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Zoom In Australia
Close Zoomed Image Australia
Store:  Strategy Games
Theme:  Nature & Ecology, Business
Format:  Board Games

Australia


List Price: $39.95
Your Price: $26.95
(33% savings!)
(Worth 2,695 Funagain Points!)

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Product Awards:  
Games Magazine Awards
Game of the Year, 2006

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 75 minutes 2-5

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Product Description

Picked as GAMES magazine's 2007 Game of the Year, Australia is an area majority game set in Australia in the early 1920s. Players use planes and rangers to explore different territories in the continent, as they create camps, search for gold, and deal with industrialization. Players use their actions for a variety of effects, as they attempt to control the various regions. A windmill variant is included that adds even more fun - and all the pieces, especially the plastic airplanes look fantastic on the gorgeous board. A game for families and strategy gamers alike, Australia offers a wealth of opportunities with a whole lot of fun!

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Game of the Year, 2006

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Michael Kiesling, Wolfgang Kramer

  • Manufacturer(s): Ravensburger Germany, Rio Grande Games

  • Year: 2005

  • Players: 2 - 5

  • Time: 75 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Est. time to learn: 10-20 minutes

  • Weight: 1,443 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 multiple languages (including English).

Contents:

  • 1 game board
  • 75 rangers
  • 5 airplanes
  • 5 scoring markers
  • 5 player board
  • 42 cards
  • 24 industrialization tiles
  • 24 conservation tiles
  • 44 Australian dollars
  • 1 windmill assembly

Product Reviews

 
 
 
 
 

Average Rating: 2.8 in 5 reviews


 
 
 
 
 
Fun and interesting (plus a rules typo)
May 03, 2006

I've played Australia three times now; it's the sort of game that is easy to learn but takes repeated play to master. In your first game you just get the hang of the legal moves and what sort of board positions yield good scores. Later you theorize about what locations are more valuable, such as camps bordering more territories. With experienced players, attempts to thwart your opponents' plans and conceal your own become important.

The game is fundamentally mathematical, so it particularly appeals to me as a computer programmer. The keys to success are optimization and resource allocation.

There is an error to note in the English manual. During setup, the four ranger card piles should be placed face down. The manual says face up in English but face down in the other three languages -- this makes a big difference in the planning and concealing aspect of the game. Also, the piles should contain 8 cards in the introductory game and 9 in the full game (again, only the English version is wrong).

I'd also note that the printing and packaging of the game is quite nice. It's too bad that the translations are inaccurate. Fun game overall.

 
 
 
 
 
Australia beats boomerang for return on fun!
January 03, 2006
As a novice player, who gets sucked in to my husband's addictive gaming habits, I tend to view new games with some trepidation. Australia however, passed the muster. I was able to master the play technique with minimal “reading of the rules,” the children [ages 11 & 13] were able to play competitively, and start to finish-the game lasted less than two hours. While my criteria for excellence may differ significantly than those of avid gamers, let me add that the game requires planning, strategy, and satisfies my need to be a bit cutthroat. Anything too pedestrian won’t make it past a second play in our house. Australia can be enjoyed by a wide range of gamers and would be a nice addition to a family game collection as well. If you want a quick return on your investment with a flavor of the Down Under- the Australia game beats a boomerang!
 
 
 
 
 
Enjoyed the game
December 03, 2005
I sat down for two "advanced" games of Australia last night. I do not own the game, but given the lack of reviews, I am going to do my best with what I recall.

Board

The game board is a representation of Australia, broken down into 'regions'. Each region is shaded various colors, and my guess is that they tried to divvy up the country according to ecological and political zones. Each region is separated typical line boundaries, but with 'Camps' at each intersection.

Setup

Each player takes a color which has rangers and a plane. There are four decks of cards. While each deck is slightly different, the function of each card is the same: the cards have a region's color (including the oceans), a number of rangers, and a number of coins. The coins + rangers = 4, and this combination is shown on the BACKS of each card (as well as the front). Hence, the four decks described above. To start, each player in turn order draws 1 card, until the 'full' hand size of 2 is reached. (Advanced: Place the windmill in a random region and set its score marker to 2)

Game Play

Overview
During game play, you get two actions. In any order you may: (you may do 1 action 2x)
A: Move your plane
B: Play a card (and replace)
C: Retrieve up to 4 rangers back to supply
D: Discard a card for its gold + 2 VP
Scoring occurs immediately if triggered by an above action.

Detail

Move your plane
You may move your plane to any region. (Oceans ARE regions) After you move your plane to a region, reveal the industrial chit. The number shown is the EXACT number of rangers bordering the region needed to score the region. Range of numbers is from 4 to 9. (Advanced: If the industrial chit has a windmill symbol, then move the windmill to this region, and increment its score marker)

Play a card
You may play a card that has the same region in which your plane occupies. When playing the card, place up to the number of rangers shown into a Camp that contains your rangers, or is empty (i.e.: No Camp may have 2 colors of rangers) You may play less than the number of rangers depicted on the card. If there is any gold shown on the card, collect that gold from the bank. You may spend 3 gold to play an out-of-region card where your plane currently resides. (Advanced: If your are placing rangers into a Camp that is connected to the Windmill region, then you may choose rangers to go on the Windmill scoring tract instead of the selected Camp). Draw a replacement card from any stack.

Retrieve up to 4 rangers back to supply
You may pick up to 4 rangers and place them back into supply, but rangers may only be picked up if your plane is in their region.

Discard a card for its gold+2vp
Again, regions must match. This is more of an end-game play to END the game. This is not an optimal use of the card. (see scoring)

Gold spending

You may spend 4 gold to move 1 ranger on the board to any other Camp. This does NOT count as an action. The primary reason for doing so is to score one (or more) regions.

Scoring

This is a game of victory points. Victory points are scored as follows: Each region at the beginning of the game has 2 chits. One is 'industrial development' the other is 'ecological development'. The industrial chit is scored when the number of rangers = number on the chit. The ecological chit is scored when the region is filled.

The person who initiates the scoring takes 3 bonus VPs. Then each player scores for their rangers 1 VP each. Note: The ocean only regions each have camps with different backgrounds. Rangers in these camps score 2VP each. (although count as 1 ranger for the industrial scoring piece).

(Advanced: After a chit is scored, it is placed on the windmill tract. Once the tract is complete, score the windmill as follows: The person with the most rangers gets the full VP value of the windmill. The 2nd most player gets half, the 3rd most gets half of that (one fourth). Then half of the rangers are removed and returned to appropriate supplies. All fractions are rounded down. If there is a tie, then the person highest on the tract wins the tie. The removal is done from the highest part of the tract.)

Ending the game

The game ends after one player runs out of cards. (decks dry up then players keep playing). Then each other player gets 1 final turn. Highest VP total wins.

Impressions

This game feels like an area control game to me. Move your plane, control the camps, and try your best to set up multiple scoring situations. There is always more to do than the actions you are allowed, so the game gives a good sense of anticipation. It may have a lighter feel, but I feel this game really shines more with experienced gamers who are willing to go cut-throat and have the ability to see the multiple scoring possibilities. In our two games, the winner had in excess of 170 pts each time, so points rack up fairly quickly. A 10-15 pt deficit is not really that much. I was able to score 30 pts in one turn, by setting up 3 regions to score + windmill. There is not much you can do to stop the leader, other than anticipate their VP plots and grab those precious 3 bonus VPs for yourself.

I enjoyed the game and rate it an 8.


Show all 5 reviews >

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