Wacky Wacky West
English language edition of Drunter und Drüber
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Just south of nowhere, there's the junction of the Mayfair & Rossdorf RR and the Turvy Trunk Line. Springing up from the desert like a tumbleweed lies the eccentric little town of Rossdorf. Like most western towns, Rossdorf has a Land Agent: Guy Dough, the brother of that wicked varmint Black Benny. A shrewd opportunist, Guy's done sold all the town land ('ceptin' the outhouses) four times over! Every acre in town that ain't got an outhouse on it is owned by the miners, the railroads, AND the fort captain. Just about a year ago, miners digging in the shadow of Fort Rossdorf struck the mother lode! But it wasn't gold, and it wasn't silver. No, my friend, it was just a little spring. Not any ordinary spring, though! It was a torrent of that mind-marbling drink the locals call "Wacky Water!"
Now that water's done what the sun and the wind couldn't do: it's made those landholders brave enough to take matters into their own hands. Now they'll use whatever means they can to bowl over the competition and lay claim to the only fertile spots left in town! Now the only thing stoppin' 'em is the Town Charter Amendment #5, which states (and I quote): "no landholder may move, remove, or detonate any outhouse without a majority vote of the Town Citizens..."
Now one thing's for sure: something is gonna stink in Rossdorf, purty darn soon.....
In Wacky Wacky West you and your fellow townsfolk place track tiles, street tiles, and river tiles hoping to destroy your rivals' buildings. Every time someone tries to build over a precious outhouse, the town votes! You try to enlist your supporters (represented by cards) to vote with you to stop or encourage the play of certain tiles-perhaps saving some of your buildings or taking out those of your dastardly opponents.
Wacky Wacky West is a very casual, social game for 2-4 players ages 10 and older. You can play a complete game in about 45 minutes.
Players: 2 - 4
Time: 45 minutes
Ages: 10 and up
Weight: 735 grams
Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English. Game components are language-independent.
- 1 game board
- 4 work gang figures
- 6 goal cards
- 32 vote cards
- 60 tiles (streets, rails, and rivers):
- 24 single tiles
- 24 double tiles
- 12 triple tiles
Average Rating: 4.1 in 6 reviews
I recently blew $200 here at Funagain on 13 different games, and I have to say that out of the whole lot, Drunter & Druber is my favorite (with Ohne Furcht und Adel coming in a close second).
The game is incredibly simple, but at the same time leaves a lot of room for scheming and strategizing. (Read the blurb above for the general plot.) Each player starts with a number of single, double, and triple-length tiles that (s)he can use to extend the city's road, river, or two city walls. The board is scattered with 5 different instances of 6 different buildings, and each player is secretly assigned one building type that (s)he must try to defend. On your turn, you may extend either of the walls, or the road, or the river with your tiles, and then move the 'builder' pawn to the end of your addition, designating the end of the line where further extentions must be placed.
Usually, you have no control over where other players place their tiles, aside from trying to surreptitiously veer lines away from your buildings, unless someone proposes to build over one of the town's precious outhouses, at which point it goes to a vote. The players begin the game with an identical assortment of vote cards, ranging from 'Jaaa!' (whose 3 a's make it worth 3 positive votes) to 'Neee!' (which gets 3 negative votes from its 3 e's), plus the wild 'Jeein!' card (which can count for either 2 positive or 2 negatives) and the '...?' card (neutral). Everyone casts their vote simultaneously, all the vote cards (except '...?') get discarded, and if there are more negative votes than positive, the tile does not get played. When all the players pass consecutively, either because they can't make any legal moves or they just don't want to, the game ends, and everyone tallies up their score from their remaining buildings on the map.
Don't let the German origins of this game dissuade you; the English rules that Funagain encloses are very well-written, and the only German in the entire game is on the above-mentioned vote cards, which are so blatantly clear that you will never need to refer to the rules to remember what they mean. There's a little more German on the optional cards for the 'Expert Mode' version of the rules, but again these are simple enough that you can look them up once and never need to again.
