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Store:  Strategy Games
Genre:  Bluffing / Outguessing
Format:  Board Games


Your Price: $29.95
(Worth 2,995 Funagain Points!)

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Ages Play Time Players
12+ 30 minutes 3-6

Designer(s): Bruno Faidutti, Leo Colovini

Manufacturer(s): Winning Moves Germany

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Product Information

  • Designer(s): Bruno Faidutti, Leo Colovini

  • Manufacturer(s): Winning Moves Germany

  • Year: 2001

  • Players: 3 - 6

  • Time: 30 minutes

  • Ages: 12 and up

  • Weight: 552 grams

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

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.5 in 2 reviews

Surprisingly addicitive and good for many gamer types
May 17, 2002

Vabanque is explained in the detailed review above so I won't bore you with in-depth details here. Suffice to say that this game is a winner. It's drawback is that its theme can be a tough sell to many but if you get them into it, by the midway point of the game, everyone will be asking to play again when it's finished. It's simple to teach but very strategic. The classic combination for a great German game. It may not be Chess or E&T but it is a winner in its own right.

Bluffing, bluffing, bluffing - and money!
December 08, 2003

If youve read past reviews Ive written, you know the main reason I acquired Vabaunque (Winning Moves, 2001 Bruno Faidutti and Leo Colovini). Its because the designer, Mr. Faidutti, is my favorite designer, and I have yet to play one of his games I havent extremely enjoyed. The gambling theme intrigued me, and I read online that the game had somewhat of a bluffing factor.

And how did my gamble pay off? First of all, I find it very hard to believe that Bruno designed this game, as none of the chaos that hes famous for is in the game at all. Secondly, the game is just slightly about bluffing but that pretty much sums up the whole game! If you love bluffing games, and dont look for too many other factors to make a game enjoyable you will love this game. If youre not a big fan of bluffing games stay away.

Game mechanics are rather simple. A circle is formed of square casino table tiles, with the amount of tiles (7-12) determined by number of players (3-5). Each player is given a pawn, and four cards of the matching color, one of which is placed face up in front of each person, so that everyone knows what color they are. Piles of chips are placed in the middle of the table, with values 5, 10, 20, and 50. Bills of various denominations, from 5,000 to 500,000, are sorted and placed to the side. One player places their pawn on one of the casino tables, and each other player follows suit, placing their pawn on the second table following. One player starts the first of four rounds.

In the beginning of a round, each player, in turn order, places one of the chips onto any casino table (each table can have multiple chips). In the first round, all the 5 value chips are placed, in the second, the 10, etc. Once all the chips are placed, each player, in turn order, places one of their cards face down at a table, until all players have placed all three of their cards. The three cards a player can play are:

- Raise: For every raise card played at a table, the value of that table is doubled, tripled, etc.

- Cheat: A player who plays a cheat card at a table receives all the payoffs from that table.

- Bluff: This card means nothing, and is only placed as a bluff.

Once all the cards are placed, each player in turn order can move their pawn (they dont have to) up to four tables clockwise. After all pawns are moved, the cards are flipped over, and payoffs occur. Every table that has no pawns at it has its cards removed as nothing occurs at that table this round (the chips, however stay). If a pawn is at a table, payoffs occur. The payoff is 1000 x the value of all the tokens on that table. Every raise card at the table brings up this value and the full amount of this value is paid to every token at that table UNLESS there is a cheater card showing. If there is a cheater card at the table, all players whose tokens are on the table get NO money, and the cheater gets the tables value for EVERY opponents pawn thats there. Each player takes the amount of money equal to their payoff(s), and the game advances to the next round. In the second round, and following turn order starts with the player who has the most money, etc. After the fourth round, the game is over, and the player with the most money is the winner!

Some comments on the game:

1). Components: Very high marks here, as the components are of the highest quality. The chips for the four denominations are superb they are different sizes and colors, and look pretty snazzy. (Of course, they do often lead to a side game of tiddly-winks at the table). The casino table tiles are thick, durable, and have the raise card modifiers printed on them lest one forgets. The money is your typical Monopoly style money, and perhaps a score sheet might have worked better but it gives the theme more credence when money is actually passed around the table. Tiles with numbers are provided to help with turn order in the second through fourth rounds (although the rules suggest changing seats instead). The cards are nice (half the size of a typical playing card) and have nice artwork. (Although, three of the colors have pictures of women, so when six guys get together, it can be a bit strange.) All of these components fit into a stylish small square box, one that holds the components well.

2). Rules: The rules are in German, but a good translation is available at They provide an exact list of components (even telling you how many bills there are), along with color illustrations and examples. The game is easy to learn and teach, and youll really only refer to the rules to see how many of each component you need for the amount of players.

3). Time and Players: The game is for three to six players, and plays much better with more players in the game. Games usually run around thirty minutes, which is about perfect time for this game.

4). Bluffing: If you dont like bluffing, youll hate the game, because thats pretty much all the game is about. Yes, there is a miniscule amount of tactics (where you put the chips) and a small amount of logic (if he moved there, he couldnt have cheated here, etc.), but the simple fact is, if you are good at reading other peoples bluffs, youll do extremely well at this game. Theres nothing like cheating at a table that has a couple other pawns, and a couple of raise cards!

5). Last round: I have seen several people complaining online that the first three rounds dont matter, and that it all comes down to the last round. The simple answer to this is that it isnt true. Many, many games come down to small differences of money and how the first round was played. Yes, a massive amount of money can be achieved the fourth round, but every round certainly does count in this game.

6). Theme and Fun Factor: The gambling theme really works well here, as it takes a fairly mediocre game and makes it a lot of fun. When you role play gambling for hundreds of thousands of (dollars, euros, whatever), it tends to make the game interesting. And, unlike many gambling games, you never lose any money. If only this was true in real life! But in this game, it adds a level of excitement and its fun to listen to the intakes of breath when the cards are turned over, and hear the cries of anguish as players realize that they should have moved their pawns to a different spot.

I really enjoy this game, and will gladly pull it out any time. I do realize, however, that anyone who doesnt like bluffing will dislike the game. Most people dont mind bluffing, however, and the added theme and short time make this a great game to add to most folks collection. Bruno has still not failed me in making a game I really enjoy, and one that I can easily entice non-gamers to play. Now youll have to excuse me as I go off to win a half million dollars.

Tom Vasel

Other Resources for Vabanque:

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