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Hol's der Geier
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Hol's der Geier

1999 German edition

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Product Awards:  
Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 1988

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 20 minutes 2-5

Designer(s): Alex Randolph

Manufacturer(s): Ravensburger Germany

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Product Description

A quick bidding and bluffing game; however, unlike many card games, this is a game of skill and steely nerves. All players start with the same hand. Spiel des Jahres nominee 1988.

Product Awards

Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 1988

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Alex Randolph

  • Manufacturer(s): Ravensburger Germany

  • Artist(s): Wilfried Gebhard

  • Year: 1999

  • Players: 2 - 5

  • Time: 20 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 265 grams

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

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.7 in 7 reviews

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by Dave
Simple elegance in a game and fun!
February 15, 2002

I read that Raj was out of print so when I saw it at a local game store I grabbed it and I'm really glad I did. What a neat game. Everyone has cards numbered 1-15, turn over a tile a nd bid simultaneously. Your strategy doesn't always work but what fun planning it. I'll be playing this in the parlor when I'm old and gray. Maybe then my wife will let me win once in awhile. Great game!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Raj redux
July 10, 2001

I purchased this game several years ago in a differenly named and themed edition called Raj. I was sad when it went out of print, until I learned that this was the exact same game under a different title.

The game is simplicity itself. Each player has an identical set of cards, numbered 1 to 15. There is a set of scoring cards (tiles in Raj) as well, which range in value from a high of 10 down to the horrible -5.

Each turn a score card is turned up, and players make a single card bid for it. In the case of positive numbers, the card is taken by the highest unmatched card. In the case of negative numbers, it is taken by the lowest unmatched card. After all score cards have been taken, the highest score wins.

So, sounds boring, right? It isn't. The whole unmatched mechanic is the key to the game. As an example. If four players all secretly bid their 15 card to win the 10 score card, and one player uses her 1 card, the 1 card player will take that valuable 10 score. This is a game of subtle bluffing and out-guessing your opponent. This is a game with almost as much subtlety and derring-do as a good game of poker.

Highly recommended for those wanting a quick, simple, and classic game.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Bart
What a FUN game--too bad it's out of print!
September 06, 2000

I don't even remeber where I found RAJ, but now that I see it's out of print I'm glad I bought it; I only wish I took better care of the cards!

For my non-gamer friends, this was one game they actually took a liking to. (Well they also like Apples to Apples, but I'm glad they like Raj which let's us 'serious gamers' have fun too!)

I always get calls telling me to bring Raj to the next get-together. We even adapted Raj into a drinking game, making card counting in the latter rounds challenging. :-)

Another review here mentioned a near identical import (Hol's der Geier). I highly recommend getting it!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Simple bidding card game makes for nerve-wracking mind games
February 07, 1999

Raj, by Winning Moves, is a clever bidding game -- with some twists.

Players start each hand with cards numbered from 1 to 15. Fifteen tiles, ranging incrementally from 10 to -5 (with no '0'), are turned upside-down and mixed up. Someone flips over a tile and each player chooses one of his cards as his bid for that tile.

Sounds simple, right? Well, the catch is that, if the tile has a positive value and two or more people tie for the high bid, then the tile goes to the next highest bidder! Of course, if there is a tie for the second-highest bid, then the tie goes to the next highest bidder!

If this tie-breaking formula doesn't work, then another tile is flipped over and players submit a new bid for both tiles. However, if the tile is negative in value, the lowest bidder gets it, with ties forcing it to the next lowest bidder, etc.

The trick in Raj is figuring when to play your highest and lowest cards. For example, if you automatically save your 15 card for the 10 tile, someone else is likely doing the same thing, so the tile will go to someone else. Maybe you should play your 15 card on a 7, 8 or 9 tile if you think you will get it uncontested.

Raj makes for some interesting mind games with your friends, which results in great fun.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Great as an ice-breaker
February 17, 1998
Perfect for 5 players and usable down to 2, it's a fast, fun bidding game in which anticipating your opponents' bids is the winning strategy. Since duplicate bids cancel, it plays well repeatedly with the same players because as everyone adjusts strategies, the unexpected often occurs. Great as an ice-breaker.
Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Enjoyable bidding game for all levels of experience
March 15, 2000

Raj is a simple, clever little game that can be learned in a minute or two and has enough luck invovled so that everyone has a good shot at winning, but there is an element of strategy (remembering who still has their high cards) that gives an edge to the savvy player.

Raj is a great party game--lots of excitement (if you count tying bids that cancel each other out exciting) and satifaction (there is nothing quite like winning the '10' tile with a one or two bid when everone else's high bids cancel).

A variant our group likes is to remove a tile from each round and sum the last two bidding card in your hand for the last (fourteenth) tile each round. The removed tile is returned for the next round.

I do note with some sadness that Winning Moves no longer stocks this game, and I would recommend any serious gamer to pick it up if they see it. Your newbie gamer friends will thank you for it!

Editor's Note: The German game Hol's der Geier has exactly the same game play as Raj, and may be a little easier to find now that Raj is out of print. Since there is no text on the game components, the fact that this is a German edition should not be a barrier to Ebglish-speakers.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
This is a game of pure strategy combined with some chance
December 16, 1999

Our family consists of two teenaged daughters and two parents. This game is pure strategy--you must predict what the other players will do--we enjoy this, but depending on who you play against and how often you play against them, it can become very predictable. The materials are pretty non-descript and bland--the excitement of this game comes purely from the people that you play against.

On the positive side, the rules are simple and explicit; and I truly feel that the game is simple enough in many ways that even a child of five or above could play and enjoy it--of course, strategy not considered.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.

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