I have played it previously as NO MERCY and GESCHENKT and have reviewed it in the past under the Geschenkt title which I believe was the original name when it was published many years back by Amigo Spiele.
It was published in English by Z-Man Games and now it has been revised, again in English, by FUNFAIR GAMES the Family Game division of Mayfair Games.
Games are good fun and take between 10 and 30 minutes and are playable by 3-7 players of age 8 years and upwards.
This is the original and basic game:
The idea of the game is to end up with the least points when the game finishes. The cards are numbered from 3-35 and are worth their face value so even if you end the game holding 6 cards valued at 3,4,5,6,7,8 points each you would still win if your opponents had only one card each valued at 34 and 35 respectively. It is recommended that you play 4 rounds but we usually prefer to play one round per player starting at 4 rounds for 3 or 4 players and up to 7 rounds with a full compliment.
All players have a handfull of tokens, 11 per player. The more of these players can keep till the end of the game are valued at -1 point each, thus reducing the value of the cards you end up with. Play is actually very simple, you either take the face up card in front of you or you put one of your tokens onto it and it is the next player's turn. If you take the card then you also take the tokens already on it, thus although it may be valued at 20 if there are 5 tokens on it the current value is only 15, though if you use these tokens during further rounds the card will revert to its actual value. Also if you take the card you turn over the next card ready for the next player to make the "keep or place a token" decision. When you take a card it is placed in front of you face up so that it is on view to everyone.
Out of the 33 cards in the deck only 24 are used each game so there is not a chance you can know what cards are left in the deck. Once the last of the 24 cards has been claimed the game ends. Then you count up. If you have cards in a "run" of 2 or more cards then you only count the lowest card's value, thus if you had 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21 you would only score the 17, but if you also had the 19 and 25 then you would score 17 + 19 + 25.
Although you obviously do not want to take the higher cards if you can help it you also don't want to be stuck without any tokens to play and thus you are forced to take the card in front of you.
FUNFAIR have included two variations on play:
The Hidden Tiger Variant: Each player is dealt one of the 9 cards that are removed from the 33 at the beginning of the game. You can either hold this card until the end of the game, thus it doesn't count against you or for you, or you can play it during your turn, face down in front of you. Naturally you would only do this if you were using it to be part of or form a "run".
The Amigo Variant: This is for 3-5 players and certain cards are removed from the deck and not used at all, then 6 cards (instead of 9) are removed from the remainder; players also only begin with 10 tokens.
All three versions of the game are very good fun to play and because there are the different variants it is possible to enjoy it several times during the same session. As it is a small card game with no need for a large flat space it is a great game to pop into your pocket and take with you whenever you are off out on a journey, as long as you aren't the driver. Definitely a game that should be in every games player's collection along with Fluxx, 6 nimmt, Bohnanza and of course Station Master.