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User Rating Comment Status
Randy Cox
United States
Clemson
South Carolina
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The Back Alley gets no respect.
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9.25
Oct 2007*
Extremely good game, especially for an abstract. Forget about the theme of some sort of painting. It's a great game with hidden goals (I like games with secret agendas) and tactical maneuvering to accomplish those goals. Plays well with newbies, too. -- 10/29/2007 played with 2 players and worked well: 48 minutes and a score of 60-48 (5 goals met to 3 goals met). Seemed more cutthroat with 2.
2007-10-30*
Owned
Josh Adelson
United States
Columbia
South Carolina
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Well, I see the otherness of being other is otherwise contraindicated
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Who cares where it came from or whether it's correct or not? Certainly not me
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8.5
Aug 2007*
I've only played this with 2, and with incorrect rules to boot (was taught that if a piece was moved from adjacency to its own color, it had to end its slide next to its own color, also that goals could be applied to multiple groups, rather than each only counts once). However, the interplay between when to commit to goals, and how to manage one's chips? Simply brilliant. I think a great deal of the chaos issues that people have mentioned here could be lessened by choosing to commit to goals later rather than sooner. Of course that may introduce its own new chaotic element....
2007-08-19*
Owned
Joshua Miller
United States
Holland
Michigan
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8
Feb 2008*
Original, engaging, skillfully-crafted game. Even the name is fiendishly clever. It's hard to get played, though, because it's weird, it's abstract, and there's no real narrative behind the game.
2008-02-17*
Owned
Mike
United States
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8
Aug 2008*
Multiplayer game that is also excellent for 2 players. Unique.
2008-08-24*
Owned
TOKYO Heartbroken
England
York
North Yorkshire
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8
Nov 2008*
I played this in 1997 when I was getting into German games and loved it. This was my first play since then and it's clever, original and fun. To be honest, it's abtract, but the secret scoring and choices are very good. We made it fun by spouting artistic nonsense, but some players may find it too dry. If you are mad for theme, try before you buy. If you like quick, fun, clever games and can tolerate 1995 production, this is a must buy game.
2008-09-27*
Owned
Raymond Gallardo
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
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8
Nov 2012
Aside from Reservat, probably my favourite polyomino-based game.

What makes this one unique is that you can move pieces around.
2012-11-14
Owned
Charles A. Davis
United States
Greeneville
TN
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8
Aug 2012
I really like this one. Multi-player abstract with secret goals. Very good.
2012-08-12
Ryan Gatti
United States
Portland
Oregon
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7.75
Nov 2009*
An excellent multi-player abstract. Definitely something I want to play again.
2008-09-01*
richard glanzer
United States
forest hills
NY
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7.5
Jun 2004*
if more people had the chance to play this, it would be rated higher. seems like the fresh fish problem...not enuf copiesout there.
2004-06-05*
aristides mytaras
Greece
athens
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7.5
Jul 2007*
very nice.
2007-07-09*
Jonathan Franklin
United States
Seattle
Washington
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7.5
Nov 2007*
This is a game I have wanted to play for quite a while. It is amazing in its fairly simple rules and complex interactions. If there are any knocks against it, it is quite thinky for casual/frequent play & at least with 4, the board changes enough between turns that there is downtime.
2007-11-29*
Owned
For Trade
David Thompson
United States
Portland
Oregon
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7.5
Sep 2008*
Excellent puzzle game with great opportunity for AP. The puzzle doesn't take much form during the first few plays, but once it does, it's easy to freeze up considering the possibilities. Trying to hit your goals and have your opponents assist you in doing so is great fun.
2008-09-04*
Owned

Eugene
Oregon
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7.5
Jul 2011
Looks dry and abstract, when in fact it's rather mean and chaotic -- in a very fun, good way. Potential for very high screwage here.

