Knizia’s Drahtseilakt reviewed in Finnish.

Drahtseilakt is a Knizia trick-taking game from 1999, republished in 2004 as Relationship Tightrope by Überplay. This review is based on the original German edition. Based on pictures, the new edition looks great, but I find the new theme of relationship stereotypes slightly offending and a definite turn-off.

Balancing act

The original edition, however, has a great theme. Drahtseilakt means Tightrope and that’s what you do: the game is constant balancing from one side to the other. In each trick, two players will score: the players with the lowest and the highest card. High card will get positive points, low card negative. You aim for zero.

Each hand is nine rounds and each round has different value between one and nine. Thus, if you happen to win the positive points on nine-point round, you better aim for the eight negative points to balance that off. Of course, you can try to avoid every trick, but when both low and high card will score, avoiding tricks altogether is very… tricky.

Good trick-taking

Drahtseilakt qualifies as a good trick-taking game, because there are relatively few bad hands. You can usually manage with any kind of hand, if you just play it right. Even if you’re dealt a really bad hand, there’s an escape: if you can score a zero on a later round, you can erase your score from an earlier round.

Drahtseilakt is a nice game. Not great, but as a casual trick-taking game that’s easy to learn and to play, it works well. The old version has nice French-style comic art and red and blue wooden sticks (like Catan roads) for keeping the score. I recommend getting the original version if possible (it might be hard to find), but if you don’t mind the theme, the Relationship Tightrope edition is a good choice as well.

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