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



Pau Carles, Sergio Vaquero

Ediciones Primigenio

No. of Players:



G@mebox author Lutz Wildt writes about the game:

We are in a post-apocalyptic time. People fight in different groups for the survival of their population. Food, electricity and construction materials are in short supply. To make matters worse, the evil forces are growing stronger and stronger and threaten the cohabitation of the groups. After a short shock and the question: "Oh my God, what happened? Is this the result of the Corona pandemic?" one fortunately realizes that this is only the setting of RatVille, a game from EDICIONES PREMIGENIO. To make it a little more unappetizing, the author Pau Carles has banished the players who take the role of leaders of a group of survivors into the sewers where they have to stand up to a horde of wandering creatures. In order to have a chance to survive, the leaders must use the strengths and abilities of the single group members in a most effective way. This is the only chance to gather enough resources for expanding the infrastructure and knowledge for a growing population.

The group consists of an illustrious collection of seven different characters. Each one convinces with unique skills that are needed for the further existence of mankind. The strange gathering consists of a priest, a collector, a builder, a geek, a ragged boy, a fighter and a hunter. While the one person with good spiritual abilities tries to influence the fortunes of the group, another person with light hands excepts the task to plunder in order to create enough basics for builders and computer freaks who create buildings and objects that offer protection and reinforcement.


RatVille is a dice game in which the players try to be the first one to reach a population (victory points) of at least 20. A round consists of 5 phases, the Initial Phase, the Planning Phase, the Action Phase, the Population Phase and the Final Phase. In the Initial Phase, the starting player draws one loot card (the resources to be distributed are placed in boxes) and one wandering creature card per player (these are placed in the middle of the table). Each player has four dice at disposal that are rolled at the beginning of the Planning Phase. Each die is then assigned to one of the above-mentioned group members of the player's population by placing the die on the (face-down) character card. The result of each die roll determines the actions that will be performed by the corresponding characters in the Action Phase. Four dice for seven characters? This means that in each round, only part of the group actions can be used for the population's survival. To make it even more difficult, using the collector and the hunter is mandatory in each round. However, they also fulfil important functions for the group, as they are needed to collect resources and defeat the attacking creatures.

You might think that the results of the dice rolls also determine the order in which the characters perform their actions. But this is not true! All seven characters are simply called up in a fixed order. If a player has placed a die on a character when it is called up, the card is revealed and the matching action to the die is performed. For example, the first called character, the Preacher, can use any number (1 to 6) to raise another die by 2 as an action. For the mandatory Collector, however, the value of the die determines the order in which the players take resources from the boxes on the loot card. The player with the highest value may decide and choose the box first. The fifth card that is called up, the non-mandatory ragged boy, works quite similar, only in this case the order in which players may distribute the wandering creatures is determined. The player who has not played a die to this character must assign a remaining creature to himself. The optional use of the Ragged Boy needs to be well considered, because in this phase of the game it is decided if you receive a strong creature as an opponent from another player, or if you are the lucky one who can give a nasty creature to another player.

The cards number three and four are the Builder and the Geek that allow the player to take various resources depending on the number of the die. Alternatively, however, they can also use their building function to construct buildings or objects. These expansions give the player permanent advantages. Buildings provide the population in the Population Phase with population points, food resources, combat strength or other important protective functions. The objects created, on the other hand, are linked to a specific character and increase this character's abilities, strength, or generate resources if the character is activated in the Action Phase.

Last but not least, there is the Fighter and the mandatory Hunter. If the Fighter is assigned to a die roll value between one and five, the character supports the Hunter with two damage points in the fight against creatures. If however a six is assigned to the Fighter, he immediately destroys a creature (the strength of the creature does not matter) with the player taking a reward for that brave action. The Hunter the defender of the party and can destroy the attacking creatures! The number of the die assigned to the Hunter (increased by supporting Strength Points from the fighter or special buildings and objects) determines the wounds for the attackers. Any creature that receives as many damage points as indicated on the card dies and is discarded. After that, all surviving creatures fight back and destroy one or more population points for the defending player.

Blessed is the one who can fend off this counterattack! If not, a round like this can end up in a massive massaker. For this reason, it seems to be very important to generate enough combat strength in each round, and thus avoid being overrun by the creatures. However, this pure tactic to survive does not lead to victory. You must always remember that you should not only defend your population, but also expand and feed it in order to win the game. Therefore, it is quite important to have a look at the buildings and objects that can be created by the Builder and the Geek. Of course, using them in a round limits your defensive strength, but the gained properties and supports are repeatedly or sometimes even permanently helpful and indispensable for a sustainable expansion of the population. Because if you cannot feed the constantly growing population, you will lose one victory point for each missing necessary food during the population phase! The game immediately ends, when a player has reached 20 population points at the beginning of the Initial Phase.


The way to get there is not in a direct line as described before, because some adversities in the game have to be fended off. But since the game introduces these obstacles step by step, you can prepare for the bad news. Although some functions of buildings and objectives have to be looked up in the rulebook in the first games from time to time, the players can soon concentrate on diving into the underworld of the sewers and devote themselves to the game events and tactical considerations. All in all, the pictograms used on the game material are very easy to understand. It should be emphasised that both the game material and the very appealing post-apocalyptic graphics are of a very high quality. As can be seen in the pictures, the resources are beautifully designed with wooden components and the surfaces of the cards and other game materials are excellent. For me, this takes the well thought-out and exciting game to a higher level.  


RatVille is a clever combination between a card and dice game. The moment of luck brought by the dice is more than compensated by the necessary tactical considerations of the group members' commitment and the changing demands of the environment. The excitement of the game is generated by the uncertainty of what opportunities are available in the next round and what options your opponents use. In the various games I have played so far, no royal road has yet emerged. So RatVille felt to be different in each new game. Last but not least, there are some advanced game variants in which the score to be achieved is increased, the buildings are changed or the obligation to use Collector and Hunter is lifted.

Never thought I would say the following: Let's go to the sewers, an exciting adventure awaits me! Let's only hope that there is always enough toilet paper left!

[Gamebox Index]

Google Custom Search

Impressum / Contact Info / Disclaimer


Copyright © 2020 Ralf Togler & Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany