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"Our city should be more beautiful!" The mayor has decided to engage a gigantic construction plan to bring the somewhat decrepit city back to the forefront. Both renovation and new construction are required. Each construction firm has the chance to get lucrative jobs, and thus to make a big killing -- bigger than ever before.
As owner of a construction firm, you must try to win many profitable construction jobs. Always keep an eye on your competitors and their equipment, however. If you think they are also interested in a job, you must offer your services at a better price or lose job. If you are sure that you alone possess the necessary equipment to do the job, grab for the brass ring! However, be careful -- don't miscalculate. The next payday awaits...
Zahltag is a great game to play when you have twenty minutes on your hands. Zahltag is a very simple game to learn , play, and to explain. It consists of two decks of cards ( the worker deck and the job deck). I love the humorous cartoon drawings on the cards. The game play and bidding are very realistic. Two to four players can play Zahltag but I recommend you play with only three paydays if you are playing with two people. Zahltag is a nice kick back fun game to play with friends while having lunch. The reason why I give it three stars is because one goes to art; one goes to fun; one goes to easiness.
Deal everyone seven Labor Cards (Foremen, Workers, Cranes, and Excavators). Each turn, after choosing either to draw or to discard one Labor card, reveal the next Contract Card. Contracts show how many cards in each Labor category you need in order to win it. Everyone secretly selects a number from zero to eight. Lowest bidder above zero earns that number of dollars, and discards the required Labor cards beside him. Discarded cards return to your hand two turns later. Tied players share discounted proceeds, or pay the bank if they all bid one.
Revealing Payday Cards, which lurk in the Contracts, compels those who hold the most cards to lose money; bankrupt players are eliminated. Richest player wins after five Paydays. This is one construction project that's built to last.
Yet another light card game, though this time one with a scenario that promises something more. The idea is that each player is a building contractor, tendering for contracts and seeking to keep their balance in a situation where one's workers represent both resources and overheads. One could well envisage a strategy game with that sort of story line, but that isn't really what is on offer here.
The game equipment consists of two decks of cards and some cardboard money chips. Deck A contains four types of workers and at the start of the game each player is dealt seven cards from the shuffled pack. The undealt cards are then sorted by type and placed face up as four piles in the centre of the table. You now have three opportunities either to add a card to your hand or to discard one from it. The result of this is that you will begin the game with between 4 and 10 cards and a balance between types that is largely of your own choosing. A similar effect could have been achieved by dispensing with the initial deal and simply allowing players to draw their initial hand, but this method has the advantage of preventing the opposition from knowing your exact holding.
Deck B contains 32 job cards and 6 payday cards. It is shuffled and stacked face down. On each player turn one card from Deck B will be turned face up. If it is a job card, it will be put out to tender; if it is a payday card the workforce will want its money.
Each job requires between 2 and 5 workers in a prescribed mix. So, for example, one might call for just a couple of navvies, while another will require two foreman, a crane driver and a mechanical digger. To tender for a contract you have to hold the required cards in your hand. If you don't, or if you are not interested, you bid zero; otherwise you put in a "sealed bid" of between 1 and 8. The bids are then revealed and the low bid wins, with the player making it receiving this amount of money from the bank. In the event of a tie, all tied players are awarded the contract but are only paid 2 less than their bid. Being caught in a tie when you have bid 1 is not a good idea!
Each player splits the space in front of them into two - left and right. When you win a contract, the workers required are placed into the left-hand section to indicate that they have just started on this particular job. On your turn you move any workers in the left-hand section into the right-hand one (coming to the end of the job) and any in the right-hand one back into hand, where they are once again available for use.
With worker cards on the table in this way, your options when it comes to bidding for new contracts are obviously restricted. Because of this you might wish to acquire new ones and you can do this. On your turn you may draw a new card, exchange a card or discard a card, but only one and so your total stock of cards will only change slowly from the hand size you opted for at the beginning.
A large hand size is clearly good when it comes to going for contracts and making money, but it also has its drawbacks. When a payday card is revealed, everyone counts the number of cards they have in hand. The player with least pays nothing, the others pay to 1 the bank for each card they hold in excess of this minimum number. The game ends after the resolution of the fifth payday.
The concept of the game is an appealing one and the way that it has been translated into cards is quite neat. However, we found that the play didn't live up to the promise. A reading of the rules makes you think that you are in for a game with a fair amount of strategy and decision making, but in the event luck dominates. To see why, consider the situation where it is your turn and you have just taken cards back into your hand following the completion of a contract. This has left you with a fist full of cards and the other players short-handed, because they still have most of their cards on the table. You can reduce your workforce by at most one before turning over a job card. If this card is a contract, it will quite likely be clear that you are the only player with the resources to take it. So you bid the maximum of 8 and collect your winnings. However, if it is a payday card, you will be paying out a lot. The difference is huge in terms of the likely final scores. If this were a gamble that you could have chosen to take or reject, it would have been fair enough, but it's not. The whole thing is just down to the timing imposed by the deck and over that neither you nor any of the others has much control.
I don't mind games where luck dominates, especially for that end of evening closer spot, but if they are going to be of that type, they should be quicker and more amusing. This one takes three quarters of an hour, dangles the prospect of a strategic contest in front of you and then fails to deliver.