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By Toutatis! These Romans are crazy!

August 12, 2013

I’ve had a copy of Asterix das Kartenspiel (Asterix the Card Game) for something approaching 20 years, most of that languishing unplayed on a shelf. It’s not been languishing because it’s a bad game, just because it keeps getting overlooked. Very recently, however, Miss B discovered the Asterix books and so the game’s time had come…

So, that's another centurion captured by little druid Getafix.

So, that’s another centurion captured by little druid Getafix.

The game is basically a simultaneous bid auction, where players all have a hand of numbered cards (bearing a picture of their chosen Gaul from the books: Asterix, Obelix, etc) and play one of these face down in an attempt to win (or not) the Roman card that has been turned up. Whoever plays the highest card captures the Roman, which is worth a certain amount of victory points. You get bonuses for sets of Romans, and there are pirates who make Romans escape at the end of the game, plus everyone has a Dogmatix card that gives them a special action instead of their bid, but only if only one Dogmatix is played that turn.

There’s not really much to this game, but there doesn’t need to be as it is pretty quick and slick. There can be a nice bit of bluffing and guesswork as you try to build the most valuable sets of captives or force the pirates on your opponents. All good stuff, and the Asterix theme seems to have really captured Miss B’s imagination.

I gather this was released in English in the dim and distant past, but our copy is in German, which isn’t a problem, though the names of some of the characters don’t match up with what we are used to: e.g. Crismus Bonus is Gaius Bonus — which, unless I am missing something (entirely possible, my German is vestigial at best) suggests to me that the German translators of the stories took the punning names less seriously than the English translators.

We’ve had a few plays of this so far, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it finds a place in the pile of regular go-to games.

The verdict from Miss B (aged 6½): “Asterix are really good books but I think the game’s even better.”

The game: Asterix das Kartenspiel (FX Schmid), 2 to 5 players aged 8+.

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