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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 70-90 minutes 3-4

Designer(s): Wilko Manz

Manufacturer(s): Kosmos

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Product Description

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.

Product Awards

Spiel des Jahres
Finalist, 1999
Deutscher Spiele Preis
6th place, 1999

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Wilko Manz

  • Manufacturer(s): Kosmos

  • Artist(s): Franz Vohwinkel

  • Year: 1999

  • Players: 3 - 4

  • Time: 70 - 90 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 1,730 grams

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

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.9 in 7 reviews

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James Dean would be proud
July 31, 1999

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.

A Great Game With a Real Theme
March 12, 2001

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.

by Mike
Black Gold... Texas Tea... Neat Bits... Good Game!
January 17, 2001

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.

Just enough strategy and plenty of fun!
November 08, 2000

All the prior reviews give a good description of the game play and beautiful bits. What makes this game great for me, is it is a strategy game that my wife will play.

We have enjoyed playing Giganten with other couples. Giganten is best played with four, and has enough strategy and auction tactics to engage the gamer (me), while being approachable for my wife and visiting friends who are not 'Hardcore Gamers'.

For hardcore gamers, this may not be the best game. But it is fun, and serves as a bridge to even more complex, brain-burning games.

4 Stars and Oil's Well
September 21, 1999

I've played a few hundred different European games over the past three years, and will readily admit to getting just a little blase after game upon game full of beautiful components. I wasn't expecting anything I hadn't seen before when I opened Giganten, but boy, was I suprised. The production values in this game are stunning, from huge board, attractive cards, to detailed plastic game pieces.

The theme here is oil. You prospect for it, drill for it, transport it, store it, and finally try to sell it - all for that elusive commodity, cash! Game turns follow these steps in a rigid sequence of play, turn after turn, until the end of the game. The critical phase of any turn is selecting your action card for the turn. Several are revealed and each player claims one. This card drives the upcoming turn for that player, describing how many movement points they can use, how many sales licenses they are picking up, as well as any special actions they can perform.

Movement points are used in two ways - driving your little pickup truck across the board prospecting for drilling sites, and moving your transport locomotive along the outside edge of the board. The trucks move across a gridded board dotted with face down oil well chips. The underside of the chip may be examined to determine if this oil well is worth developing because some are much better than others in terms of oil yield. To transport the oil off the board economically, your locomotive must stay level with, or move beyond, your oil wells. Thus movement points must be carefully split between truck and locomotive movement.

After movement is performed, players get the opportunity to purchase oil wells. Oil wells yield 1 'barrel' of oil per turn per well, and these barrels are transported off the board for storage in holding tanks in one of three oil companies.

Oil sales are handled via bidding with license cards, which are picked up when you claim your action card for the turn. Only one player can sell oil from each company each turn, and must win the bid in order to sell. Bidding can be very cagey, as the license cards can be of value '1' or '2', and bluffing is allowed. It is a perfectly valid tactic to drive up a bid at one company to weaken a player's hand of licenses. The winner of the bid may sell their oil for the current price at that company (these prices drift from turn to turn via a special dice roll, or via the action cards).

During the game, a special black locomotive is busy chugging along the outside of the board. This servers two functions; one as a potential oil transporter for players who have their locomotive lagging behind their drilling sites; the other as the end of the game trigger. Each turn the black locomotive will advance a variable number of spaces, and when it has travelled the length of the board the game ends immediately. Players are then paid out for oil wells/barrels still on the board, with bonuses based on how far each player advanced their locomotive. Most cash held wins the game.

This game rates three stars for me, with a bonus star for the components. It is a solid design that plays well with no obvious faults. By far the most important decision a player will face during a turn is which action card to choose. This drives the strategy for the rest of the turn, and to be honest it's fairly obvious what you'll be doing. I have no hesitation in recommending the game, but be prepared for the rather regimented turn structure and light game play.

by Dr Jay
Are you sure you want some more crude? (oil, that is)
June 11, 1999

Giganten surprises the gamer with its complexity and its variation. After playing Crude and other stock/oil games over the years, I didn't think a game could be manufactured that would have discovery, stock options, bidding, and transport all rolled into one.

