Galopp Royal

Invented by Klaus Teuber.
Published by Goldsieber.
Reviewed by Dirk Bock (bock@VSIKP0.UNI-MUENSTER.DE).

3 - 6 players
30 - 45 minutes

Gamers' eyes turn expectantly at the entrance of a new company. Goldsieber is the name of the new contestant and starts with four new boardgames invented by more or less well known game designers and offered at low prices.

One of those games was designed by Klaus Teuber, who has already claimed the Spiel des Jahres award three times. The first striking feature is the topic of Galopp Royal which, to my knowledge, has never before been used in a board game: sedan chair racing in absolutistic France! Six races promise rich rewards and the wealthiest team owner claims the title of victor in the end.

Sedan chairs are not known to move of their own accord and these rely on the services of four bearers to move the passenger to his goal. And where there are sedan chair races with prize money to be won, you can bet there will be pros in the business before you can say "Hey!" Several teams of bearers may be employed by the players to energize their vehicle but, at first, these teams are not well known. The bearers take the form of cards, one of which is revealed while the other three remain a mystery. The whole team is auctioned at once even though the buyer does not know the strength of the other atheletes.

For the first race every player has to have a team, of course. After each race two additional teams are offered as replacements.

The race itself is very simple. I place my four bearers on the cardboard sedan chair and roll a four sided die during my turn. The die roll designates the bearer who moves the chair in this round. He can move me 1, 2, 3, or 5 spaces forward or he can push me back two spaces so it is important to get a team without bad men. The first three finishers in each race earn rewards, the owner of the last sedan chair to cross the finish line may remove one bearer from each player's cardboard chair. The missing bearers are replaced by new ones drawn from the deck and the two replacement teams are auctioned off.

The game is a simple one, it runs fast and it's fun to play. It is one of those rare games which actually play better with less thean the maximum number of players. With six players the owners of the chairs coming in fourth and fifth place do not only miss the rewards but their teams get even worse when the player that finishes last removes one card from each of their teams. But without the reward their chances to get hold of one of the replacement teams are small indeed. The prize money rises from race to race and so do the bids during the auction.

I would call Galopp Royal a nice little game without any outstanding features. We have seen better efforts by Klaus Teuber, but Goldsieber will probably fare well with this game on the shrinking market in Germany. And this will be welcome after a promising debut.

The Game Cabinet - - Ken Tidwell