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So on hearing the name of the game is STAMPEDE whose imagination immediately went to Buffalo/Cows being run across the Wild Western plains by Gauchos and Cowboys? A wagon Train with Rowdy Yates riding as scout, and rustlers aplenty attempting to run off the best breeders in the stock. I know that was my first thought. In fact it is 20 minutes of fun for 2-6 players.

I couldn't have been more wrong! STAMPEDE, as the game's title, is a play on words, for it is an entertainment about Stamp (yes, Postage Stamps) collecting. The aim of the philatelers - the players - is to collect either a set of Nine different Animal stamps or five stamps showing the same animal; all the stamps show illustrations of well known and loved, mostly African, animals.

STAMPEDE is card game in a box twice as large as it need be so that it gets a fair space on the game stores or the players shelves. This means it will force itself into your eyeline rather than skulk away in a box or drawer like so many card games in regular card deck boxes - I have several drawers of such games and to my shame it is often a case of out of sight, out of mind.

The artwork, from Shutterstock, is impressively different and has that commercial African appearance. I don't know a lot about Shutterstock but it seems that anyone paying for their services can use the artwork they have in their data banks freely, thus anyone else could use this same artwork without fear of copyright difficulties.

There are Nine Animals, Ten cards for each. Each card shows 2 animals on its front but only one of them on its business side. Thus when you view a card face down you may be looking at a brightly coloured Parrot and a Hippo that, going by the 'make-up' looks like she's ready for a night out clubbing.At the top of the card, still face down are the same two portraits, smaller and in both top corners. There is no clue as to which animal will be active on the flip side. On this card the Hippo is on the flip side, along with the Action associated with it.

The Nine Animals will be found in all formations of mix up on the cards, but the Action for each Animal remains the same throughout, thus the Hippo being played face up would allow the player to exchange a card from your hand with one card from an opponent's stamp album; Elephants allow you to change a card from your hand with one in your own stamp album. I'm not going to list all the actions so I'll just say 9 animals, 9 actions.

Each player begins with 5 randomly dealt cards. The first three of these becomes the player's hand, the other two cards are positioned face-up in front of them to begin their stamp collection. The rest of the cards are the draw pile, three of which are taken from the top and placed face-up underneath the deck's position to form the Stamp Exchange.

That's the setup and the main 'luck'  part of the game, now it's down to how the players use the cards they have been dealt. A start player is chosen by whatever means suits - last one to visit a Post Office, last one to have posted a letter, last one to have their foot stamped on, whetevr suits your sense of fairplay; there is no advantage to going first.

On their Turn each player takes the top card from the draw pile and adds it to their hand. Then they take a card from their hand and play it to their Stamp Album - finally they activate the Action of the card they placed in their Stamp Collection (Album) - the Action must be taken, and thus the players should choose the cards they play very carefully.

The gameplay then follows and flows with players obtaining cards, building their Album collection and searching for the correct Stamps to win the game. It's not a complicated mechanic as long as you remember that at the end of each Turn, the player has 3 cards in their hand and their Stamp Collection has grown by one additional card.

It isn't a mind melter but it has that certain quaintness that is often associated with stamp collecting. Philately will, in this case, definitely get you somewhere.

STAMPEDE (2020) is from the 20 Years of WizKids range. It is designed by Jeroen Geenen and aimed at players of 10 years old and greater, though mechanically there is nothing an 8 year old who plays games regularly would have difficulty with. It retails around $20.00/£20.00 though an internet search should knock that down by about $5.00/£5.00 ish.

Checkout your local bricks n mortar Game Store before searching online


© Chris Baylis 2011-2021