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A Quartet of Card Games: Wave, Audition, The Brain, and Dschungelgedrängel

by W. Eric Martin

I wrote about Thomas Weber‘s card game Passt nicht! in early July 2023, but he actually has two other card games hitting the German market before the end of 2023.

Wave is a co-operative card game that KOSMOS will show at Berlin Brettspiel Con the weekend of July 14 ahead of its release in August 2023, and this game for 2-4 players immediately makes me think of a Hanabi/The Mind crossbreed…which is a positive in my eyes:

To win the co-operative card game Wave, everyone needs to be surfing in synch.

Each player has a hand of cards, and you take turns placing a card on the shared discard pile, with either the value of the number or the color increasing with each play. Some of your cards face toward you, however, and others face away, so everyone needs to co-ordinate their plays well because if someone can’t play a card on their turn, the game ends.

Wave includes rule variants for experienced players to make the game more challenging.

• The other Thomas Weber title is from frechverlag, a 2-4 player game titled Dschungelgedrängel, which translates as “Jungle Scramble”:

There’s a party in the jungle today, and the animals are gathering on the ancient statues, but space is limited, and all the animals want to climb on top. If too many animals are on a statue, they all fall down and have to climb up anew.

Players each have four statue cards in front of them. In their hands, they hold cards with different numbers of the four animals: elephants, tigers, monkeys, and parrots. The goal is to stack nine animals of a kind on top of the respective statues. On their turn, players can either play any number of cards of the same animal type on a statue, or they can play an action card that messes with other players’ plans. If at any time a player has more than nine animals of a kind on a given statue, they all fall down and the statue is empty again.

The first player to fill three statues triggers the game end; at the end of that round, the player with the most filled statues wins.

• Dutch publisher 999 Games released a pair of card games in June 2023.

In Audition from Robert Brouwer, 2-6 players use a Coloretto-style drafting system — either add a card to a row or take a row into your collection — to try to collect soloists and quartets of musicians who all have the same value.

• The other 999 title is The Brain, a 1-4 player game from Peter Jürgensen that is also a co-operative game with limited communication. So many of these designs! So exciting! Here’s an overview:

The Brain consists of one or more attempts to solve a puzzle, with players continuing to try until they give up or succeed. You are not allowed to communicate with each other during play. Will you manage to clear all the cards with logic, deduction, counting, and a little bit of luck? Try it on every level until you succeed!

On your turn, you must place a card from your hand in the middle of the table, perform the corresponding action, then draw a card from the deck. If all cards in your hand have been played and the draw pile is empty, you win — but as soon as there is a predetermined number of cards on the table at the end of a turn, you all lose. If this happens, you can discuss how to do better next time, then try again!

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