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Auf Heller Und Pfennig

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Doug Adams writes:

Designer: Reiner Knizia
Publisher: Hans Im Gluck
Players: 2-4
Playing Time: 45 minutes

Heller image

Auf Heller Und Pfennig is a simple, but clever tile placement game. The object of the game is to make money by placing your market stalls in the best positions in the town square, while avoiding the trouble spots which can hurt sales.

The board depicts the town square, which is made up of 30 spaces in six rows of five. The terms "row" and "column" here are important, and players must be mindful of the fact that each space in the town square is in a row AND a column.

A set of 22 tiles are mixed face down before the start of the game. The bulk of the tile mix is made up of customers. There are 12 'good' customers, of values 1 to 6 (two of each value), and 6 'bad' customers, of value -1 to -6. Good customers attract business, which earns you money. Bad customers drive business down, losing you money.

Players are handed a set of market stall counters, or 'markets'. The markets have values of 1, 2, 3 or 4. Your 3 and 4 markets are your most valuable, and where you expect to make the most profits.

At the start of the game each player draws a tile and keeps it face down in front of them. Each player receives 50 Hellers in cash. The game is ready to begin.

A turn is simplicity itself. On your turn you may do one of the following actions:

  • You may draw a tile from the face down pool and place it on any unoccupied space on the board.
  • You may pick up your face down tile and place it on any unoccupied space on the board (once only).
  • You may select one of your markets and place it on any unoccupied space on the board.

A round ends when each of the 30 spaces contains a tile or market counter. Cash is then paid out according to where the customers and markets have been positioned, as follows. There are 11 rows and columns in total (6+5). For each of these 11 rows and columns, the customers values are summed to get a net result which may be positive or negative. This result is multiplied by the value of any markets any players have in that row/column to determine the amount of cash gained (if positive) or lost (if negative).

For example, say Fred has a '3' value market in a row where there are customers of value +6, +4, -1, -2 - this is a net total of +7. Fred earns 21 Hellers in cash (market value of 3 multiplied by 7). Not too bad! If the net total had been -7, then Fred would have lost 21 Hellers.

There are some special tiles that make the situation in the town square a bit more interesting:

  • Fires: There are two fire tiles. What the fires do is split the row and column that intersects it into two smaller sections each. Tiles in the same row and column, but on the far side of the fire, are not counted in evaluating earnings at the end of a round.
  • Coin bags: The coin bag tile will double the profit or loss of the row and column that the tile intersects.
  • Evil Eye: The evil eye tile is very nasty. It scares away the good customers, leaving only the bad. Only negative scores count on the row and column this tile intersects.

After a round is completed, the board is cleared. The players get their 1 value markets back, but the others once played are removed from the game. Therefore, they should be played cautiously, as an early 4 value market on the board seems to attract bad customers and the evil eye as if it were magnetized!

Two more rounds are played in identical fashion to the first round. The game ends after the third round, and the player with the most Hellers wins. A fine game with some interesting decisions, and one that we play regularly at Billabong Boardgamers.

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