The card game published by Queen Games in 2001 Don comes from the pen of game designer Michael Schacht, who stands for well-known games such as Coloretto or its further development Zooloretto, both of which were published by Abacusspiele Verlag. Read our game test on the mafia classic Don by Queen Games.
Art is not neglected at Don either
Few games have a box that can claim to excite art connoisseurs. That the cover picture focuses on three characters that are straight out of the cult trilogy The Godfather was no surprise given the theme of the game. One detail: there is not just one scene out The Godfather, a 1972 film by Francis Ford Coppola, on the box, but also the scenery of the Nighthawk. This is a 1942 painting by the painter Edward Hopper. The imprint was designed as if you were looking at an oil painting and even at first glance at the game there was no longer any doubt that we are in Chicago. Purely stylistically, the cover is convincing - and not only mafia fans.
Play test for Don: A look at the rules
The set of rules is kept short and invites strategic action. The aim of the card game is to buy as many neighborhoods in Chicago as possible in order to score high points. The individual quarters are represented by playing cards. These have different colors and values. For example, the Wrightwood cards are yellow and printed with different numbers. The numbers are very important in the course of the Mafia game. The players are not allowed to state the value of the digits in an auction and at the same time they state how many tokens the corresponding card is worth.
At the beginning of a round, each player receives a certain number of tokens with which he can bid for the quarter cards.
In the course of the game, you can increase your own token credit by auctioning off quarter cards. Then, depending on the game round, a different number of playing cards are revealed by a player. These are now available for auction for all players. The starting player names a bid for tokens that he would like to use for the card on display. Then the other players can increase the bid in turn. Passing is also possible for all players. It must be noted that the digits that are on the playing cards previously auctioned by other players may no longer be mentioned by him. For example, if there is a four on our yellow Wrightwood card, we are no longer allowed to use this number for auction. A fourteen or twenty-four would be out of the question. Bidding continues until only one player maintains his bid. He now receives the card and has to pay his bill. The tokens offered are distributed among the players, but there are a few things to consider: the final number of the final bid decides whether and how many tokens a player receives.
If no player has the final number in one of his quarter cards, the tokens are distributed evenly, if a player has the final number on display, he receives the total amount, if two players have the card number on display, they are divided equally as in the first case. If the number appears on several cards for a player, he receives the total amount. The payer receives nothing but receives his quarter card. If a player runs out of tokens during the game, he has the option at any time to interrupt the game and auction one of his quarter cards to his fellow players. After 15 rounds, all quarter tickets should be auctioned and the final settlement can take place. Each mafia boss counts how many cards he has of a quarter, the more cards there are, the higher the score.
The player with the highest rating receives additional bonus points. The player with the highest score wins the game.
The comparison: Don vs. Serengeti from Abacusspiele
In 2007 Abacusspiele brought a new edition of Don onto the game market with Serengeti. Here, too, Michael Schacht was in charge. The main differences are thematic, but not noticeable in the way you play.
The players at Serengeti take on the role of an art dealer who wants to bid for African works of art at an art market.
Differences in the set of rules can only be found in the amount of currency that is available for trading at the beginning of the auction game, in the number of possible players and in the subtleties of the game. At Don, if a player lacks the necessary credit, he can hold an auction out of turn. This is not possible with Serengeti, here the player automatically receives two chips if no bid can be made in the first round of the game. The game variant swap, in which the players are allowed to swap one of their playing cards from their display for one of another player before the start of the round, has been dispensed with at Serengeti. Both changes slightly limit the player's initiative, but at the same time lead to fewer interruptions in the flow of the game.
Images of Don from Queen Games
Number of players: 3 to 6 players
Age: from 10 years
Playing time: 20 to 30 minutes
Long-term motivation: medium
Publisher: Queen Games
Author: Michael Schacht
Graphic: Michael Schacht
Year of publication: 2001
Cost: 10 Euro
For experienced players, Don can be played smoothly after a short period of reading the rules. After the first rounds, moves become more tactical and fans of auction games have an exciting game ahead of them. In order for newcomers to get their money's worth, it is necessary to take a look at the rules of the card game so that they can be understood correctly and cunning moves can be played. That makes the game start bumpy, so we would recommend a few practice rounds if inexperienced players play along.
The game box is a specialty. This was artistically designed in an extremely appealing way and becomes an eye-catcher on the game shelf, which is also supported by its edgewise format and the reference to the Mafia. The game material is well thought out. The playing cards are of high quality and the tokens are designed to be almost indestructible. Still, Don is not an unreservedly recommendable game. If you have only rarely played auction games, it is difficult for the players to assess the value of the display and thus use their tokens correctly. This means that it is only possible to start playing to a limited extent. Connoisseurs, on the other hand, will see a well-thought-out classic game in Don. It is not without reason that the trading game Don was relaunched by Abacusspiele under the name Serengeti in 2007 and it is still very popular.