is good foresight to store oil at all three refineries. Going for the financial 'kill' at the highest selling refinery will not win over a balanced bidding attack at all three refineries.
'Giganten' is for any gamer that enjoys a 'poker room' feel to his/her game night without getting covered in crude.
Anyone familiar with German games knows that, in most cases, the theme is as important to the game as the type of paper the rules are written on--the list of games (even great ones) that fit that description is too large for me to write here. Giganten is a nice change of pace, as the theme permeates what is a delightful game.
I won't go into the mechanics of the game, as they are well-documented here. I will just say that playing the game is a tactile treat, with the chunky plastic pieces. I must admit that I was somewhat less than impressed with the cardboard oil site chits, however; they could have easily been made of that same chunky plastic!
Once the players understand the order of events the beauty of the game appears. The 'exploration-drilling-production-sales' turn structure allows the game's theme to shine through. If you don't feel like an oilman during the play of the game, you must have a hole in your soul!
I give the game 4 stars rather than 5 because of its length. Each time I've played the game it has taken nearly two hours for the black train to reach the end of the track. A theme, even as engaging as Giganten's, can only hold one's full attention and entertain for so long.
Even with that quibble, however, I do enjoy the game and heartily recommend it.
The most impressive thing about Giganten is the bits. Part of the Kosmos 'Spiele Gallerie' line, the bits are impressive. There are little oil derricks, a little molded train for each player, a neat molded dumptruck, a very thick game board, and little stock cards for everyone (hint: read the cards... it's very funny). The bits alone are impressive enough to make me like the game.
On to the game play... first note that this is not a language intensive game and the rule translation is very good. The rules are straightforward and the game mechanic is clean and straight forward if not a little regimented.
The object of the game is to get the most money at the end of the game. This is accomplished by moving your truck to an oil derrick tile (prospecting), paying for the oil that you find and erecting an oil well (excavating), having the oil produced and sending it to the market on your train (transporting), and selling your oil at market from the oil reserves of one of three oil conglemerates (selling).
This entire process is carried out in turn order and is accomplished by the choosing of cards that allow you to allocate certain resources... similar to Lowenherz, and has been described in other reviews.
Anyway, the mechanic is very clean but can be passionless depending on the group that you are playing with. The only other complaint is that the oil is discovered randomly, which can sometimes disrupt the balance of the game.
This is a game that I would give three stars to if playing with rather shy and reserved gamers, and four with a more competitive group.
Overall I like the game, and will play it again once in while. Recommended.
Compete to become wealthy by drilling, shipping, and selling oil in this simulation of the boom-or-bust Texas economy of the 1920s. Players need to successfully manage numerous elements and make very difficult choices throughout. Play starts with gut-wrenching selection of faceup action cards. Then you decide how to allocate movement points between your exploring truck and the train, which must be on time to deliver the oil, thereby avoiding high freight charges. Finally, the intense auctions for the exclusive right to sell oil to one of three companies in a volatile market will have you on edge. These auctions are the real meat of the game, for failure may mean wasted oil and lost profits. Experienced poker players will have an advantage, but they won't necessarily emerge victorious. Oil's well that ends well.
Do you love 'bits'? Are you one of those players who hefts a box before buying a game? If so, then you must check out Giganten.
Giganten is a financial game with added chrome that just happens to have really cool playing pieces. The theme is one of oil exploration, drilling, and selling. To that end, each player gets a nicely detailed plastic truck to explore the oil fields with, a number of derricks to pump up any oil you find with your truck, and a locomotive to haul the oil back with.
The board is a grid, and oil tiles are placed face-down on designated spots. Running along the bottom of the board (with each space on the track corresponding to a row in the grid above) is a set of train tracks with a separate track for each player's train, as well as a track for a black train that functions as the end-of-game determiner. The left half of the board depicts three corporations, with each corporation having one spot for each player's oil. There's also a price list that shows the current price that each of the corporations is paying for oil. Finally, the top of the board has spaces for each of the various types of the cards available throughout the game.
Each turn a number of action cards are flipped over. Each card depicts a number of spaces of movement granted to the player who gets the card, a number of 'licenses' that the player is given, and perhaps a special action (more a players train backwards, adjust oil prices, etc). Starting with the first player, each player chooses an action card. One of the cards will move the black train a certain number of spaces -- when the black train reaches the end of the track (how wonderfully metaphorical) the game is over.
The movement points that a player gets are split between moving his oil-surveying truck and his oil-hauling train any way he likes. Players move their truck around the board -- when a player is adjacent to an upside-down oil token, he may sneak a peek at it. The tokens are numbered from 1 to 5, so he then decides if he wants to drill for the oil. He then pays the stated price to drill. Some of the tokens are red -- these can only be drilled site unseen, so they're a bit of a gamble. A player may also choose to move his train. A player can only haul oil from a derrick if his train is at least as far along the track as the derrick is. Any oil not shipped is spilled (shades of the Valdez here) and wasted. A player can force another player or the black train to ship his oil, but must spend a fixed fee for the privilege.
If a player builds a derrick, he places under it a number of plastic 'oil units' (they're like thin black plastic Legos that snap together) equal to the worth of the site. Each turn, each oil well that still has pieces under it will produce one unit of oil; unsnap one of the black plastic pieces from under the derrick and transport it. Each of the three companies has a storage tank for each player. A player can store oil in any or all of the companies, but at the end of the turn each storage tank can only hold two units of oil, so it you don't sell your oil some of it might 'spoil'.
At the start of each turn, a die roll is made for each company that can send the buying price of oil for that company up or down. In addition, special action card items can affect the buying price of oil. Starting with the first company and working down, players bid on the right to sell oil to that company using the afore-mentioned licenses. A player may bid more licenses that she has in her hand, but if she's caught (i.e., if she wins the bid but can't pay for it) then she loses half of her licenses and the next-highest bidder gets it. The winner can sell as many units of oil to the company as she has in storage at that company's tanks.
So that's it. Each turn sees everyone zipping around the oil field, trying to find big oil strikes while making sure that their train is in position to haul it back. In the mean time, you're also trying to maintain the balance between movement point and licenses so that you can win some auctions and sell some oil. The bad part about the oil auctions is that there's no 'second place' -- each turn only one person per company will sell oil, so it's quite easy to get shut out, making no money and possibly having your oil spoil in storage. All the while, the dreaded black train chugs relentlessly on, drawing you closer to the game's end. It's a strange amalgamation of systems, but they all come together nicely. Each turn sees each player performing some action at various times, so there's not much down time. The balance seems to be dead-on.
If you like business games or just games with 'neat bits', then you'll enjoy Giganten. Recommended.