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Store:  Card Games, Family Games
Edition:  Landlord! / Wucherer!
Theme:  Real Estate
Format:  Card Games


English language edition--2nd edition

Funagain Games does not stock this edition of this title [], but it may be available in another edition. Try: Friese's Landlord

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Ages Play Time Players
10+ 20 minutes 2-6

Designer(s): Friedemann Friese

Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Abacus

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Product Description

Build apartment houses, rent them to tenants, and collect the rent. Sounds simple, but in Landlord every card gives you two options for play: one side is an apartment, the other has tenants, roofs (gotta have those when you build), cellars, renovations, and special actions. Move the wealthy tenants to your apartments and put the deadbeats in your opponents'. You can even bomb apartments, but don't get caught: jail awaits those who are careless!

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Friedemann Friese

  • Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Abacus

  • Year: 2001

  • Players: 2 - 6

  • Time: 20 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 190 grams

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.9 in 11 reviews

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Beware! Once you know the rules, you won't stop playing!
July 20, 2003

This game is one of the most unique that I've ever played. The mechanics are a little funky to understand at first, due to a so-so rule book, but once you learn it, you can't stop playing. Truly great fun. They should do a colorized version! (a la Guillotine)


The best card game ever!
October 27, 2002

Although I usually don't like games that are largely based on luck, this game is definitely the exception. Not only do I love the game, but everyone I've showed the game to has loved it too. It's easy to learn, has a great theme, and is fun with any number of players. If your concerned about crude graphics that a lot of reviewers are complaining about, worry not. They have been cleaned up in the second edition of the game.

Fun game.
December 12, 2000

This game merits a perfect score because it achieves what it sought out to do. It is designed as a short, humorous game that can provide entertainment for both many and few. The graphics on the cards may offend some people, but I found them hilarious. Furthermore, the game actually has a solid design that can provide for good replayability. For its genre, it is one of the best. I would definitely recommend purchasing this game.

Landlord is fun, original, and addictive!
November 14, 1999

If you are looking for an origianl card game, this one delivers. Sure, some of the graphics are not in everyone's taste, but that shouldn't stop people from experiencing this unique game. If you do feel offended by the graphics, it would be easy enough to create your own rendition of some of the cards, as use those instead.

The game does have a surprising amount of strategy involved. Since you can only use one side of each card, you have to decide carefully which cards you will use to build your apartments. By having to purchase extra cards, you have to decide whether it's better to put the money away (increase your score) or buy more cards in the hopes of increasing your rental income for the next round... though having high rental income does make you the victim from other player's Moves, Evictions, Bombs, and Murder cards. So you better have some defensive cards around to help you out. (Police, Lunatics, or even Brokers).

I enjoy the amount of interaction that occurs during each round, as any player's apartments can be played against. This does help to keep people in game when it's not their turn. You never know which tenants be left in your apartments when your next turn starts.

Overall, I would say that Landlord is a very playable, addictive game. Full of strategy and fun game play. As the game says, it's not 'politically correct', but that doesn't stop it from being a good game. Definitely one of my top 10!

by Tonya
Adults Only!
July 15, 2001

This is a great little card game. Once again, I have found a game that is addicting. The price is unbeatable, but the graphics are risque. I enjoyed playing this with friends. Thanks for another great game! Although, I would recommend watching your rent money, as the game ends faster than you think... maybe a second deck would be recommended?

Tis Good I Like.
July 11, 2001

If you have a sense of humor, this game is great. Sure, the artwork isnt for everyone, but who wants to play a game which involves murder and bombing with the kids anyway? It's a clever resource-management game. This game is highly recommended if you are looking for a fun, diabolical, quick card game. Plays in about 30 minutes.

Fun to play and to replay -- isn't that what counts?
January 11, 2001

I have mixed feelings about Landlord. But one important test of a game is how often one feels like playing it, and by that standard, Landlord ranks extremely high among my game collection.

Each Landlord card (except the jail card) has two sides. On one side is a picture of the exterior of an apartment. On the other is either a type of roof or cellar, a particular tenant, or an action ('move,' 'demolish,' 'bomb,' etc.) On your turn, you can choose to play a roof and a few apartment-side cards to create a building, and move tenants into those buildings by placing them on top. Or you can use your action cards to engage in other ploys.

As should be evident, part of the strategy is figuring out whether a particular card is worth more to you for what is on its front, or whether it's best used as apartment material.

Each type of tenant has their foibles. Some are very picky about the size of the place that they will live in (for example, one story only) and thus you can't stack them all in one building, you have to play more 'roofs.' Some types of tenants won't live with other kinds. And squatters don't pay rent at all (try to stick them in your opponents' buildings).

The gaming problem is to maximize the value of your cards to collect rent. You can take the rent in dollars or, effectively, in new cards. For most of the game, you'll find yourself doing the latter, because the more cards you have, the more rent you can collect at the game's end, and the more ways that you can inflict damage on your opponents, or defend yourself against their actions against you.

At the margins, it's possible to get very unlucky--for example, to lack roofs with which to build buildings. Or to lack tenants to place in them. More typically, you'll have a mix of cards. And often, if you don't have tenants of your own, this means you have different kinds of cards that enable you to get your opponents' tenants into your buildings.

I find the gaming problem to be genuinely interesting, and the fun variety in the cards and tenants makes each game experience different. It's not a trivial task to optimize your resources, and you'd better do it, because if you fall behind early, it's very hard to catch up. My girlfriend and I now each have hardened opinions about which tenants we like best (we're both fond of getting the 'pensioner' at this stage, since he pays good rent but doesn't take up much room). I also love getting the 'broker' card and believe those to be among the most valuable in the deck.

