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XNIMMT! is a remake of the excellent 6NIMMT!  That is a not quite true statement that I have heard this game accused of being. XNIMMT! is reminiscent of 6NIMMT! in the card playing mechanic, all players have to play a card face down in front of them and then once they are flipped over the person who played the lowest number has to play it against the nearest number to it ascending from those previously played. So for example if the three rows of cards ended with the numbers #17, #33, and #47 and you had played the card #46 you would have to place it against the #33 because the #17 is lower than the #33 and #47 is higher than #46 therefore the only logical place it can be played is next to the #33. In 6NIMMT! when the next card that has to be played is the sixth card in a row then the player has to pick up all 5 cards in that row and leave the card they just played as the starter card to begin a new row. 

 

In XNIMMT! instead of having three rows that can each hold five cards there are now three "Row" cards, a 3 (so the Row can have only 3 cards), a 4 (so the Row can have only 4 cards) and a 5 (so the Row can have only 5 cards). You might think that this would move the game along even faster but it doesn't, it does make for cards being collected quicker by the player. Here I should explain that in 6NIMMT! the players collect cards as explained, by laying the sixth card to a Row and the cards taken are placed in your own personal Bull Pen. At the end of the Round the number of Bull's Heads on them is counted, noted on a score pad and the cards are returned to the deck which is now shuffled and readied for the next Round. The game ends when one or more player's running total has reached/exceeded 66; the player with the lowest final total wins. This usually takes 4 or more Rounds depending on how many players there are and how the cards have been running off the deck. Depending on the colour of the card there are 1 or more Bull Heads; White have 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 5 and the 55 is special as it is the only one with 7 Bull Heads.

Xnimmt! also uses the Bull's Heads on the cards as points but there is a difference in how they are collected. When you have to take a Row of cards with more than one card in the Row, you select one of the cards and place it to the right of your X card (all players are given an X card at the start of the game which is placed in front of them); the remainder of the collected cards are put in your hand; as you are trying to empty your hand of cards this doesn't particularly help. When playing cards onto the X Row they have to be laid in Ascending order, Left to Right. If you cannot add an ascending card then the cards in your X Row are all put into your Bull Pen (placed to one side in a stack) and the selected card begins the X Row again. When one player has used all the cards in their hand the Round ends. You add up all the Bull Heads in your Bull Pen and double their value (ie 2 points per Bull Head), you then add up all the Bull Heads on the cards in your hand and they are at face value, 1 point per Bull Head, add both totals together and make a note on a score sheet (not supplied). All cards are then shuffled and a new Round begins; the game ends after the second Round is concluded, both sets of scores are added together for each player and the one with the lowest total is the winner.

Both 6nimmt! and Xnimmt! are excellent family games; but funnily the more complex Xnimmt! is aimed at 2-4 players aged 8+ whereas the somewhat easier 6nimmt! is for 3-10 players aged 10+. There is a fair amount of luck required due to them being card games and when cards are shuffled and dealt there is always the chance that someone will think they have been dealt a better hand than the other players, but the games balance themselves quite nicely because it isn't the cards they are dealt but the way the players play their cards that determines whether they have a good hand or not.

Both of these games are essential away-day companions for me whenever we a off on holiday or going somewhere we are likely to have some spare time and a playing surface. They are both in regular card-deck sized boxes that easily slip into a pocket or a small bag (or, naturally, a larger bag) and thus are portable; plus they are easily explained to new players and/or non-gamers.

6nimmt! is by Wolfgang Kramer with Graphics by Franz Vohwinkel and Xnimmt! is by Wolfgang Kramer and Reinhard Staupe with Graphis by O. Freudenreich though apart from having an X on the flip side of the cards you'd be hard pushed to notice any real difference . Both games are published by Amigo Spiele. 6nimmt! is also in an English translation version from Mayfair Games.

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015