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The object of the game is to collect many valuable Circus cards to achieve the highest points score. In the course of the game, cards with circus attractions are displayed in one row in the middle of the table. On his turn, a player chooses and takes a card from the row, either into his hand, or to form a Trio for bonus points. Before selecting his card the player may, if he wishes, draw cards and add them to the row in order to improve his choices. However, if he draws an attraction which is already in the row, he forfeits his right to take a card. The game ends when one player succeeds in staging a Gala Show, with one Circus card from each attraction!
This quick game which is very easy to learn can even be played with just two players. The mechanics of the game are simple and because it is short I tend to play several games in a row.
We have played Zirkus Flohcati for three months now--not constantly, but many, many times! ...and it has more than lived up to the great first impression it made. As expected, it does play as well for four or five as for three players. The Gala Show doesn't win every hand--sometimes we even get to the bottom of the deck without anyone declaring it--but on the hands where the Gala Show is declared, it seems to win about three times out of four.
For a quick strategy game filled with moans, groans, laughter and grins, you can't beat it!
We played this last night for the first time with just three players and found it quite good! Since it's difficult to find a card game that works well with exactly three players, this is impressive. And although we haven't actually seen it in action yet, we expect it'll work just as well with four or five.
There is a resemblance here to a couple of other Reiner Knizia card games, Lost Cities and Digging, in that the game consists of going through a deck of cards just once and seeing how well you can score while that's happening. Zirkus Flohcati is different, though, in that the game can be ended long before the deck is exhausted by announcing a 'Gala Show'--at least one card in your hand of all ten of the colors in the deck. In our limited experience, we found that the player with the Gala Show won every time, whether announced early or late in the run through the deck.
Amassing the Gala Show is not especially difficult--but you have to compare its value of 10 points to the 10 points also available for playing a Trio (three cards of different color but same number). But once you've played a Trio to the table, its cards can no longer be used in your Gala Show and no longer score at the end of the game, as do all the cards still in your hand (including the Gala Show).
One nice thing about this game is that the things that score--Trios, the Gala Show, the high number of each color in your hand at game's end--are very simple concepts that can be grasped by anyone who knows how to count. So the game can be played and won by very young players, even while the strategies involved are interesting enough for more experienced gamesters.
Another nice thing is that the ten colors can actually be told apart with very little difficulty--something we don't always find in a German game with a mere five or six colors!
By the way, the Games magazine review is erroneous in one detail. When you are drawing and displaying cards from the deck, you have the right to take any one of those cards into your hand up until the point when you draw a card that matches a color already in the display--as opposed to one that matches a number already in the display.
In conclusion, let me say that Zircus Flohcati is a fun, colorful, and quick game which not only fills 15 spare minutes admirably but also just begs to be replayed!
This game reminds me of Bohnanza in spirit, if not in play. Another fine Reiner Knizia game, each player is trying to collect circus performers. Performers come in 10 different colors and each color has values 0-7. If a person gets a trio of a number, she can elect to put them down for 10 points. Also, you get points at the end of the game for the highest number of each color in your hand. Quick and clever and fun.
This is a very good game for teens and preteens. That is not to say adults will not enjoy it. You are trying to get high numbered cards in as many of ten suits as possible. You get a bonus if you have a card in each suit and there are ways to get points with your extra cards obtained during the game. During your turn you may turn over as many cards as you want as long as you do not turn over a suit already showing (bad) or an action card (good). If you choose when to stop you then take any one card showing to your hand. All in all pretty simple and fun.
To meld or not to meld? That is one of many questions in this fast-as-a-human-cannonball card game. You collect circus acts from a deck containing sets of 10 attractions, each on cards numbered zero to seven, and several action cards. The first player turns over cards from the draw pile, free to stop at any time and take any revealed card. Subsequent players may take an already exposed card or turn over more. The appearance of a duplicate number ends the turn with nothing gained; an action card also finishes it, when its instructions are obeyed. Trios of cards of similar value may also be discarded at the end of turns to ensure 10 points at the finish, but take care: Highest values of suits in hand also score, with lesser cards ignored. It ends when the deck is depleted, or one player with all 10 attractions declares a profitable "Gala Show." There is plenty to see in this lively little act!