A periodic blog about Games, Books, Movies, Pop culture, Technology and whatever else I happen to feel like writing about...

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Die Fugger

In case you were thinking that I haven't been playing any boardgames, here are some thoughts about the excellent, somewhat overlooked card game, Die Fugger. Adlung has produced some excellent card games, most notably Verrater and Meuterer, which I recommend highly. Die Fugger is another small box card game that has bigger game play, though it is certainly a friendlier game than Meuterer and Verrater.

Die Fugger is a game all about commerce that uses a counter intuitive system of setting supply and demand. The deck represents goods, like wine,, cloth and salt, and each good is represented the same number of times as every other. When a card is played to the table, it increases the demand for the good, which might increase the price at the end of the round, but it is also a good that is sold by the player. While I can see, in game terms, why this is so, it doesn't make any sense, as goods which are rarely offered should rise in price. (The only game that I have seen so far to do a fair simulation of supply and demand is Cheapass's Parts Unknown)

The game plays well with 2, 3 or 4 players, but there are some subtle differences. When playing with two players, after each player has taken their action (sell a card face up, face down or draw), Jacob the Rich gets an additional face up goods card, making him a dummy player. This is not done in a three or four player game.
  • In two and three player games, Jacob also gets an additional face up card when a player makes a face down sale.
  • In a four player game, Jacob only gets the two face up cards from the deal, and never gets any additional cards.
A round ends in much the same way as Modern Art, when the fifth card of a type is offered for sale. Then, the three highest offered commodities rise in price the number of steps that they have been offered, and the two commodities that did not place drop in price by one. Cards that rise past nine bust at one, but dropping from one does not go to nine.

I have played a few times, and it is a very fun game, which has usually come down to who has made the best hidden deliveries for the end of the game. The hidden deliveries can only be made during the first two rounds, with a limit of one per player per round, and these count double at the end of the game using the last price set for the commodity.

Die Fugger is a very fun, accessible game at a very affordable price point. It is a great lunchtime game, and it is easy to carry around. You should give it a shot.


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