Personally, I find the plain graphic design to be exceedingly beautiful.
2011-07-31
Geo
Greece
Athens
Marousi
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7.3
Jul 2005*
Brain burner...
2005-07-09*
Owned
Richard Garfield
United States
Seattle
Washington
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7
Mar 2003*
A really beautiful game. There seem to be just enough restrictions to give you something to work with.
2003-03-22*
Owned
Joseph Cochran
United States
Costa Mesa
California
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7
Apr 2004*
Weird game, but the concept rocks and the mechanic is neat.
2004-04-09*
Owned
Chief EGG Head
United States
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7
Apr 2005*
intersting abstract, like playing a giant slide puzzle.
2005-04-08*
Owned
Jonathan Takagi
United States
San Marcos
California
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7
Aug 2012
The theme is so ridiculous that it's almost compelling. But luckily there's nothing else out there like this game. The hidden objectives make it fun to trash talk your opponents, though I'm not sure how much control you really have. It seems like you have to just give yourself some flexibility so that you can make some critical moves near the end before the board locks up. Visualizing the potential moves you can make can be difficult, and it seems that sometimes the game can lock up prematurely depending on how the pieces are distributed. Still, this is a great example of the design genius of Schmiel, it holds up really well due to its originality.
2012-08-25
Owned
Peer Sylvester
Germany
Berlin
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7
Jun 2006*
Very abstract, but very good game.
2006-06-06*
Owned
J C Lawrence
United States
Campbell
California
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7
Sep 2013
An excellent twist of spacial geometry and packing structures. Nice simple rules, decent deduction element, good cost management and brinksmanship for chip management. Suffers a bit from poor production quality for the board which makes movement visualistion harder than it need be (the lines are too dim, the the board is flat rather than ridged like say Blokus). Best with three players as the board changes too much between turns with more.
2006-07-22*
Owned
Steve Kearon
United Kingdom
Cardiff
Wales
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7
Nov 2011
Single play, with 5 - probably too many players as it was difficult to predict board changes between turns.

Simple concept, but interesting. Placing coloured tiles on a shared board to acheive your personal goals of colour groupings while trying to stymie your opponents. Targets evolve as the game proceeds.
2011-11-14
Owned
Moritz Eggert
Germany
Munich/Germany
Unspecified
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7
Nov 2007*
unusually abstract game for Schmiel - dry, but with enough player interaction and some interesting mechanics. Worth to try even 12 years after it has been published.
2007-11-06*
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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7
Dec 2007*
Another unique Schmiel design in which you seek to complete goals that you establish before the game in combining different blocks together of a color while others are attempting to complete their goals and block you. I'm not certain how much control exists in the game, but its a unique and enjoyable design.
2007-12-06*
Owned
Dana More
United States
Garden Grove
California
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7
Aug 2009*
Rating after one two-player game. Interesting abstract tile-laying game. I like the hidden objectives, and how you can slide the tiles. Lots of opportunities to help yourself or hinder your opponent. Looking forward to more plays, and trying it with more players.
2008-01-15*
Prev. Owned
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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7
Feb 2008*
A very unique, abstract game where players each have different (secret) goals. Pieces are shifted around the board and there are some interesting tactical moves (blocking, etc.)
2008-02-12*
Tero H
Finland
Vantaa
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7
Oct 2014
Bought from Essen 2007. A abstract game, but not dry - how about that!? I like this on, it has unique mechanics and interesting way victory point system. The game might be a little chaotic, but somehow in a good way. After two games I definitely like it! The game is maybe the uggliest I've ever seen, but who cares?
2008-04-04*
Owned
Breno K.
Brazil
Brasília
Distrito Federal
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7
Jun 2014
Rating could rise as I am able to see the initial patterns. First play of this game everything seems kind of pointless and random until it's too late to do anything about it. However, once things start to click, it's quite wonderful. Elegant and open-ended, there's nothing out there quite like it.
2011-12-14
Owned
Mike Jones
United States
Gainesville
Florida
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Yeah it's here! Really it's right here.
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7
Jan 2012
This may be rated a little high over all, but my 10 year old daughter enjoys the game and does well in the game. She actually has won all but one game she’s played. I’ve played it with 2, 3 and 4 players and think I enjoyed it more with 4 players because it seemed like ‘moving’ became more sure with less chance of just trading moves back and forth. Also, the one 4 player game ended with all players not being able to get all their tiles down, so you could hang back and try to drop your important tiles at the end.

