Auf Heller & Pfennig

Game by Reiner Knizia.

Published by Hans Im Gluck.

Review by Bob Scherer-Hoock (, July 20, 1994.

I think this is the best new game of the year that I've seen thus far. It's for 2 to 4 players. The board is a 6 x 5 grid that represents a marketplace. On your turn you can play either a tile or a scoring marker on a grid space.

The tiles represent people in the marketplace. There are two each of +1 through +6 representing Kings, Queens (the highest), Peasants, etc., buying wares from the marketplace. There are one each of -1 through -6 representing Thieves, Tax Collectors and others in the marketplace who cut into profits. Each player is dealt one of these tiles at the start; the rest are played via a blind draw.

The scoring markers are the same for each player; there are four worth 1, three worth 2, and one each of 3 and 4 (I think; I may not have this quite correct). These represent places in the marketplace where you are selling goods.

On a turn the choice is to play a scoring marker and thus claim a grid square, play the known tile that you were dealt at the start, or draw a hidden tile which then must be played on the grid. A round ends when the grid is filled with scoring markers or tiles.

A round is scored by adding and subtracting the value of the tiles played in each row and column in which you've played a scoring marker, and then multiplying that total by the value of the scoring marker. Three rounds make a game.

Two other rules require constant consideration. One is that only the scoring markers with a value of 1 are returned at the end of a round; the higher values are only good once during the entire game. And there are four special tiles of three types; 1 eliminates all positive values in the row and column it is played, 1 doubles the total value of the row or column in which it sits (good if the other tiles in the row or column are +, quite bad if they are minus) and 2 serve to split the row and column at the point they're played so that scoring is separate on either side.

The game is an abstract game with a theme that puts it in the board game realm. It has excellent player interaction as each tile played affects not just that player but all others who have scoring markers in that row and column.

The Game Cabinet - - Ken Tidwell