Posted by: gschloesser | January 1, 1970

Wettstreit der Baumeister

Several variants, including making the Saboteur more effective … and nasty … in this Kosmos release.

In my opinion, this was one of the better new German releases for 1998 and has largely been overlooked.  Players vie to build the most valuable cities and get bonus points for logical construction.  The game includes elements of economics, planning, negotiation and sabotage.  I rate it a strong ‘7’.

As the rules are drafted, however, it is quite possible that the saboteur will not surface often.  Further, when he does surface, he can only be used against the player who has the city with the weakest defense.  Most times, this is not the leader.  Thus, the game misses an important chance in which to go after the leader.

The following variant was recommended on the discussion group by Andy Fisher.  We have used this variant in several games and finds it vastly improves the game and adds some much needed ‘nastiness’ to the proceedings. 


Instead of being able to only attack the weakest city, any city may be attacked by using the saboteur. The target building is selected and the die is rolled.  If the number rolled is greater than the number of shields in the defending city, the designated building is destroyed.  The black dot ALWAYS succeeds if rolled. 

If the number rolled is less than or equal to the number of shields, the attack fails.  In either case, the saboteur is returned to the pool of available tokens.

After the placement of the saboteur token but before the die is rolled, the player being attacked may attempt to bribe the attacker to call off the attack by offering Thalers from his possession.  Deficit spending is not allowed.  If an agreement is reached, the money is paid, and the saboteur is returned to the pool of available tokens.

A KINDER, GENTLER SABOTEUR VARIANT contributor Lee has suggested this saboteur variant, which is less harsh than the one suggested above. 

The player with the saboteur chooses an opponent to attack.  If negotiation or a bribe fails, the attacker rolls the die.  If the number rolled is higher than the total number of shields in the defender’s city, then the defender must pay the attacker an amount of gold equal to the value of the building which was assaulted.  If the defender does not have enough gold to pay the attacker, or chooses not to, then the building is destroyed and removed.  A roll of the black ‘dot’ always destroys the building.


Some have made comments that a player could suffer from lack of income based on consistent poor die rolls at the beginning of their turn.  Thus, the following variant was offered by gamer Kurt Adam

At the beginning of a player’s turn, he may opt to take two (another option is to take three) Thalers instead of rolling the die.  Or, if he prefers, he may roll the die as usual and take whatever results.


There is the real possibility of the face-up stack becoming stagnant if an undesirable tile surfaces after everyone has secured that piece for their town (example: another town hall or corner tower). This would force the players into choosing the tile from the face-down pile every turn and bringing a much quicker end to the game than is ideal.

Thus, the following variant has been used by our group:

On a player’s turn, instead of placing a tile up for bid, he may use this portion of his turn to ‘bury’ the top tile on the face-up stack to the bottom of that pile.  The remainder of his turn continues as normal.

As an alternative, internet buddy Al Newman has suggested that a player can pay one (yet another option is to pay 2) thaler and bury the tile at the bottom of the stack.  He then may auction the next tile.  A player may ‘bury’ only one tile per turn, however. This is the variant that we now use regularly.

Finally, another ‘bury the tile’ variant was suggested by Eddy Richards.  His group moves the top tile of the face-up stack to the bottom if each player on their turn had rejected it and chosen a tile from the face-down stack.


Canadian friend Greg Aleknevicus has expressed concern that once everyone has secured a Town Hall tile, there is a great dread of bidding on a hidden tile in fear of getting stuck with yet another town hall, which, according to the rules, cannot be played.  Thus, the player will suffer negative points for that second town hall at game’s end.  I personally don’t mind this possibility, as I kind of enjoy the intense perspiration and agonizing which occurs in this situation.  However, for those who do not like this, Greg has suggested the following variant:

Greg has suggested that towns be allowed to have more than one Town Hall, but thereby forfeit any bonus possibilities from having a Town Hall in the center of the town or for having equal number of Churches on either side of the Town Hall. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: