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



Adam Kaluza


No. of Players:
2 - 5



Gamebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

It was in the year 2010 when REBEL.pl has published the entertaining and successful mountaineer game < b>K2. This game was nominated for many honours, and so it’s no surprise that it has been enhanced even further by a promo-expansion and a full-sized expansion set. In the following years, many players asked for even more content, and so designer Adam Kaluza created another mountaineer game in 2013. In K2 it was the second highest mountain of the world that had to be mastered, whereas the new game now is focused on the highest mountain of the world. But despite the different setting Mount Everest was rumored to be based on the successful playing mechanism found in K2, and so I was expecting a similar game with only light alterations.

The first surprise was that other than in K2 we do not take lead of an experienced team of mountaineers, but instead we lead a group of inexperienced tourists who want to be guided to the top of the mountain. As a matter of fact the top of the highest mountain of the world is much easier to reach than the second highest and so the tourism business has identified Mount Everest as a market niche for rich tourists long ago. In this day and age a lot of people are looking for “the real thrill” and so it is no wonder that in the game – like in reality – we find experienced climbers next to inexperienced, normal tourists, who spend a lot of money to get the support needed to reach the top of the world.


In the game each player takes the control of two experienced guides who work for the same company. Each one can carry camps and oxygen tanks and support clients on their way up the mountain. For this each guide gets his own board that shows what the guide is actually carrying and which tourists he guides. Of course, there is only limited space for supplies, and in addition a guide carrying a heavy burden cannot guide as many clients as a guide who doesn't. A guide is allowed to exchange clients, oxygen and camps only in the base camp and in locations with mobile camps, and so planning the next two or three steps in advance is one of the most important things in the game. If you lead your tourists in regions without any supply, it will be hard to keep them alive.

The aim of the game is to lead as many clients as possible to the top of the mountain and down again. To reach this aim, it is extremely important to accustom the tourists to the height, thus giving them a high acclimatization level. This is best done in the lower heights, where there is still enough oxygen. In these regions the tourists gain acclimatization points up to their maximum level at the end of each round. In the higher regions however the clients loose acclimatization points and if the acclimatization level of a client drops below the minimal value of “1” he will die. Here we will find the difference between normal tourists and experienced climbers which can also be taken as clients. Normal tourists can only reach an acclimatization level of “4”, whereas the experienced climbers can reach a level of “6”. That makes it much easier to guide a group of experienced climbers to the top than normal tourists. But, of course, the normal tourist is normally the one who is willing to pay more money, and so more victory points will be awarded for guiding a normal client to the top of Mount Everest. This brings us to the next tactical decision: is it better to lead a larger group of experienced climbers or a smaller number of normal tourists?

The decision depends on our Movement cards and the weather. The Movement cards determine the players’ possibilities to move their guides (and their clients) up and down the mountain. Every round we choose three cards out of six to form our hand for the round. The other three cards are put aside for the next round, and so you will know what your hand will be like in the next round. The three Movement cards can be used for both guides, so you have to decide whether you only want to move one of them or both. Sometimes this decision is obvious, because a space on the board may only take a certain number of guides (depending on the altitude), so that a path can be blocked. Two (hard side of the board) or three (easier side) different passages can be taken, but if you have your two guides at the same altitude and on the same passage, a space can easily be blocked by another player's guide.


Like in reality the weather plays a major role, too. A weather forecast of randomly drawn Weather tiles tells us how hard it becomes to stay in specified altitude zones in the following rounds. The result of a Weather tile ranges from the loss of some acclimatization points in specified altitude zones to “no effect” in other zones or even an interdiction of moving. Again, it is extremely important to take the weather into account for the planning of your next steps, because otherwise this may result in a loss of clients and - of course - a loss of victory points.

Last but not least there are the camps and the oxygen tanks. The camps serve as waiting areas where you can “park“ your clients until you can bring them to higher regions or if you wish to fetch more equipment with your guides. If located in a lower region clients in a camp can quickly get new acclimatization points each round, because a camp provides for one additional point per round. The oxygen tanks on the other hand are important for the higher regions. For every oxygen tank we can replace one of our current Movement cards with an Oxygen card. If such a card is played, we can give our clients a specified number of extra acclimatization points. Using this mechanism it becomes possible to bring the acclimatization level for normal tourists to a higher total than “4” until the end of the round. This comes quite handy when going to the top of the mountain or if a client needs an extra refreshment. However, oxygen tanks should be used carefully, because an exchanged Movement card is completely removed from game and Oxygen cards also count for a player’s hand limit.

During the first two or three turns Mount Everest seemed to be an easy card-driven game. However, this changed dramatically when I reached the higher regions and saw my first clients drop out of the game because their oxygen levels dropped below the required minimum. So I learned the hard way that a good preparation is necessary to safely reach the top of the mountain and come back again. In fact, the game really evokes the feeling of taking part in an expedition. To win the game it is necessary to bring both of your guides into action. In most cases it is clever to use one guide to lead new clients to the acclimatization zones and to get new supplies to the higher regions and the second to lead the clients to the top. In comparison to K2 I think that Mount Everestmust be played even more tactical. That makes it more difficult to win for an inexperienced player, but on the other hand it is not too complex so that new players easily will find into the game.

All in all, Mount Everest is a worthy successor of the innovative mountaineer game K2, and it offers enough originality to justify its own shelf-space right next to the older game. Even more, fans of K2 may be happy to hear that Mount Everest, even though it is a stand-alone game, can be combined with K2 by using a Mount Everestgameboard together with the rules of K2. This makes the game interesting both for players who already possess K2 and for those who don’t!

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Copyright & copy; 2013 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany