Menu

RELATIONSHIP TIGHTROPE

Reviewed by Herb Levy

(Überplay, 3-5 players, ages 8 and up, 30 minutes; $19.95)

 

Although many gamers adore games that are pure, totally stripped of theme (check out Abstract Heaven in this issue, for examples), there is no question that sometimes a theme can rescue a game from oblivion and grant it new life. The most recent example that proves the rule is Relationship Tightrope.

Relationship Tightrope is a Reiner Knizia design that first appeared in 1999 under the “catchy” title Drahtseilakt. The game comes with 9 “Relationship” cards, 2 “Instant Forgiveness” cards, 50 bidding cards, 50 “balancing sticks” and a short set of rules. While the game play remains the same as its predecessor, the theme has changed; we are now trying to build a “successful relationship”.relationship

The “philosophy” of the game is that to build a successful relationship, there must be a certain “give” and “take” between a man and woman. In game terms, this means you must be able to “balance” your holdings.

The 9 Relationship Cards are numbered 1 through 9, and are half pink and half blue. The 2 Instant Forgiveness cards come in only one color (blue or pink) and carry a value of 0. The Relationship and Instant Forgiveness cards are shuffled together to form a “Relationship Deck” and placed face down next to the sets of 50 sticks, 25 blue and 25 pink. With the Bidding Cards (numbered 1 through 50) shuffled, each player is dealt a hand of 9 cards.

The top card of the Relationship Deck is revealed and now each player, starting with the dealer, plays one card from his hand, face up for all to see. In clockwise order, all other players reveal one card. When all players have done this, “winners” are determined.

The player with the HIGHEST number card receives as many blue sticks as indicated on the Relationship card. The player with the LOWEST number card receives as many pink sticks as indicated. Number cards played are discarded and the next round begins. Now, the next Relationship Card is revealed, bidding again takes place and sticks are distributed accordingly. This continues until all Relationship Cards have been bid upon, ending the round.

As players amass blue and pink sticks, they return them to the “bank” as long as they have an EQUAL number of the two colors. For example, a player with four blue sticks and three pink sticks can return three blue and three pink. He is left with one blue stick.

Instant Forgiveness cards carry a value of “0”. When one of them is revealed, the NEXT Relationship card is exposed and players only bid for ONE color that round. (If you drawn both Instant Forgiveness Cards in a row, they are simply discarded.)

When all nine Relationship Cards have been played, the round is over and players calculate scores. The number of sticks, regardless of color, remaining in front of you is your score for the round. (Manage to end up with NO sticks and a perfect score of 0, you have achieved a perfectly balanced relationship. Your reward? CANCEL a score from a previous round! This little wrinkle enables a player who feels hopelessly out of it to bounce back nicely.) Now, the next round begins. (The number of rounds in a game is equal to the number of players.) Player with the LOWEST cumulative score wins.

What separates Relationship Tightrope from its predecessor and gives it the potential to be a big seller is the human relationship theme. Dinah Washington sang “What a Difference A Day Makes”. “What a Difference a Theme makes” is the name of this tune. People who wouldn’t dream of playing the original release or touching a card game that doesn’t resemble a standard 52 card deck will find this offering a charming “cross over” into the world of adult gaming. – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Herb Levy


 

Have feedback? We’d love to hear from you.


Spring 2004 GA Report Articles

 

Reviewed by Larry Levy (Fantasy Flight Games, 3-5 players, 2-3 hours; $49.95) There are two basic approaches to game design. The American school emphasizes theme and believes in tying the mechanics tightly to that theme, even if the gameplay suffers. The German school, on the other hand, centers around mechanics and gameplay and will often paste the theme on at the last minute. (Obviously, these ...
Read More
ABSTRACT HEAVEN by Herb Levy Some gamers like everything. But for some, certain genres of play hold a special place in their hearts. For those gamers partial to pure strategy devoid of theme, abstract games are IT. Filling that niche nicely are some recent releases of above average quality, creating an abstract heaven for abstract lovers. Four of them well worth your attention are Cathedral ...
Read More
A Beautiful Thing What a difference a day makes! It seems that only yesterday (actually, it was last issue) that we bemoaned the state of gaming and how new releases did not seem to reach the mark that we've come to expect. And that was just the latest in a series of disappointments. European style games were slow in making an appearance on this side ...
Read More
(In the booming 1980s, Donald Trump became a celebrity due to his high profile real estate success. It seemed that "The Donald" could do no wrong. It was not a surprise to see Milton Bradley try to capitalize on his fame and fortune with a high quality financial game. The game was, surprisingly, quite good! But, even more surprising, it failed! Why? A backlash against ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Überplay, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; $29.95) In 14th century Europe, the Hanseatic League was a center of trade. To become Master of the Hanseatic city-states during this time is the goal of players in Hansa, the new creation by Michael Schacht. The components of Hansa are basic: a mapboard showing the Baltic Sea area highlighting 9 Hanseatic ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Z-Man Games, 2 to 5 players, 1-2 hours, ages 12 and up; $24.95) Armed forces clashing to control territory is a familiar theme used as the basis for many games. But the twist in Ideology, the new game designed by Andrew Parks, is that IDEAS are at war as powerful political philosophies of the 20th century compete for control and global ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 60-75 minutes; $37.95) It's 2500 years ago, the time when Greek traders traveled to southern Italy to settle and develop the area. You, as a Greek trader, are intimately involved as you seek to colonize, develop markets and capture the attention of the oracles. This is the world of Magna Grecia, the ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Überplay Games, 3-5 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; $34.95) The Great Mongolian Desert is the setting as players, acting as heads of rival families, vie to become the most powerful by claiming various lands and raising camel caravans in Oasis, the newest Alan Moon/Aaron Weissblum release. Oasis comes with 100 wooden camels (20 each in red, blue, green, yellow ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Überplay, 3-5 players, ages 8 and up, 30 minutes; $19.95) Although many gamers adore games that are pure, totally stripped of theme (check out Abstract Heaven in this issue, for examples), there is no question that sometimes a theme can rescue a game from oblivion and grant it new life. The most recent example that proves the rule is Relationship Tightrope ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Rio Grande Games/Alea, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; $24.95) Unlike other game authors, Andreas Seyfarth has not designed a truckload of games. But what he has created is impressive. He won German Game of the Year honors with Manhattan (Winter 1997 GA REPORT) and created the stellar "gamer's game", Puerto Rico (Spring 2002 GA REPORT). Now, he's revisited ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Days of Wonder, 2-5 players, ages 8 and up, 30-60 minutes; $39.95) Alan Moon has earned lots of recognition for his game designs. His Elfenland, for example, won German Game of the Year honors back in 1998. But Moon really shines at game development, in taking game ideas, mixing them together and adding that "something extra" to create a game greater ...
Read More
Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser (Überplay, 3-6 players, ages 10 and up, 45 minutes; $24.95) This is another of the multitude of new Überplay releases that have hit the shores of the United States this year. The designer is Thomas Rauscher and from all appearances, this is his first published game. The game is set in 300 A.D., with the Polynesians setting sail to explore ...
Read More

If you enjoy games, then Gamers Alliance is right for you!