Smell: --------------
2012-06-14
Owned
oskari
Finland
Helsinki
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Eat at Linda's
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7
Aug 2011
A clever abstract tile placement game with hidden goals.
2011-08-15
Joerg Schaefer
Germany
Frankfurt
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7
Mar 2015
A simple but weird game. The first half of the game players almost randomly put pieces on the board, not knowing what to make out of this game. Some secret goals are taken. Once the second half starts, the game gets going when the first pieces are moved. Towards the end the tension increases and suddenly the moves are crucial before the board finally gets filled up. The right timing of movements, locking pieces with the right placements while keeping the own goals secret until they are safe are key to the game. Four players was fine but purportedly best with three as there’s less accidental screwage.
2015-03-13
Owned
Nick Al
Greece
Unspecified
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6.5
Nov 2004*
if only it had better components!
2004-11-21*
Owned
Morgan Dontanville
United States
Charlottesville
Virginia
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Plate of Shrimp.
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Here we are folks, the dream we all dream of.
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6.5
Jan 2010*
The game is realy lovely in concept and there are many great decisions to make, but the level of chaos here is obnoxious. I think that the system is quite worthwhile, but I also think that a 5 player game is downright absurd. So much changes by the time the game gets back around to you, that there isn't really much that you can actually plan for. Even if people are playing fairly quickly the downtime is a little too much here, but people that are prone to A/P will absolutely kill this game.

I'd only play this again with three quick players, in which case this would probably go up in my ratings significantly.
2007-03-19*
!
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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6.5
May 2007*
Really interesting spatial challenge, secret goal game from the mad mind of Karl-Heinz Schmiel. I really enjoyed playing it, but the downtime can be horrendous if you are waiting for analysis paralyzed players. The chaos is pretty significant and gets worse with more players.
2007-05-17*
Uisge Beatha
Scotland
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Independence Referendum - 18 September 2014 - 84.7% turnout
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Independence Referendum - 18 September 2014 - 84.7% turnout
6.5
Jul 2008*
Good game but too far towards the ebstract end of the spectrum for me to really enjoy.
2009-08-04
Carl Dockhorn
United States
San Jose
California
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6
Jul 2005*
Game of hiding and predicting opponents objectives.

Tricky.
2005-07-30*
Rob Derrick
United States
Los Alamos
New Mexico
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6
Feb 2007*
Traded
2015-07-29
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Stephen Tavener
United Kingdom
London
England
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The overtext below is true.
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The overtext above is false.
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6
Oct 2008*
Nice, but never gets played gotta love the name!
2006-03-25*
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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6
Jul 2008*
A rarity for me, a pure abstract game that captures my interest. Surprisingly easy to learn and play - but I suspect it is hard to master. (I haven't played enough to say.) The toughest part of this game is explaining the concept enough to capture anyone's interest in playing.
2006-05-16*
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hugo mocc
United Kingdom
Leeds
United Kingdom
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6
Sep 2009*
Rating after 1 play: This game seems so easy and straightforward... Well, it's not. It's got depth in play and you always wonder if you're making the right move. Playing a 2-player is more strategic, but deep down this game is down to tactics and balancing the timings of when to go for objective tiles: too soon and you will take hold of the early game, becoming exposed later on; Too late and you may get unlucky with the objectives available to pick.
Again, surprising depth for something that looks like a children's game.

x
2009-07-14
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Michael Webb
United States
Western Mitten
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6
Oct 2010
Surprise, another strange game from Schmiel, and another one on the medium to medium light end of the spectrum. An abstract game themed to the design of an abstract "painting", or mosaic as the case might be here. Players have a random collection of tiles in one of several colours. During the course of play they acquire secret goals, such as "have 1 blue tile by itself" or "have 5 yellow tiles together in a group" by drafting tiles from one of several stacks. They then, on their turn, add another block to the board ("painting") and can optionally move stuff around, though everything has to slide, not rotate, and has to be able to physically squeak by the other tiles present.

