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



Author: Stefan Dorra

Publisher: KOSMOS 2005



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

Amazonas comes in one of Kosmosī big boxes. The players take over the roles of scientists, looking for exotic plants, animals and reptiles in the Amazonas area at the beginning of the 19th century. To fulfil this task the players establish research institutes at strategic important places near the villages.

The material of the game consists of a big board, wooden research insititutes, research tokens, coins, and several cards. The board shows an area of the Amazonas with villages that are connected by jungle paths and waterways. Each village has specific costs for the building an institute. These costs are labelled on the board too.

At the beginning each player draws a mission card, showing four villages of the map. In the end the players get minus points for every village on this card, where they have not established an institute. Then all players place one of there institutes on a village by paying the indicated amount of money. This starting point is enormously important, because all other institutes must be connected to this village. Next to the village a symbol indicates the specific kind of research that can be found here. The player takes a research token of the same kind and places it in front of him.

The game lasts 18 rounds. Each round consists of three phases. First the starting player draws an event for this round. There are positive as well as negative events that can for example block some all waterways on the map for this round.

In the next phase each player places one of his income cards face-down on the table. On the one hand this card shows how much income the player receives, and on the other the playing order for this round is determined. At a command all players turn round their cards simultaneously and say their income for this round. The income is the sum of the number on the income card and the number of research tokens of the player that have the same symbol as the symbol on the card. There are two exceptions to this rule. First there is a card with a value of 0, showing all five kinds of researches. With this card the player can decide which research field counts for him (naturally he choses the one of which he has the greatest number of research tokens). The card with the number six on the other hand shows an indio. With this card the player is safe from negative events in this round. But he may only add special indio cards to this card.

The players then receive their income, corresponding to the calculated sum from the last round. Players with enough money thereafter may build a new institute that must be connected by a jungle path or a waterway to another institute of the player. The first one who places an institute in a village always pays the smallest amount of money, all other players, who want to build in the same village must pay more.

During the game there can be several scorings. Whenever a player gets the last of the five different research tokens, he gains some victory points. In the end it is important that you have at least three of the same research tokens, because only for these tokens you gain victory points. Then all mission cards are revealed and a minus of three points must be added for every village in which the player did not succeed to build an institute.

As you can see, Amazonas is a simple game with very easy rules. The most important choice of the game is the placing of the starting institute. During the game you normally play the income card which gives you the highest sum at all. If you have enough money in the next phase you will build a new institute. And this is the only part in the game when you must think carefully about what your opponents could want, because with the right choice you can save a lot of money in the following phases (remember that it is always cheapest to be the first one in a village). The events that can influence the game are limited to four different kinds and to my opinion these are much too few. Game play can be very fast due to the easy rules. Probably Amazonas is a very nice game for families with younger children. For adults with higher expectations in games there are definitely too few tactics and strategy in the game. I also have the impression that the missions are not really well balanced. This could be a very big disadvantage, because the three minus points at the end of the game are hard to compensate. The design of the game is functional and does fit to the game quite reasonable. As always by Kosmos the the painting of the board and the cards is very nice.

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany