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Moderne Zeiten
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Moderne Zeiten

Original German edition of Batavia

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Ages Play Time Players
10+ 45 minutes 3-5

Designer(s): Dan Glimne, Grzegorz Rejchtman

Manufacturer(s): Jumbo International

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Product Description

Modern Zieten takes place in the America of the Roaring '20s. The economy is booming and a world-wide development race begins amongst the industry giants. It is a time of industrialization and great speculation in the stock market. The players slip into the roles of successful businessmen and dedicated company owners who invest in different leading industries. The goal of the game lies in the risky task of obtaining majority control in these innovative industries on a world-wide basis, whether it be Shipping, Aviation, High Rise Construction, Automobile, or Telecommunications. However, caution is advised! Whoever becomes either too greedy for success or makes deals too precariously can cause a Market Crash in a flash with damning consequences.

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Dan Glimne, Grzegorz Rejchtman

  • Manufacturer(s): Jumbo International

  • Artist(s): Franz Vohwinkel

  • Year: 2002

  • Players: 3 - 5

  • Time: 45 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 973 grams

  • Language Requirements: Game components contain foreign text that does not impact play. An English translation of the rules is provided.


  • gameboard
  • 75,000,000 dollars of play money
  • 105 share cards
  • 100 player markers
  • 6 Zeppelins
  • 1 starting player marker
  • 1 die

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.4 in 5 reviews

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April 26, 2003

Moderne Zeiten is another one of those German games that manages to wrap a tremendous amount of tough decisions and tension into a simple set of rules -- from the card auction to the scoring -- and a cleverly designed gameboard. From beginning to end, players must plot their card display and movement very carefully in order to pursue their strategy, and remain mindful of sudden opportunites and alternative strategies as play progresses. There are sneaky little 'gotcha' tactics for safe guarding your follow-on moves or denying an opponent an important location on the matrix. Usually, the decision by a player to trigger or not to trigger a stock market crash not only makes a difference on that turn, but has impact on future turns as well.

All this puts a tremendous importance on the auction phase. Since the high bid wins all the cards up for auction (1-6 cards, depending on the die roll), it is sometimes worth winning the auction to deny cards to an opponent more than procuring those cards for yourself.

And I've found at least one make-or-break auction in every game where I had to commit heavily in order to be competitive. I once bid $15 million of my $16 million on hand in order to get 4 cards, but after winning with that bid, I was able to trigger a market crash (knocking out my majority in automobile shares), and with my new majority in the shipping industry, I secured both that industry on the matrix (3 victory points) and the majority in the city of Paris (4 victory points), and ultimately won the game by a single point.

It's fun, plays in less than an hour, and the components are outstanding, right down to the little zeppelin markers.

I am more than pleased with Moderne Zeiten, and it has already become one of my favorite games after just four playings.

Highly recommended.

by Randy
Even better than Acquire
March 23, 2003

We had a mixed group playing this one, both casual gamers and strategists. Moderne Zieten (Modern Times) was a hit with all of us. The rules are easily learned in ten minutes or less, but despite the deceptively simple mechanics there are a lot of things to keep track of here. We sort of bumbled through the first session, catching on to many of the strategies by the end of the game. For example, one at first would think that the primary benefit of winning the bidding round would be to acquire optimal stock options, but it's soon apparent that winning the right to move first (also bestowed on the highest bidder) can be even more important.

We found the game to be best with four, very good with three, and a bit too fast with five. The quality of the components are excellent, the rules are easy to understand, the game appeals to both casual and hard core gamers, and MT can be played in less than an hour. In other words, all the ingredients for a five-star game. Hopefully this one will be picked up by an American publisher soon to lower the cost a bit.

it's better than it looks (and it looks very good...)
December 09, 2003

I was instantly hooked by the 'bits factor', I must confess, having a weakness for art-deco posterwork and Zeppelins, but the game itself is a nice little number too.

It's easy to explain the mechanics and it plays nice and quickly so it can easily slot in to a spare chunk of an evening. The actual play is one of those examples where you think, 'is that *it*?' in a 'why did I spend money on *this*?' way, but subsequently find out there's a great deal more to think about than you first noticed. First run through it's difficult to see quite what you should be doing, but some sort of strategy should pop into your head soon so it doesn't need long in play before it's any fun (and I'm quite sure the strategic depth is deeper than I've plumbed to date, so it shouldn't wear out too quickly either).

