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Das Amulett
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Das Amulett

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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 90-120 minutes 3-6

Designer(s): Alan R Moon, Aaron Weissblum

Publisher(s): Goldsieber

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Product Description

Who hasn't wanted to be a real wizard? No training necessary--here the players are already experienced magicians. A contest to find the greatest wizard is initiated and the winner is the one who first finds all the jewels for his amulet, thereby filling it with its magical powers. To ensure that no one has an unfair advantage, they have decided to perform the search together. The new High Wizard should not only be a good conjurer, he must also be wise and able to get along with the people of the land. The use of magic during the competition has therefore been strictly regulated. Not only will the spells lose their effect after short time, they have also agreed to limit the number of spells allowed. And to top it all off, the wizards must still bargain for the desired jewels with the locals as if they were common hucksters! Since the players must economize, they must achieve a fine balance between what is to their own advantage and what is necessary for the common interest for all players. A hard school for budding High Wizards!

Product Awards

Spiel des Jahres
Finalist, 2001
Deutscher Spiele Preis
10th place, 2001

Product Information

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.3 in 3 reviews

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Das Amulett redux
November 22, 2001

A correction to my earlier review, Das Amulett did make it to finalist status for the 2001 Spiel des Jahres. This definitely makes it a contender, so the title of my former review should rightfully have been 'Shoulda been a winnah!'

Also, I would like to note that the spell cards have a lot of German text on them, but not to worry. There are icons at the bottom of each card that give an indication of its use. After a single game, these icons will become second nature and the game will flow very smoothly. My wife and I, after only two playings, never had to refer to the supplied reference translation sheet at all.

Carcassonne good. Das Amulett great. 'Nuff said.

This shoulda been a contender...
November 13, 2001

Das Amulett was one of three Moon/Weissblum designs that were nominated for the 2001 Spiel des Jahres award, one of the most prestigious awards given in the game field. While Carcassonne went on to sweep up the award, Das Amulett did not even make it to being a finalist, despite being the better game.

Das Amulett is an unusual game built around a couple different auction mechanisms. The idea of the game is that the players are sorcerors trying to complete magical amulets by owning either seven different gems, or eight of any combination of colors. Getting the stones is the trick!

Each round of the game is played in a set of four phases, which gives a slightly processional feel to the game, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The classic El Grande is built around the same system of phases, and it is one of the great games of our time. Here, there are only four phases per turn, which keeps the game moving along at a good pace.

The first phase of each turn has a number of spell cards auctioned off. The cards provide either income (in the form of metal cards), some special ability, or both. There is quite a variety to the spells available, and there is a subtlety to seeing which cards work well together. As an example, one card might provide a set of Iron cards, while another allows Iron cards to be considered 'Wild,' and therefore useful in any auction. This can be VERY handy.

The auction is unique in that each player has extremely limited supplies with which to bid. Players have ten energy stones, which are used only for bidding on spells. The winner of each once-around-the-table auction gets the spell, and places their bid on the card. At the end of each turn, one or two stones are retrieved from each spell, available for further bidding. This also gives a lifespan to each card, since cards without energy stones are discarded.

The effect of this is that powerful spells will often be in the game for several turns, but the player will have fewer resources with which to bid on other spells, which evens out the game nicely.

The next phase allows the players to take their income in metal cards, based on the spells they have. This phase is very short, with very little decision-making necessary.

The third phase is the turf portion of the meal, so to speak, with the spell auction being the surf. A marker is moved from region to region on the board, each of which starts with two or three randomly chosen gems. The winner of each auction decides which region will be moved to next. There are between three and six auctions each phase and the metal cards are used to bid for the jewels. The terrain of each region determines which metal can be used for bidding, but spell cards can change this considerably. The winner takes a jewel of her choice and moves the marker to the next area for the next jewel auction until all for the round have found new homes.

The final phase merely sees each player taking energy stones back from their spell cards and discarding spent spells. Wash, rinse, repeat until there is a winner.

The game is perhaps a bit gaudy, with its brightly colored gems and the stark contrast of the terrain on the board, but it seems to work for this title. Goldsieber seems to like using interesting stylistic choices for their games, such as the aboriginal art of Wongar as compared to the subtle water colors of [page scan/se=0023/sf=category/fi=stockin.asc/ml=20]Mississippi Queen. It's an artistic choice, and therefore not to everyone's taste.

The gameplay, on the other hand, is exemplary. While not a brainburner of a game, there is definitely a lot of room here for strategy. Deciding which spells to bid on and how much to spend can be exceedingly tricky.

I highly recommend this game. While not of classic stature, it is a game that should make it to the gaming table frequently.

Well balanced game
July 23, 2001

I played Das Amulett 3 times (with 3 or 4 other friends), and every time it ended up being a very close match among at least 3 or 4 of us. The game is well balanced, and all players have their own highs and lows throughout the game. A good combination of spell cards for a few rounds can really turn the game over!

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