In general, I think it's fairly well balanced--it's frustrating to lack certain kinds of cards, but the others often present compensating opportunities. Thus it's not immediately evident who is going to win; that will be determined by skill.

Now let me discuss a few of the game's potential flaws;

  1. One test of how much a game rewards skill versus luck is in whether the more skilled player usually wins, or whether it's pretty much a random distribution. Over the first twenty games or so that we played, I was ahead of my girlfriend in understanding how to optimize my card play, but it appears that she's caught up to me, and the loser of each game is now more frequently the one who seems to get the inferior cards. We may be at a point from which we don't have much further to go in terms of developing new strategy (I have really only one new strategic idea to try out right now) and if that's the case, and it simply becomes a crapshoot, we'll lose interest. On the positive side, the game clearly rewards skill if there is a significant difference between the two players. We hope that it's simply the case that we're evenly matched now and that it's up to each of us to improve our skills. But my best guess is that instead luck will determine the winner more often than not from here on out.
  2. The rules are not free of ambiguities. At first we weren't certain whether creating buildings, moving in tenants, and playing action cards, had to be done sequentially--or whether you could simply do them in any order, subject to whatever benefits you the most. Originally we stuck to the order in the directions but ultimately decided that you can play cards in whatever order you wish. This has an enormous impact on the results of the game, and the rules aren't absolutely clear on these points. This is but one example--there are several instances where the rules don't settle an issue with absolute certainty, and it's up to the players to figure out the 'spirit' of the rules.
  3. The racy drawings. I happen to like the art on the cards, and think that it adds to the fun of the game. It is undoubtedly somewhat subversive, though, in the spirit of a Robert Crumb comic. I think the estimate of 40% of the cards being offensive is a bit overstated--there are really only two that we found to be R-rated: The 'alibi' card (I assume that the alibi is an orgy) and the 'student' card (the student is clearly viewing internet pornography). The 'family' card is definitely a bit sinister because of the bruises on the faces of the wife and child, but frankly, most people and certainly most kids aren't going to look close enough to note the implications. My girlfriend and I are conservative in most senses of the word and we were not offended by this game--I actually find many of the drawings rather amusing, and I think the art adds to the irreverent spirit of the game. It does, however, limit the audience for the game; don't give it to small kids. But there's no real reason why adults should be bothered.
  4. It takes a few plays to get into the swing of the game. I don't think it's great for a first-time player, as the rules are not so intuitive that they are instantly understood. That is to say, this is terrific for replay, but if you lose your regular playing partners for any reason, they won't be quickly replaced.

Right now Landlord is getting more play than any other game in our collection (Lost Cities had that title for some time), and at the moment, I find the 'problem' more interesting in Landlord. That may fade if we conclude that the role of luck is taking over too completely, but it's my feeling that the game represents genuine fun and variety. I'm looking forward to the next time I play it with an enthusiasm that is fairly unusual for my collection, and I think that this is the true test of the worth of a game.

by Fitz
Good Cut-Throat Fun
March 19, 2000

Our group played this for the first time and it was an immediate hit. Even after a full evening of Settlers, Risk, Bohnanza and Lost Cities, everyone kept asking for more Landlord.

We played in groups of three and then six. The game changes greatly. With three players you will build, and lose, more buildings. With six, you build fewer and hold onto them.

There is good strategy involved, from building height to the type of tenents you keep. Choosing to use a card for either a building or to play is a nice switch as well as the fact you have to buy your cards out of your rent money. After a few games, we kept a better eye on our cash as the games can be a very close race.

A good, quick game.
November 30, 2000

This is one of those games like Chez Geek you can just play over and over again in a rapid fashion, and people don't get tired of it.

You use the cards in your hand to construct apartments which you can place all kinds of whacky tenants in to earn money and try to win the game.

If you end up with an undesirable tenant, you can use a multitude of cards to kick them out. You can also place some undesirable tenants in other players' buildings to force them to lose money as their other tenants move out.

Some people might be offended by the nature of the cards (i.e. you can evict some of your tenants by bombing the entire apartment), but if you look at it from the perspective that it's just a game, it's worth a giggle or two.

Good potential ruined by tasteless graphics
August 16, 1999

Landlord is a clever, rather diabolical game of warring landlords doing every sneaky trick to trap their opponents into losing money--taking undesirable tenants, blowing up buildings, calling the cops and even killing them is kosher, but if you get caught you go to jail. Apart from the Machiavellian theme, the game mechanism is clever, with two-sided cards and fun interaction between landlords. What ruined it for me, and made me get rid of it eventually, were the seedy graphics on the cards, about 40% of which have crude or smutty pictures-an orgy with risque parts blacked out, the student sweating in front of a computer screen showing a full-frontal nude while wiggling his joystick, the 'family' tenant card showing the father holding a baseball bat while his wife and son show bruises on their faces...I don't know who the artist was, but he must have had quite a childhood. This is not a family game, and although some might think I'm being stuffy, the off-color pictures were enough to put this avid gamer off from a pretty cool little game. Too bad.

November 26, 2000

It looks like an incredibly fun game, but unfortunately the cards are so offensive none of my friends will play it with me. I felt horrible for trying to play the game, so I had to auction it off on eBay. If the pictures on the cards weren't so sick, it would probably be a great game.

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