A simple game in theory, but somewhat complicated in practice. No one has identical goals, so little in-fights break out at every possible turn. Trying to position pieces such that the other players cannot interfere with them again is nigh impossible in most situations though, and the game seems to be a bit out of control much of the time.

I found it charming, playable, and fun, although not one of my favourites.
2007-03-19*
Tim Benjamin
United States
Los Alamos
New Mexico
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6
Apr 2007*
Interesting abstract puzzle game of placing and moving colored geometric shapes to control the number of tiles in a specific area to match hidden scoring goals. Possible AP could make this game tedious rather than a fast-paced game of shifting patterns.
2007-04-11*
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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6
Apr 2008*
Mary and I had played this a LONG time ago, shortly after acquiring the game. Then, it sat on the shelf unplayed. I can see why! It's an interesting abstract game, but too abstract for my tastes. You place or move colored puzzle pieces around the board trying to achieve goal configurations which each player draws semi-randomly (pick from a face down stack that you look through) and assigns a VP value to (secret goal to each of 5 possible VP values). I think I'd catch on eventually, but not quickly! If you like abstracts and spatial puzzles, this is definitely worth trying.
2008-04-13*
Nick Case
England
Epsom
Surrey
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6
Apr 2008*
A spatial interaction puzzle. It seems your head either works this way or it doesn't, some players breeze through their turns whilst other agonise for ever trying out possible moves and dislodging the pieces as a result. Didn't really leave much of an impression after one play with no real urge to play again.
2008-04-22*
Chris Barnard
United Kingdom
Leeds
West Yorkshire
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All aboard the 'B' Ark! Priority boarding for bankers and HR staff!
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6
Jul 2010
Not bad for an abstract. The hidden goals which can be chosen as the game progresses make this quite interesting.
2008-09-27*
KAS
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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6
Dec 2009*
Tile laying abstract where you pick what your hidden scoring conditions are during the game. I wonder if turn order has an impact. Need to play again.
2009-03-10
Owned
For Trade
Jason Cheng
United States
Catonsville
Maryland
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6
May 2009*
I really do like the concept as well as the hidden goals of having the certain number of pieces of the same color grouped together. However, I have to echo that the game is far too chaotic. The board can change drastically by the time you take your next turn. Not to mention the fact that anyone can screw around with the "painting" even if he does not benefit from the outcome, because he just might be able to mess it up for someone else. So in the end it's more about luck than anything else since nothing placed is definite and can often be moved elsewhere. One lesson I learned is not to blow your chips too early.
2009-05-28
Andy Van Zandt
United States
South Ogden
Utah
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PlayTMG.com
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6
Nov 2009*
Tetris shapes are fun, let's apply a scoring mechanic to them.
2009-11-23
The root of all evil... but you can call me cookie.
United States
Gainesville
Florida
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6
Jan 2012
Abstracty and cool but I like other abstracts better. I feel the need to say "It's no Die Macher."
2012-01-28
Jens KH
Germany
Frankfurt am Main
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6
Mar 2015
An abstract game of hidden agendas and quite a bit of player-induced chaos. It's one of those games with very simple rules that result in quite a bit of game (beware of AP, though).

I'd probably rate it higher if I didn't think there is a pronounced advantage for those late in turn order who can wreak havoc on their final turn without anybody being able to react to it.
2015-03-13
Brian Bankler
United States
San Antonio
Texas
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"Ma! They done killed Rando!"
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5
Jul 2008*
Played a few times, but never felt a strong attachment. (My wife liked it more). Owned and sold.
2006-09-04*
Prev. Owned

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