Nothing in the mechanics is especially novel or obviously screaming out how clever it is, but it all slots together very well and is highly playable. The good feelings in play are enhanced by yet another good art job from Franz Vohwinkel, capturing the energy and optimism of the 'Modern Times' very well. And anything with Zeppelins for playing pieces is clearly ahead of the pack!

I've 'only' given it 4 stars because though it's a fine game IMHO I see it as more of an exquisite aperitif rather than a solid main course. But theer's nothing wrong with that!

'Up, up & away, in my beautiful balloon...'
January 28, 2003

Moderne Zeiten is one of the Essen 2002 releases and was well-received (except by one) by Boardgamers of Reno. This is an stocks game with several well used game concepts. It revolves around the roaring twenties with players being investment giants developing five industries (aviation, shipping, high rises, automotive, tele-communications) around the world. A round begins with an auction of 1 to 6 stocks (die driven). High bidder adds the stock to his hand, then starts play. Each player then in turn may add two stocks to his hand OR lay down stocks (any amount) in front of him to establish a majority share holding position. With a majority position, a player advances his marker (zeppelin) around to board to the next open city matching his majority stock. The center of the board contains a cross matrix of cities & stocks. When a player advances his position, he marks the city / stock junction of the matrix with his companies tile. A majority on either a city(s) or stock(s) gets victory points. Oh, did I mention the market crash? A nasty little event when exposed stocks pass the saturation point (21 or 25 depending on # of players). Players MUST turn in the most represented stock(s) amongst ALL players. The winner is the player with the most victory points at the end of the game.

Jumbo Int. has a great game here. The game board & graphics are sharp, and I love the zeppelin markers! A nice touch is the Erte look to everything. The auction runs like Knizia's Traumfabrick. There is no bank per se, winning bids are evenly distributed among the other players with any odd amounts going to the player(s) to the left of the winning bid. Laying down stocks plays like Union Pacific, except with no limitations on # laid down. The flow is quick, and novice players will catch on quickly. While Moderne Zeiten isn't as cut-throat as Shark, players have more control over their destiny than the dice driven mechanism in Shark. You must enjoy auction / stocks games for this to have any appeal. Boardgamers of Reno's only objector ( the SK professor) thought the game looked great and everything, but simply is not an auction gamer. We also tip our hat to Pitt Crandlemire for his translation. His observations and first hand experience of playing the game with the Jumbo reps at Essen are invaluable. Rio Grande, Mayfair or Fantasy Flight should look hard at this game for an English version. It's visually striking & easy playing. Four stars!

Plays as pretty as it looks
January 22, 2003

The game lasts a mere 45 minutes, but Moderne Zeiten takes you for a more complicated ride than you might expect! There are three or four main layers of game mechanisms, with key details at every level.

Hitting only the high points:

You want to have the lead in the stock for an industry so you can claim a square on the board in that industry. There are payouts at the end of the game for most squares claimed in each industry and for most squares claimed in each city. (Six cities with a square for each of the five industries.)

At the beginning of each round there's an auction for one to six fresh shares of stock turned up from the deck -- along with, and often just as important as the cards, the right to go first in the round.

Further muddying the waters is the 'market crash' that takes the most-played stock off the table every time there get to be more than 25 stocks in play. When the bubble bursts is your best chance for shooting down the leaders and getting into an industry that had been dominated by somebody else.

There is a particular protocol for each thing that happens, and the small things that are under your control keep adding up to big things that seem very difficult to control. Except perhaps for the market crash, there's nothing in here absolutely brand new, but the intricate interrelationships of the system and the few points for attack you're given do make this game different from anything you've played before.

In conclusion I would say that Moderne Zeiten is an intriguing new flavor of auction game and stock game. The rules are not that perplexing when you see them in action, and although there is a lot going on at once, it won't take more than one playing for everything to soak in. Moderne Zeiten is not for the fainthearted, but if your group enjoys spirited competition and is prepared to take on the game's challenges, you will have a lot of fun with it.

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