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Your Price: $18.00
(Worth 1,800 Funagain Points!)
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from 3 customer reviews
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The Mafia is looking to carve up Chicago's best boroughs. Each player has cash to use to bid for boroughs. Players bid for 1, 2 or 3 boroughs of value 0-9 and the highest bid gets the offer and distributes the money to the other bidders. When all 30 boroughs have been auctioned, the boroughs are summed up and multiplied with the number of each color. The player with the highest score wins.
Average Rating: 3.3 in 3 reviews
I played this game with 3 people, and really enjoyed the mechanics of the auction. I really enjoy games with auction aspects, and that is all this game is. My only worry is that when we played it came down to the last purchase to determine the winner, very close game. Games that are decided on one play can be disappointing, but I felt that this might be a fluke.
The title and 'theme' have nothing at all to do with the game, but I really don't need a storyline with fast games like this. I noticed others were disappointed by this.
Overall, I really liked this game. Simple to explain, fun to play, and it's hard to be out of the game.
Don is a fun game, with a simple card deck and high quality stacking chips. It plays quickly and it's easily enjoyable. It even throws in a bit of 'spice' in the bidding mechanism. Should things not go well for someone, they'll be playing a new game in 15 minutes anyway, so no harm done.
I'd place it ahead of Money on all aspects. It's almost as fun as Bohnanza but plays much faster. If the audience is more sophisticated Kuhhandel is the best of the lot but it will take time. As a filler, nothing wrong with Don. Reasonably priced, too.
This is a neat new auction game from Michael Schacht, the designer of such games as Web of Power and Kontor. My initial reading of the rules left me in doubt, as the game sounded very dry and fiddly. However, after my first playing, I immediately took a liking to it. I've since played a dozen more times and my enthusiasm for the game continues to grow. What's even better is my wife, who normally isn't fond of auction games, really enjoys it, too. In fact, she is 3-0 in her playings, whereas I am still winless!
What makes the game so interesting are the novel bidding mechanics and restrictions. I've not seen such methods utilized in the same form in any other game. Creativity is always a BIG plus for me.
The deck of 30 cards comes in 6 colors, with 5 cards per color. Further, cards are numbered 0 - 9, which means that each color does NOT have a full set of numbers. The only other components included are incredibly thick and sturdy bidding chips, each designed so they snugly fit together, making them able to be sturdily stacked. The only things missing are player shields, which would have been nice, as chips are meant to be kept secret. As is, every time we play, we are forced to scrounge for materials which would be suitable as shields.
The rules and mechanics are simple, yet the clever mechanisms require constant vigilance and planning. The start player reveals a card and it is up for auction. Auctions are held in a 'round-the-table' fashion until only one player remains. He pays the amount of his winning bid into the 'pot' and takes the card, which is kept face-up before him in full view of all the players. On the very first auction, the money in the pot is now divided amongst all the other players. Nothing special or unique here. However, it gets much more interesting from here on out.
On the next round, the player who won the previous auction now reveals TWO cards and these are auctioned as a set. The following round, THREE cards are revealed and auctioned. Then, this cycle is repeated (1 - 2 - 3) until a total of 15 auctions have been held and the deck is depleted, at which point the game is concluded.
After round one, players may NOT make bids which end in ANY numbers which match cards they have previously collected. So, if Jerry had previously won cards with values 3, 4 & 7, he may not bid 3, 4, 7, 13, 14, 17, etc. So, the more cards you collect bearing different values, the more restricted you will become in your bidding capabilities. Astute players will often raise the bidding to those levels, forcing players to raise the bid considerably or drop out of the current auction. Very, very clever.
But, it gets better! When a player wins an auction, the money is placed in the pot. The player possessing the most cards which match the last digit of the winning bid receives ALL of the money in the pot! Thus, if Jerry bid 8 to win an auction and Steven has the most '8's' in front of him, he receives all of the chips Jerry bid, plus any chips remaining in the pot from a previous round which weren't distributed. If more than one player ties for the most in a particular value, the chips are distributed equally amongst them. If no one possess any cards matching the last digit in a winning bid, the chips are then distributed as equally as possible amongst ALL of the players (except the player winning the auction), with any remainder being left in the pot.
This payment method is ingenious as it forces players to carefully monitor their bids to see who would receive the payout if they win the auction. Often, players feel forced to increase their bids to a different number so no one opponent will receive a windfall.
Further, this method also encourages players to acquire cards which have values which are likely to be bid more often, thereby resulting in an increased probability of payoffs following auctions. Very, very clever.
A final twist is that the values on the cards mean NOTHING in the final scoring! Once the deck is depleted, players score points based on the colors of the cards! The more of a color a player possesses, the more points he scores:
1 card: 1 point
2 cards: 3 points
3 cards: 6 points
4 cards: 10 points
5 cards: 15 points
Finally, the player with the most chips in stock at game's end receives 2 points. The player with the most points is victorious.
Thus, the factors to watch out for now not only include the numbers YOU possess and the numbers your OPPONENTS possess, but also the color of the cards up for bid. All of these factors can sometimes stagger the mind, but make for an intriguing game which I, at least, have found difficult to master. Yet, I keep wanting to play it over and over again. Either I'm masochistic, or there's a very good game here!
