Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Author: Michael Rieneck

Publisher: KOSMOS 2004



G@mebox author Marco Klasmeyer writes about the game:


As the title Around the world in 80 days might suggest, this game is related to the famous Jules Verne novel. The players take the role of adventurers from a famous club in London who have placed a bet to travel around the world within 80 days. To be successful you have to plan precisely your travelling route by train and ship. To be the best and to win the deal you have to be in the right place at the right time to catch the fastest train or ship. Now and then it is quite clever to take a balloon as well. However, an ambitious detective might hinder the adventurers with his investigations and will completely screw up the travel plans. But unforeseeable events will sometimes bring never expected opportunities.


The game consists of a world map with 10 locations the players have to visit, 60 travel cards, 15 event cards, 24 gold chips, 18 bonus chips, one detective figure, one dice, 6 time markers and 6 wooden tokens, one for each player. [IMAGE] The world map is surrounded by a time counter frame divided into - as you might guess - 80 days. Next to each location on the world map two bonus chips are placed: a red one, which is destined for the adventurer arriving first, and a blue one, which is destined for the adventurer arriving last. These bonus chips provide for instance additional travel cards or gold or they delay the travel of the opponents.

The 60 travel cards display either picture of a ship or a train and have a card value representing the number of days it takes for travelling with this medium of transport. Possible values are 2 to 6 days for trains and 4 to 8 days for ships. At the beginning of a turn the start player places - depending on the number of players (3-6) participating - 4, 5 or 6 travel cards below an action field at the border of the world map. Hence each travel card is related to an action field. Please note that not all action fields are needed if less than 5 players participate.

The action fields are:

  1. The player can take one gold coin.
  2. The player may use the balloon during his turn.
  3. The player can draw an event card.
  4. The player may move the detective figure to an arbitrary location (except for London).
  5. The player will become the next start player (cannot be chosen by the current start player).
  6. The player may exchange up to three travel cards (discard any and draw a new one from the supply stack).

The start player begins the round and performs the following actions:

  • Choose one travel card and maybe perform the related action.
  • Travel from one location to the next or stay at the current location.
  • Maybe get two days delay (move marker on the time counter frame) due to the detective when he is at the same location at the end of his move.
  • Maybe reduce cards on the hand to the limit of six.
Then the players take their turn in clockwise order. If no player selects the next start player action, the player next to the previous start player becomes the new one.

[IMAGE] Travelling from one location to another is defined by the symbols on the board between two locations, which can be any combination of ships and trains, but not more than three in total. An adventurer needs to play the required travel cards and must advance the sum of all card values in days on the time counter frame. There are two exceptions: If a player has two equal travel cards (type and value!) for this travel, only one card value counts. If the player can use the balloon this turn, one normal travel card value can be replaced by a dice roll (1-6) for the balloon. Please note that the travel card (i.e. vehicle type) itself can not be replaced by the balloon. Thus the requirements for the travel must still be fulfilled and the player has to discard the required amount of travel cards. Travelling from Bombay to Calcutta cannot be done by vehicles at all. The travel takes a fixed period of 12 days or a dice roll of days fewer, if the player has an elephant event card.

The game has a very fair and interesting ending: All players who have managed to arrive again in London within 80 days or less are called winners. But the player arriving first is not automatically the winner, because the number of days he has needed for his travel is the measure-scale. Among all potential winners the one with the smallest number of travel days wins the bet (and is the official winner of the game) but the others are also well honoured members of this London club. When the first player has returned to London again, all other players will get a day penalty for each turn the need to reach London.


As this game simulates a race, efficient travelling becomes essential. Unfortunately there are fast and slow vehicles among the travel cards. So collecting and using travel cards cleverly in combination with special event cards will bring you the most success and best time saving. One difficulty in this game is that a player has to draw a travel card even if it is an unattractive card. Unless you are with five or six players, there is no possibility to get rid of those unattractively slow travelling vehicles with the special exchange action. So the normal way is to play this card in turns and passages where it brings a minimum delay. Maybe it is not that bad to play two ship cards with the value of 8, because this passage costs only 8 instead of 16 days due to the equal-cards-rule. Loosing a round waiting for better cards next turn won't cause any delay on the time counter frame. Another opportunity is to use a slow vehicle when you can use the balloon in your turn, in worst case you will spend 6 days for this passage.

Due to the very fair ending of the game, there are no real losers except those adventurers who have wasted a lot of time during their world tour. With this mechanism Around the world in 80 days is especially a good game for families.

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Copyright © 2004 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany