Lutz Stepponat





G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

Once again, let us go back to a medieval fantasy land, with wizards, kings, murderers and burglars. Let us imagine several ambitious princes who fight for power and influence. And then let us become these princes in the game and send our mighty allies in battle to get the true tokens for power….

What sounds like the introduction to a mighty fantasy game, in truth is the beginning of an easy card game with a pleasant fantasy design. Every player gets his own deck of 25 cards, each showing a different ally. Randomly each player draws three of his cards as a starting hand.


Every round begins with placing as many target cards on the table as there are players involved. Beginning with the start player each player clockwise places an ally face down next to one of these targets and then draws a new ally from his stack. Whenever a new ally is placed on the table, the last ally which has been placed in the same row is revealed and - if this ally has a special ability - an action takes place. This goes on and on until there are the enough allies on all face up target cards to cause a scoring. The number of allies needed for a scoring is indicated on each target card and equals the value of the card. So for a target card with a value of three, at least three allies are required. Only when all target cards have enough allies, a scoring takes place, and as long as this condition is not reached it is also allowed to place allies to other target cards, even if there are already enough allies for a possible scoring.

All allies have a specific strength. If it comes to a scoring, the strength of the cards of every player next to a target card is summed up and the winner gets the target card. This process is repeated for each target card. After a scoring, all allies on the board are removed and new target cards are revealed. This way the game continues until there are no target cards left.

If this would be all, the game would be very simple and probably not worth to mention it. However, surprising effects come through the special abilities of the major part of the allies. On the one hand you have five different cards that have influence during the round of a game. So for an example, a storm signals that there are already enough cards in the row, ignoring the value given on the target card. Or a murderer will kill the last card played in a row instantly. Because the allies are not revealed before a new card is placed in their row, the effect of the card always is a surprise. On the other hand there are a lot of different cards that influence the scoring. Some cards have influences on other cards of the row; some others will give a bonus, if there is the right partner in the same row (Romeo and Juliet). And some will also change the scoring itself, so that the player with the smallest sum wins the target card. At the beginning this all is a bit confusing, because of the large amount of different allies. And even after some rounds it is still really difficult to predict what your opponents will do.

Kabale und Hiebe is a little card game with a nice design, especially of the fantasy artwork on the cards. Even players with less experience or older children will easily understand the game mechanism and will participate with the game quickly. Unfortunately the cards with different effects are very numerous and so to my mind the tactical elements are quite limited because advance planning is not really possible since luck plays a major role. Nevertheless the game is fun and surely worth having a look.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany