aka BURIED TREASURE
aka HIGH SPIRITS WITH CALVIN & THE COLONEL
If you're read my description of METROPOLIS, do you remember where I said there that some games just seem to have their themes grafted on arbitrarily? Well, this is a perfect case. DAS SUPER-BLATT is a game about tabloid journalism, but it could just as easily have been a game about lawn fertilizing or insurance sales. In fact, the good people at FX Schmid USA have recently re-released it as a game about pirate treasure! This, however, doesn't detract from the fact that this is a very clever little abstract card game.
There are some new twists added to DAS SUPER-BLATT to make it into BURIED TREASURE. However, according to one Candida Polanto-Aponte of FX Schmid, the changes were made by "FX Schmid staff," and are not from Sackson himself. However, these consist of additional cards and additional rules listed under "Advanced Rules," and if you play with the standard game, it's the classic Sackson DAS SUPER-BLATT. This game, however, is noteworthy for being issued by an American arm of a German company, and this practice should be encouraged! Hunt this down and buy it!
In either version, reading of the rules can be deceptive. You could easily do that and assume that this is a quick little no-brainer, and yet nothing could be further from the truth.
There are 54 "Scoop cards" with 4 categories. 15 Sex cards, 14 Crime cards, 13 Sports cards, and 12 Business cards. The game is played in three rounds, and 18 of the cards are used in each round. There are also four Trend Cards, with one being used per round, and one going unused. For each round, the 18 cards are dealt out on the table in a tableau similar to the traditional Patience solitaire layout. The Trend Card for the round gives you the point values awarded at the end of the round for the players who have the most cards in each category. For instance, one such card tells you that 10 points go to the player with the most Sex cards, and 5 go the the runner-up. Crime is worth 8 for first place, and 4 for second. Sports is worth 6 for first place, and 3 for second, and Business is worth 4 and 2.
Simply, play consists of taking the bottom card from any of the 4 columns in the tableau. However, some cards let you steal additional cards from other players, or take cards in the same category if they're exposed in the tableau. So you find yourself doing a lot of "if I take that one, then he can take this one" thinking, and it gets quite strategic.
At the end of the round, the scores are added up, and a new Trend Card is in place with the categories shuffled around. However (and this wasn't clear in my first reading of the rules), the cards you've accumulated in the first and second rounds stay in front of you and are added to the scoring. So, if you take a lot of Business cards in the first round in which they're only worth 4 points, and then they're worth 10 points for the leader at the end of the second round, you have a major leg up there. The twist here is that if two players tie for first or second place, they cancel each other out and get no points at all!
The first incarnation of this game was called HIGH SPIRITS WITH CALVIN AND THE COLONEL, and was Sackson's first published boxed game It came out in 1962, the same year ACQUIRE was first published. In case you're wondering who Calvin and the Colonel were, well... it's an interesting story. CBS owned the rights to "Amos and Andy," and although the show became controversial because of the perceived stereotypical depictions of African-Americans, no one could deny that the scripts were very, very funny. So, they decided to get the original voices of Amos & Andy, use the original scripts, and make it a cartoon series about animals, figuring that the Animal Rights movement was still decades away. Regardless, the show tanked, and it took the game with it into obscurity. Too bad, too, since it's not a bad little game, as evidenced by the fact that it lasted two years longer than the show! Certainly light years better than most TV or movie tie-in games.
As DAS SUPER-BLATT, it was first published by FX Schmid in 1992, and is, to the best of my knowledge, still available there under that name; and by FX Schmid USA in 1999 as BURIED TREASURE, and it shouldn't be hard to find either for a reasonable price.
Simple, elegant, challenging and fun. All of the hallmarks of the Great Games of Sid Sackson.
(Note: There's a totally unrelated game by Sackson, also called BURIED TREASURE, that can be found in his book, BEYOND SOLITAIRE. I wonder if the FX Schmid people knew of this when they named their remake of DAS SUPER-BLATT? And to further confuse matters, Sackson describes a game by Ronald Corn that's also called BURIED TREASURE in his book, CARD GAMES AROUND THE WORLD!)
Click to see if Funagain Games has DAS SUPER-BLATT or BURIED TREASURE.
And now, another one you can actually get here in the US... "Samarkand!"