Granted, Giganten offers the gamer at least five different steps in each turn. You have to get used to bidding with oil licenses. First, you draw a card to determine the movement of the black locomotive. Second, you roll the 'specially numbered' die to determine the up or down value of the three different oil companies. Third, you draw five cards from the 'yellow' deck as the starting player. These cards are selected by the other players and you use them to determine movement, up and down values of oil prices, number of licenses given, and movement of locomotives. The rotation of the starting player each turn provides quite a volatile game.

The remaining of the five cards in a four-player game is discarded. Now, the players involve themselves in the oil business. They move only their truck or locomotive or a combination. I started by moving my truck to the first available overturned counter showing one oil derrick. You may stop at each derrick you pass and look under the counter for the number of wells you may drill. Your last stop with the truck is where you will start drilling. Now, let's say you have 8 movement points on your 'yellow card.' You may divide these points, for example, with half going to your colored locomotive and half to your truck. You want to provide movement for the locomotive, because your locomotive has to be either in line with your truck or ahead of your truck for the oil to be transported.

The spirited part of the game then begins with the bidding. You bid for each of the three companies and the ability to place your 'crude' marker on the particular oil company. When the 'crude' markers are removed from your discovered company, they are placed on one or more of the three oil companies, Hudson, Jet, and Standard Oil. You then determine how your license bidding will occur with the other players. The licenses are labeled 1 or 2. Let's say you bid 6 for Hudson to sell some of your oil. Another player bids 7, but that is a bluff. That player has to surrender half of his license cards to the player on the left for his or her inaccuracy in bidding. The highest bid, as you imagined, then sells the oil to the bank, based on the current price, and the number of 'crude' markers. You may run your crude markers beyond the '2' limit in each of three oil companies, anticipating a price killing. However, the additional 'crude' markers are considered overflow and may have to be sold at $1,000 each, because you lost the bid.

Naturally, players try to run up the price in certain of the three companies to make that 'killing.' The player with the highest money wins the game.

In the meantime, what else can happen? Your truck moves through the board and encounters '2' oil red-sided derricks on a counter. That counter cannot be checked, and you have to drill for whatever score is underneath. At one point in the game, I only found '2's' and suffered accordingly, instead of the usual 4's and 5's for 'crude' markers. When you reach the '3' derricks, you may look but have to pay more money to drill. The derrick drilling goes this way: $4,000 for '1' derrick, $6,000 for '2' derrick, and $8,000 for '3' derrick.

The locomotive problem becomes a messy situation. Let's say one player has a card to move back all the locomotives on the board, except his or hers. The locomotive squares are numbered 1's, 2's, and 3's near the end of the board. You could lose a chance to transport the oil to market on your locomotive, because the other player reduced the number of squares your locomotive can operate in. Then, you have to pay the black locomotive (to the bank) or the farthest ahead locomotive $3,000 for the privilege of transporting your oil. Players late in the game enjoy these nasty cards that allow the backward movement of other people's locomotives.

In figuring your money winnings at the end of the game, you may add $1,000 for each 'crude' marker still on the board and in all of the three oil companies. The figures for our four-player game totaled $113,000, $93,000, $54,500, and $52,000 respectively.

One of our players said it was the best oil game he had ever played. Another player voiced how competitive the game was. I know I should have placed more 'crude' markers in Standard Oil when given the chance and tons of licenses to bid for the privilege.

Looks good, but turns out hollow
October 06, 1999

This is a game I really wanted to like. The components look great (and I mean over the top great here), but after a few plays I came to the conclusion that the game just isn't up to spec. It's not bad, mind you - you could certainly do a lot worse - but Giganten just doesn't have a lot to recommend it.

I think there are a couple reasons. First, the game is divided clearly into two almost unrelated parts: drilling for oil and selling oil. The selling oil bit is interesting, as it is essentially a bidding game with some unusual twists. The problem is in the drilling half of the game which is almost completely pointless. There is neither any interesting decision making involved nor any player interaction to speak of.

Throw in some fairly heavy-handed randomness (the wildcat have a big impact on the game, and the action cards that move people's trains backwards are extremely powerful), and the interesting bidding mechanisms are just not interesting enough to make the game as a whole engaging. There isn't enough strategy to make it intellectually engaging, nor enough player interaction to make it fun.

I found the game moderately interesting for the first couple plays, but by plays #3 & #4 I was bored and by play #5 I had no interest in playing again. Not a truly bad game, really, but we have been blessed with such a big selection of excellent games in the past 5 years that Giganten is hard to recommend. A somewhat unusual choice for Spiel des Jahres Nominee, in my opinion.

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