Hans Dampf

This one, far more than the other two, demonstrates the potential pitfalls of the lightweight game. Produced by the erratic Editions Perlhuhn and designed by Reinhold Wittig who also has a patchy record, this is a spectacular game to look at but offers next to nothing in play. The theme is, unbelievably, traction engine racing. The components are first rate - packed in a tube, engines and pieces superbly made of wood and a shiny, thick board. Play, though, is weak to say the least. Two sets of four traction engines start at opposite ends of a spiral track that has random blocking pieces in place. The aim is to get to the other end of the track first. Each player rolls a special die (3,4,5,5,6,6) to move forward a number of squares. If he can't make his full move due to obstructing blocks or other engines, he must give pieces of coal to the other players which can be used by them as a 'turbo' move or to remove a blocking piece. That's it. It's fascinating. Fifteen quid to you, squire.

Sumo - Mike Siggins