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Svarog's Den - Board Games

KENDi Kicks Off with The Choice, Durchmarsch, and Get It!

by W. Eric Martin

KENDi is a German publisher founded in February 2023 by Franz Jurthe, who was previously the managing director at Nürnberger-Spielkarten-Verlag (NSV). At KENDi, Jurthe has been joined by Steffen Benndorf, who designed two of NSV’s biggest hits: Qwixx and The Game, and Reinhard Staupe, who had been a game editor at NSV since 2012, in addition to being a designer himself.

The goal of KENDi is to publish designs similar to what they used to do at NSV. As Staupe said in an interview with Michael Weber for Reich der Spiele:

This is mainly due to my own vision: I generally like developing simple games, both as an editor and as a writer. In other words, games that use simple means to bring as many people as possible to the table and build a bridge. In terms of game mechanics, I’m always looking for a reduction to the essentials. The perfect example of this is The Mind. Almost no rules, ingenious and bold. A spectacular shared experience easily accessible to everyone.

In that interview, Staupe mentions that Qwixx, The Game, and The Mind have all sold more than a million copies and they “have such great potential that they will certainly continue to be represented on the market at a very high level.”

KENDi launched with three titles in April 2023 at the SPIEL DOCH! game fair in Dortmund.

• The short description of Benndorf’s Get It!, a card game for 3-6 players, might be “Speed Hanabi Mind”. To explain:

Your goal as a team in Get It! is to play all of your cards in ascending numerical order. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? However, you have only one minute to do so, and you are not allowed to speak…and you can’t see your own cards — only the cards of the other players! Can you give the right signals and interpret your teammates’ signals correctly to play everything in time?

To win, you need to complete six levels of play. For level 1, deal out ten cards from a deck numbered 1-40 as evenly as possible. Sort the cards face down (without showing anyone else) to stack the cards from low to high. Each player picks up their topmost card facing away from themselves so that it’s visible to everyone else, then someone starts the timer. Whoever has the lowest card must play it. How will they know? Tell them with your eyes! If they play the card correctly, they pick up their next card, then you all figure out who plays next; if not, restart the level, losing the game if you fail a second time.

If you complete the level by playing all cards correctly, add the special cards for level 2 — smile cards — and deal 13 cards. Special cards can be stacked anywhere in a player’s pile other than the topmost card. When a player holds a special card, that’s considered the lowest card in play. Each level adds new special cards, such as the mirror and a second copy of some number cards, and more cards dealt to players. Make it through 25 cards in one minute at level 6, and you win!

Durchmarsch is a press-your-luck dice game from Staupe in which 2-4 players attempt to march through (“durchmarsch”) a row of numbers on their player sheet:

Each player has a sheet of paper with four rows of numbers from 10 to 1. If you cross off all the numbers in a row, you win!

On your first turn, roll the eight dice, then see whether you can use two dice to sum to 10. If you can mark a 10, you either:

—Set aside one die, and roll the remaining dice, hoping that two dice add up to a 9; if so, mark the 9 in the current row, then make this decision again for the 8, and so on. You never set aside more than three dice in total.

—End your turn, passing all eight dice to the next player.

If you end your turn, on your next turn roll all eight dice and hope to mark off the leftmost unmarked number in your current row. To mark off 7-10, you need two dice that sum to this number; to mark off 1-6, you need one die that matches this number.

Image: Spellenclub Incognito

If you ever fail to mark off a number, mark the “misthrow” box at the end of the current row; next turn, roll the eight dice and hope to be able to mark the 10 in the next row down. If you have marked a misthrow in all four rows, start on the top row once again, trying to mark off the leftmost unmarked number. If you misthrow again in this row, mark through the row completely. If you mark through all four rows, you’re out of the game.

If any player crosses off all the numbers in a row, they win. If no one manages to cross off an entire row during the course of the game, whoever remains in the game the longest wins.

The Choice is another dice-rolling game from Staupe, with 2-4 players choosing how to use the dice results each turn:

In The Choice, each player receives a pen and a sheet of paper from the game pad. Each side of the paper shows an area with 13 hexagons, each filled with a number, surrounded by a ring of 16 hexagons, each filled with a color. Start on whichever side you want; you use both during play.

On a turn, the active player rolls three dice, then can re-roll any number of dice once. Each die has the numbers 1-6 with a different color on each side. After the roll, all players use these dice to mark off hexes on their sheet. For each die, you can use either the number or the color; additionally, you can sum numbers on the dice, which will be required since the numbers in the hexes go up to 12.

However, once you mark a colored hexagon, you can mark only the adjacent colored hexagons from that point on. Similarly, when you first mark a number, circle that number. The next number you mark must be in an adjacent hex; draw a line that connects this number to the circle. With each subsequent number marked, you must extend the line, never crossing it or revisiting a marked space.

Image: Suzan

If the active player can’t use all three dice, they mark a misthrow box on their sheet; the same is true for non-active players who don’t use at least two dice. When you mark all three misthrow boxes, flip your sheet, then start marking the other side on the next turn; you can also choose to flip your sheet before you get three misthrows.

When any player has three misthrows on their second side, the game ends, and players tally their points for each side, summing those values. The more hexes you mark off, the better your score!

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