The only thing which continues to puzzle me is the theme and box graphics, which includes pictures of various characters from the Godfather motion picture. The theme of the game isnt thin... its nonexistent. Im also curious as to how European firms seem to be able to utilize the images and names of famous characters and individuals (witness Traumfabrik), while U.S. game companies would have their pants sued off if they tried to do such a thing without first acquiring the rights to such images and names. Perhaps this is just another sad indictment of our sue or be sued legal system.
For a game with such simple rules, it is filled with choices and decisions and requires constant vigilance. Kudos to designer Michael Schacht!
You've got 12 chips with which to win cards numbered 0 to 9 in six colors. Groups of one, two, or three faceup cards are auctioned each round. The winner retains them faceup. His bid is shared by players with cards whose values equal the bid's last digit; otherwise, it's distributed equally. The starting player gets the cards if nobody bids. Bids matching any last digit on the bidder's cards are penalized and withdrawn! Sets of matching colors score to decide the winner after the last auction. Clever, fast, brain-wracking fun. Don your thinking cap for the variant where you'll relinquish bidding to force an exchange of cards.
A popular topic in these pages has been that of game themes. When are they central to the game's concept and when are they just something that has been added late in the process to help with the marketing? However, although the discussion has been thorough, there is one aspect that we have yet to touch upon and that is game themes and the Trade Descriptions Act. It is not uncommon for a theme not to extend beyond the graphics, but this one doesn't get past the outside of the box. Here you will find a drawing of Marlon Brando and James Caan as they appeared in The Godfather, but that and the title is the limit of the pretence that this game has anything to do with gangsters or the Mafia. Open the box and you will find some cards, a bag of chunky, interlocking chips and rules for a completely abstract bidding game. It is true that each card carries the words "City of Chicago", but it is possible to play the whole game without noticing this and the writing has nothing to do with what happens.
There are 30 cards, each of which carries a number in the range 0 to 9 -- 3 cards for each of the 10 numbers. The cards are also coloured -- 6 colours, 5 cards of each. At the beginning of the game, each player is given 12 chips and the cards are shuffled and placed as a face-down deck. A number of bidding rounds then follow, in each of which 1-3 cards are auctioned off. When the deck is exhausted, the game is scored using a system that rewards sets of the same colour.
The novelty lies in two neatly connected rules which govern the auction and the circulation of the chips. At the start of an auction, each player will have in front of them their chips and all the cards they have bought so far. These cards are kept face up for everyone to see. Bidding starts with the winner of the last auction and then proceeds clockwise, with each player either raising the bid or withdrawing from the auction. This continues until only one player remains. All completely standard so far. The twist comes with the fact that you are not allowed to bid an amount whose last digit matches any of the cards you already own. So, for example, if I own three cards bearing the numbers 2, 4 and 5, then the bids 2, 4, 5, 12, 14, 15, etc., are denied to me. The more numbers you have in front of you, the less room you have for manoeuvre. But there is a flip side to this, which comes when the chips paid by the winner of the auction are reallocated. Again it is the last digit of the (final) bid that is important. All players, other than the successful bidder, count the number of cards they own which carry this digit and the chips go to whoever has the most. In the event of a tie the chips are divided, with any left over remaining in the middle of the table to form part of the next payout.
Scoring at the end is by coloured sets. A singleton scores 1 point; a set of two cards of the same colour scores 3 points; sets of 3, 4 and 5 score 6, 10 and 15 respectively. There is also a bonus of 2 points for the player holding most chips at the finish.
The combination of the strategic objective -- collecting cards of the same colour -- and the auction mechanism -- which revolves around the numbers -- gives players lots to think about. Clearly you want cards of the same colour, because unless you have a couple of sets of 3+ you are unlikely to win; at the same time you have to try and deny this goal to your rivals. Combining these two aims when you only have a limited supply of chips at your disposal is not easy. Neither is juggling the numbers. Here you want a collection which will produce an income, without cramping your style too much in the actual auction. Having two cards with the same number will guarantee you first place in this number, but that will only bring you chips if another player makes the appropriate bid and if you look too dangerous they will try to avoid doing that. Having only one card of a number, when someone else also has one, is less threatening and so more likely to attract a relevant bid, but if the other player then gets the third card, you are left with the hindrance and no incoming chips to show for it. It makes for a very finely balanced situation with everybody having to keep a close eye on everyone else's holdings of both cards and chips.
Don is a very clever piece of design, worthy to stand alongside the best of the "little Knizias", such as High Society and Katzenjammer Blues, and so it is not surprising that it has been attracting a lot of favourable comment. Bruno Faidutti has even picked it out as one of his two favourite games of the last twelve months. However, before you add it to your shopping list, you should also be aware that not all the reactions are so enthusiastic. At the end of our first game the comments were along the lines of "Is that all there is to it?" and that was pretty much my reaction as well. This is a game with no story and with a single idea. It is a clever and well polished idea, but there is still just the one. The view among my group is that if a game is to involve serious calculation, which this one does, it should have more content. This judgement does not negate the comparisons I made at the start of the paragraph, since "Is that all there is to it?" tends to be our verdict on the little Knizias as well (though we love most of his bigger games). We are in a minority there and I suspect we might be in one here also. This is a good game of its type, but to enjoy it you need to like the type. I'm not keen; the rest of my group aren't keen either; you're old enough to decide for yourself.