English language edition
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from 6 customer reviews
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Players play cards instead of using their own muscle-power in this Scottish tug-of-war game. A player can play cards on either side of the rope: high cards on his side and, naturally, low cards on the other. With an energetic "heave-ho!", players compare their strengths and move the whisky barrel in the direction of the strongest team. Beware: both players have access to a handful of tricks! Traitors can exist on both sides. The rope can break! Or Nessie can join one side to help or feed! At the end, the player who has the whisky barrel on his side of the board, wins the round. But a full match is the best of five rounds!
I finally got a chance to try this, and it's a hoot. Heave Ho! is simple, but there is some strategy and tension.
The game reminds me a little of Ivanhoe. There are cards with different values, and you are constantly trying to beat the other guy's score to win the round. Unlike Ivanhoe, however, you can play cards of low value on your opponent's side, if you wish, to bring his score down.
The colorful graphics of this game are excellent, as good as any I've seen. The Scots characters, particularly the Robust Dames are hilarious. The artwork alone warrants this game a 5 star rating!
I enjoyed this game, look forward to playing it again, and I highly recommend it.
This game is just plain fun to play and it has this 'just one more game' feel to it. Yes it is luck driven but it does have a certain amount of strategy. Knowing when to play the right card can win or lose you the game. I am always amazed how some people seem to equal luck with ok game. A game that has luck is not necesarily a bad game. In this case it is just the opposite. A solid 4 for me.
This game is quick, light-hearted fun involving reversals of fortune that keep things moving. Players compete in a tug-of-war by playing numbered cards onto their own or their opponent's side of the board with a few action cards thrown in for surprise. In some ways, the intial set-up of the game is the best part. Players essentially divide the deck (20 cards each) and race to sort a deck of cards into the two piles: the ones you want and the ones for your opponent. Whoever finishes first gets to complete the other player's sorting. Highly-recommended.
The latest in the 2-player Kosmos series is a Richard Borg design. His previous lighter games include the SdJ winning Liar's Dice/Bluff and more recently, the Kosmos game, Hera and Zeus, so he ought to be in a good position to create another enjoyable 2-player game. How Ruck fits the bill quite nicely.
This is a game about a tug of war and is played between two players who influence the three members of each side. Each team has a member in a red, a blue and a green shirt and they all start the game with a strength of two, giving the team a total of six points. Players place cards on top of these players, reducing their strength as low as one and as high as six points.
A barrel is placed midway on a track and the object is to move it to the furthest position on your side. The winner receives the barrel and three are required to win the game.
When a 'pull!' card is played (How Ruck!) the relative strengths of the teams are assessed and the stronger team moves the barrel nearer to its side by one place for each point that they are stronger than their opponent.
The initial set-up is clever. The deck of cards features variable strength and coloured cards as well as some action cards. Twenty of the cards are dealt to each player, who then examine them in pairs, make a quick assessment of them and then play them face down in two piles, one for their opponent and one for themselves. Their opponent is carrying out this at the same time, so there is a race to finish. The first to complete their set of cards gets to place the barrel slightly on their side (there are 10 spaces on the track) and may split any pairs of cards that their opponent has not yet decided on to the piles of their choice. Usually there are only 2 or 4 cards to finish, so this is not a huge advantage, but it emphasises the competitive spirit of the game.
All this takes less than a minute and then the main game starts. Players alternate playing a card from a hand of six, playing high value cards on their own side and low value ones on their opponent's side. Any cards that also show "How Ruck!" cause an immediate assessment of the relative strengths. Your hope is that the barrel moves closer to your side and nearer the winning position. Each of the three positions on either side of the board are coloured, blue or green so you have to play a card that matches the space. There are also grey coloured cards that can be placed in any of the positions.
The action cards are special, as they allow the normal rules to be broken, but of course you cannot play a strength card as well. The action cards present a wide range of possibilities. For example, they may allow you to retrieve a bad position by causing the rope to break and the game re-sets to the initial position, cause all the Scottish women (usually strength 4) cards to go home, or allow an immediate win for you if your opponent has the Nessie card, which depicts the Loch Ness monster and has a value 6.
The graphics are clear, but with a comical look to them and one wonders if this is how an American designer with German production sees the Scots. Clearly an Englishman cannot comment. The game is fun, quick and with some hints of strategy as to which cards you put in your pile and which you leave for your opponent. Non-German readers will probably wait for the version from Rio Grande, as the action cards are in German and have no symbols to provide a speedy guide. Since you do not have time to refer to the translation while you are deciding which cards to keep, the result is that you either learn what the cards do or decide to keep or lose all action cards in order to ensure speed of decision in the decision stage.
For me, the game is a solid member of the Kosmos two player games series, not as good as the best (Lost Cities) but much better than most and so well worth trying.