RAZZIA - Reviewed by Mike
Category/Format: Business/card Game
When writing this review I must declare a vested interest, as this is one of the few games that I seem to consistently do well at (a rare occurrence I can tell you! ). It's a smashing game for closing a session, taking about 30-40 minutes for 6 players but up to 8 players can play.
The game consists of 6 small boards edged in a certain colour which represent gambling dens in the 1930's, the graphics consisting of guys in trilby hats and gangsters molls with long blonde hair draping themselves around them.
There are some tokens representing different amounts of dollars, ranging from $5,000 to $50,000.
There is also a deck of cards, again edged in the same colours as the gambling dens, on which are depicted either gangsters or policemen. In the corner of each card is a dice symbol, which is used to resolve conflict later on.
Certain cards are removed from the card deck to reflect the number of players and the remainder are shuffled and 5 cards dealt to each player. The money tokens are shuffled face down and sorted into piles of 7.
The game is played in a series of rounds and will end when there are no more piles of money tokens left. The turn leader will take a pile of 7 tokens and without looking at the values will place 1 token face up in each of the 6 gambling dens. They will examine the 7th token and then place that in a den of their choice.
All players will now examine their cards and select one and place it FACE DOWN in front of them. When all players have selected their cards they are revealed simultaneously and the hands resolved as follows:
a) If a player has selected the only gambler to visit a particular den AND there is no policeman present, they take all the money that is under that den.
b) If more than one player sends a gambler to this den then negotiation takes place. The player whose card has the higher dice symbol can offer a deal to the other player, to split the proceeds according to the token distribution. For example, there could be 3 tokens under a den of $50,000, $10,000 and $5,000, a grand total of $65,000. Player A might offer the $5,000 to player B and keep the $60,000. Player B might refuse this and challenge Player A to a duel. Or Player B might request the $10,000 not to fight. If they decide to duel each throws a single die and adds the number thrown to the symbol on their card. Highest aggregate wins the lot; ties are resolved in favour of the underdog. So if Player B's card had a 2 on it to Player A's 5 a duel is unlikely, but if they were 4 to a 5 Player B might fancy his chances!
c) If a player plays the only policeman to visit a particular den, AND there are gamblers present, they get to take all the loot there. However if there are NO gamblers present the policeman has wasted his time and gets nothing . The money stays in the den and it will be added to next round. This way the money at a particular den rises until won.
d) If more than one player sends a policeman to the same den where there are gamblers they negotiate or duel as explained in b) above.
A round ends when all 5 cards have been played. The turn leader passes to the left, who shuffles all the cards again and deals 5 to each player and then takes the next pile of 7 money tokens and distributes these amongst the dens.
On the conclusion of the last round players add up their money tokens and the one with the highest aggregate is the winner.
Although this is a lightweight game I think there is some strategy involved. I don't always go for the den with the biggest money unless I've got a card with at least a 5 on it, as other players will also think of visiting there and I want to have a good chance in any duel that might take place. I also wait and see if the policeman in that colour has already been played .
I tend to play cards for dens in the lower values, often picking up $10,000 and $20,000 tokens without challenge and if you can do this on say 4 out of the 5 cards you can make $50-70,000 profit per turn, a useful figure as the game is often won with around $300,000.
Nicely produced, which you expect from Ravensburger, and if you see this about, make them an offer they can't refuse.