- Designer: Andrea Meyer
- Publisher: Bewitched Spiele
- Players: 3-4
- Ages: 12+
- Time: ~30 min
Stimmvieh is a game which has been re-released this year after a successful crowdfunding campaign. Designed by Andrea Meyer (from Bewitched Spiele) – this game has an unusual theme – players take on the role of political party secretaries, striving to collect both votes and donations for their party in the upcoming election.
I have played the first edition of the game, (back in 1998!), and I thought it was an interesting card game at the time. While I have not yet seen the new version in person, it appears that the base game is unchanged. There does appear to be some changes to the game as the original version had about 20 more cards in the deck…
The game itself is purely a card game. There are 4 suits of politician cards, numbered 1 to 9. There are also donation cards and vote cards (with a donation/vote value as well as an influence value that varies from 1 thru 9). Each player is given a reference card with a full breakdown of the distribution of cards – the distribution of values is not equal in the suits nor is it the same in each suit. At the start of the game, the vote cards and the donation cards are shuffled and placed in their own decks, with the top card visible on each. There is also a tableau of 4 donation cards face up on the table.
Each player chooses a color and takes the 9 politician cards of that color. Four of the cards are placed face down on the table to represent the major candidates for the party. The five remaining in your hand are referred to as your backbenchers.
In each round – and there are 9 total rounds in the game – you play one of your politicians (either a main candidate from the table or a backbencher from your hand). If you play a main candidate, you discard it near the vote stack, and if you play a backbencher, you discard it near the donation stack. You can then take a face up donation or vote cards from the table, but ONLY if the influence number on that card is equal or less than the number on your politician card. (Note: it is possible that you are not allowed to take a card.)
You may not take the face up card on the top of either draw stack though! Once you have taken your card, you then refill the display with a card: if you played a main politician, you put a vote card in the display; if you played a backbencher, then you put a donation card in the display.
As you collect cards, you make two face up stacks in front of you. You need to show the value of the most recently collected card as well as the total number of cards collected. Players will have to try to remember the values of the hidden cards though.
After 9 rounds, everyone will be out of politicians, and it’s time to score the game. The winner will be the player who has the most donations. But, there’s a twist. If you finished first or second in votes, you double the amount of your donations when you count.
Though it’s been awhile since I’ve played the game, I remember that the key to the game was trying to only take donations OR trying to get just enough votes to be able to double your donations. With only 9 rounds in the game, you really need to maximize each of the 9 cards that you get. Depending on how the display goes, there could also be a few turns when you don’t even get a card. Special care also needs to be given to manipulating the display – as you control which card will be added to the display based on what you play yourself – you might be able to influence what sort of card the next player in turn order can take as well.
The politician cards have a neat stylized look to them, and I am interested to see if they have pictures of real politicians or other German pop-culture icons (or backers from StartNext). I’m sure there are all sorts of inside jokes on the cards (I would expect nothing less from Andrea). I’m looking forward to my next chance to play the game to re-acclimate myself to the cutthroat world of German party politics.