In our most recent game, we played with the maximum four players. I and the other male in the game were neck-and-neck the entire time, until the very end, when my sweetly meek girlfriend ended up the winner, since her lack of protest when one of her buildings was bulldozed early in the game led everyone to think that no-one had gotten that type. It was awesome, and I definitely won't get sick of playing this anytime soon.
As an old SNL fan, my favorite Steve Martin line was, 'I'm a wild & crazy guy!' It is the perfect sentiment for 'Drunter & Druber'. First though, a small clarification on the name of the game itself. The literal translation in german is Above & Below, which has absolutely no relevence to the game at all. So, I happen to work with (true story!) a 6 ft. German Showgirl! I showed her the game and asked what's with this name. She cleared it up immediately. Used in the context of the game, the name in german would be, Topsy Turvy! EXACTLY WHAT THE GAME IS!! It is a wild, outhouse covering, UN-building game of roads, waterways, and walls. Keep your secret buildings safe, you win.
Every turn, a player places a tile on the board, adding on to an exsisting piece. Sometimes this will cover set buildings on the board, sometimes not. Where the true fun of this game comes from, is when an outhouse is covered. Each player must vote on whether this is a good thing or not. As a player you must vote 'yes' or 'no' to varying degrees. This is where your poker skills come in. Depending on how strongly you vote either way, tips your hand as to what your 'secret' buldings are. After all tile-placing areas have been exhuasted, players total up the value of their uncovered building with high score winning.
What I truly enjoy about this game and why I highly recommend it is the simplicity of rules. New gamers will pick it up very quickly and play can begin almost immediately. Players will groan, wring their hands, laugh, and cheer on the voting as everyone tries to second-guess who owns what buildings. This is not a deep, thought provoking game. It IS a great after dinner party game. Colorful graphics, clean gameboard, and minimal pieces make it very visually exciting and most importantly, FUN! Buy this game!
This game is a tile playing game that is a little similar to Wildlife Adventure. There are 3 types of tiles - walls, earth, and water. Each tile covers either 1, 2, or 3 spaces on the board. For your turn, you get to play a single tile on the board. There are some spaces on the board that you want to keep uncovered, and other spaces that you wish to cover up. Of course, your opponents want to protect/cover up different spaces than you do - that's what makes it interesting. The rules come with 2 versions of the game - I have always preferred the 'variant' or alternate version. While many games need 3 or 4 players to make them interesting, this game plays just as well with 2 players as it does with 3 or 4.
This is a very funny game, if you like German humor. I first heard of it from my (German) wife and I must say that I thought she was pulling my leg about the whole outhouse thing. Anyhoo, she said I'd love it, she ordered it, and we've played it with my 8-year-old daughter and had a blast! It has very simple rules with remarkable depths (you can't just build wherever you can--the building crew idea means you really have to plan ahead), and by golly you'd better have a good poker face. (Which I don't, which means I'll get trounced pretty much every time I play, but that's the way the cookie crumbles.)
So, funny, wacky theme, the kids can play (if they can learn to hide their disappointment when they lose a building), it's quick, and it'll remind your German significant other of home. Highly recommended.
Drunter & Drber is a normal game with a crazy theme. Once you get past the idea of laying rivers and roads over buildings that already exist, voting on whether toilets can be covered by tiles, and the totally wacky illustrations, this game becomes a tactical tile-laying game with a simple theme: keep the tiles from covering up your special squares.
I got a huge drubbing the first time I played this game and had all but my lowest-value building covered, but still I had a good time. I think that's what this game's biggest asset is - it's so crazy that you simply have to have fun.
Drunter & Drber doesn't give much scope for strategy in a four-player game; this is probably different with only two players. Having secret missions - the type of buildings you want to save - makes the game more intriguing as you try to work out what everyone else's agenda is.
This game is totally silly, but nonetheless it's a good way of wasting an hour or two.
The avalanche of republications continues. One of the latest is Wacky Wacky West, a reprint of the 1991 Spiel des Jahre winner Drunter und Drüber by Klaus Teuber. This new edition by Mayfair Games changes the artwork and title – neither an improvement – but as far as I can remember, the rules and game play remain identical to the original. It is the first time an English version has been made available, but I can’t help but asking “Why bother?”
