by Sean J.
Abluxxen by Michael Kiesling and Wolfgang Kramer is is an addictive, climbing trick taking game. I recently got a chance to play it at a conference and it’s simple rules, quick playtime and a pinch of ‘take-that’ made it a real hit for me.
There aren’t exactly suits in this game, just numbers. The card range from one to thirteen with eight of each number. There are also five wild cards that can be played by themselves as 14’s or combined with any card to strengthen a turn.
Right off the bat Abluxxen is an attractive game. It’s not super fancy art, but the cartoon foxes are cute and the rainbow of colours you can see (not necessarily a good thing) when you pick up your cards and fan them out for the first time make for an eye-catching game.
Each player is dealt out 13 cards and six face up cards make a drawing stock.
On your turn you play a set of one to eight cards from your hand of the same number. Those cards stay in front of you for end game points. Play continues around until someone plays a set of the same number of cards and of a higher value than someone else had on the previous round. For example, if you play two 2’s and it’s followed by three 3’s nothing happens. However, if the next player lays down two 5’s that triggers a snatching.
When a snatching occurs the player who laid down the higher set gets to decide whether they want to take the lower set into their hands. If so, they take them and the victimized played gets to draw back the same number of cards as they lost from either the face-up stock or the deck. If they don’t want the lower set then the victim can either take the cards back into their hand or discard them and replenish their hand from the deck or the stock.
The game ends when the deck runs out or someone runs out of cards. You get one point for every card played in front of you and lose a point for every card in your hand. That’s it!
Abluxxen is supposed to be played over several rounds to average out scores. It can be tough to overcome a particularly bad hand , but don’t worry, you won’t mind. This is the game begs to be played over and over. If you like trick taking games, you should definitely check this one out.