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Die Dolmengötter
Author: Thomas Odenhoven
Publisher: Eggertspiele
Year: 2005

review by


Rules serve a function! Otherwise we would not have noticed that the gameboard is supposed to depict a Celtic landscape and not an abstract grid composed by octagons, hexagons and quadrants with some strange signs at the edge, surrounded by a score track. In the middle of the polygons we find the numbers 3, 4 and 5 that do not represent the old Celtic airstrips for UFO's but are the factors with which the upper dolmen stone in the pile that has been put there is multiplied when rated; lower stones getting a lower factor. Eh? Yes, here ends or has already ended the moody description. Behind the enigmatic box cover illustration we soon find a game that, despite the forced efforts in the rules to try to create a moody setting, cannot veil to be a very abstract majority game.

At the start of a game, each player places three druids on the board, a fourth is placed on the score track. Every turn he can move one of these three, and when moved a cylinder in that players colour is placed on the empty spot. If there are two different colours in a circle, and one has a majority or has levelled it, that player may place a dolmen stone in the middle, even outside his turn. When the majority in any players turn is equalled, the concerning player may put a dolmen stone of the value of his choice blind under the pile; when he achieves the majority he may place a dolmen stone of his choice on top of the stack. Dependent on the amount of players, each player has a certain amount of dolmen stones which have numbers ranging from 1 to 4 on them. This number is one part of the quotation; the other is depicted in the center of the circle and ranges from 3 to 5.

When all postions in a circle are filled, that circle is rated. The number on the dolmen stone and the position within the pile results in the score for the players that have stones in the rated circle. Druids, we did not know it but it is a healthy and sport-loving little people, may jump over one or more own or foreign mates to the first empty spot. Also, at the edge of the board several rune signs are depicted that allow a druid to jump to the same sign on other side of the board - yes! didn't I say it: pure science fiction! When a druid gets isolated or when he mere feels to it, he may start to search for herbs; the druid is placed on his face, and any next turn he may fly to any empty spot on the board - oh no, I was mistaken; it must be a theme park then! Well...

The game is over when a player has placed his last cylinder or dolmen stone; the dolmen stones from all not complete circles are also rated if there are at least two different colours present. Twenty to thirty minutes have passed since game start and we ask ourselves: what is the meaning of all this, or the tactic? The large circles, of which the score of the upper stone will be multiplied by 5 will not find many too enthousiastic respondants when a first player has placed his cylinder there. At least the first two turns a player will make his move without really knowing what is the best - and there just isn't at that time, just to get the game started. It is this why the game seems to develop rather randomly and this goes even more in a two player game when both players are dependent from each other in scoring and will have to force a confrontation on a way too large board. Yes, 'Die Dolmengötter' is a nice game, but this qualification 'nice' could in some cases and against one's will turn out in a Judas kiss. We are simply not very impressed by this game. And a druid? We still see a Carcassone token on the board!
© 2005 Richard van Vugt

Die Dolmengötter, Thomas Odenhoven, Eggertspiele, 2005 - 2 to 4 players