It is rare that one encounters a stranger premise for a game. The game is set in the old west in the ramshackle town of Rossdorf. A dastardly land agent has sold the land from underneath the town many times over, creating a real estate mess. To make matters worse, miners have unearthed a strange spring that the locals call “wacky water”. The water had a strange effect on the locals, as they are now building roads, railroads and canals, burying most of the town’s buildings in the construction boom. The only thing standing in their way is the abundance of outhouses, which are scattered about the landscape like politicians at election time. These highly valued outhouses are protected by a town ordinance, and before an outhouse can be removed, the entire town must decide its fate by a vote. Wacky.
The board depicts the dusty town, with five buildings of six different types and a multitude of outhouses scattered about. Buildings have a value ranging from 1 – 5, and each player will have an interest in protecting one type of building. The four corners of the board are the starting points for two railroad lines, one road and the stream.
At the beginning of the game, each player is secretly dealt a card displaying a type of building. The idea is to construct and maneuver the railroads, river and road in such as fashion so as to avoid the type of building you want to protect, while at the same time plowing over the other buildings. Since two buildings are not actually owned by anyone (but no one knows which ones these are), one cannot initially be certain which building each other player owns. This usually becomes evident, however, as the game progresses.
Each player receives an assortment of tiles. Tiles represent segments of railroad, road or stream, and come in lengths of one-to-three spaces. These are all the tiles a player will receive for the entire game, so they must use and place them judiciously. Players take turns placing segments of rail, roads or rivers into the town, extending them from their starting points at the corners of the board. Tiles indicate which side is the “start” side, which must be placed at the end of the expanding routes. Work crews (pawns) are moved along the routes to indicate the current end of a route. The idea is to carefully place these segments so as to maneuver these routes away from your buildings and over the other buildings. Of course, players are limited by the types of tiles they possess, which are dealt out randomly at the beginning of the game. So, it does require some management of one's tiles to play effectively and maintain some flexibility during the later stages of the game.
To complicate matters, one must deal with the fickle idiosyncrasies of the townsfolk. They are bizarrely fond of their outhouses, going so far as to protect them with an ordinance. Anytime a player attempts to place a segment which would cover an outhouse, a vote must be held. Each player initially holds 8 voting cards in varying strengths: 3 'yes' cards, 3 'no' cards, 1 joker (either yes or no) and one 'abstain' card. When a vote is called for, each player plays one of their cards and the outcome is determined. If there is a majority of 'yes' votes – or the referendum results in a tie – the segment is laid. Otherwise, the segment is not played and the player loses his turn. All vote cards played are discarded with the exception of 'abstain' cards, which are returned to the respective players. Preserving one's vote cards for critical votes at later stages in the game is an important consideration. Further, if the game ends in a tie, vote cards remaining in players’ hands will be the tie-breaker.
The game continues until no player can place a tile. At that point, each player reveals their secret building card and tallies the points of matching buildings that have not been demolished. The player preserving the greatest value of his buildings is victorious, and becomes the real estate tycoon of Rossdorf.
The game sounds more interesting than it really is. At best, the game is average. The voting is not really as dramatic or tense as one would think. Also, it is quite possible that one player will be stuck with an abundance of one type of infrastructure, which will greatly hinder his placement options during the game. While there are some opportunities to steer a route away from a particular building, this usually can be altered by the play of your opponents. Plus, you are hostage to the tiles you possess. There really isn't a whole lot of control here ... nor excitement. I didn’t particularly care for Drunter und Drüber, and there have been no improvements or changes made with this latest edition. Indeed, the artwork on the components is worse, particularly the roads. It is often difficult to spot the tiny person that indicates the start edge of a tile.
After playing the game again after the passage of a considerable amount of time, I can appreciate just how far game design has improved. That’s not to say the game is bad; it isn’t. However, it feels dated and bland. It would still likely entertain families who don’t regularly play games, but the more discerning gamer will likely be disappointed.