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Bart van der Ouderaa
Kablamo is a game about russian roulette. So if you think that playing a game about russian roulette isn't entertaining, you shouldn't play it. If you considering playing russian roulette, play this instead, it's funnier and less deadly.
At the start of the game each player gets a gun (a board with a rotating cylinder containing six chambers). Each player then draws 8 bullets from the bag. There are 3 kinds of bullets:
Live Bullets: either a Kablamo or a Click bullet. These bullets are instant, the Kablamo "kills" you instantly, the Click is...well, a relief.
Action Bullets: these don't "kill" you, but have effects like "Triple action: Swap the positions of three bullets in at least 2 guns".
High velocity Bullets: these can be used as normal action bullets but can also be played out of hand as instant actions like "Bolshevik rules: The next turn, Kablamos elimitate the player to the left".
So with 8 bullets the 6 chambers of the cylinder are filled, and the 2 remaining bullets are put in hand. But remember where you put them: Once bullets are loaded the player may not look at the bullets again, unless fired. This includes bullets that are swapped!
The gun is rotated clockwise and the first bullet is fired simultaniously by all players. Each bullet (except the live ones, the are resolved instantly on the player that fired the gun) has a unique number and the bullets are resloved with the lowest number first followed by the second lowest number etc. The high velocity bullets have lower numbers so are resolved first. Action bullets can be played on any player that is still alive, even on yourself. After they are played on someone the action is resolved and the next bullet in the order is played and resolved. If players have to fire their gun a second time, they do so after all the bullets have been resolved. The actions manipulate the bullets (all bullets can be manipulated by others except for the bullet in the "safe" position, which is the bullet that normally will be fired in the next round) or manipulate the cylinder.
All the resolved bullets are discarded except the live bullets which return into the bag (thus increasing the chance to draw and having to load a live bullet).
When the bullets have been fired and resolved, each player draws the same number of bullets as they have empty chambers. Then the empty chamber(s) is/are loaded by the player using the bullets in hand.
The cylinder is rotated and the players fire again. This goes on until only one player is still alive. He wins...
I played this with 6 people (it says 2 to 5 on the box, but we were with 6 in Essen and wanted to play at the booth of Gigantoskop and the guys didn't mind and opened an extra box to get a 6th gun). In the first turn I drew one Kablamo next to the other bullets so I figured out a strategy to give it to an opponent. This however misfired when I was forced to rotate counter clockwise on the next shot. I finally found a way to swap the Kablamo out of my gun (since my strategy went nowhere), but at that point I had no idea anymore what my other loaded bullets did, and it seems others were stating to doubt what they had aswell. So I just tried to protect the gun and mess up other player guns as much as possible. Tension mounted as Klablamos turned up which were nullified. I finally kicked the bucket together with 3 others in the same turn, non of us had been expecting it!. The winner was the one which had one more click than the other and especially the speed reload proved deadly in the end.
The game is a combination of memory, strategy and social manoevering. With many players it's hard to keep track of the bullets (they have optional rules to make it easier), but this makes it more realistic as a game. With a low number it'll be more of a head game. There is plenty of interaction and instant revenge, so it's fun to play.
It is a filler game (plays pretty quickly and is pretty easy to play), with some strategic thinking mixed in.
I think it basicly is a game that fufills its expectations. It feels like russian roulette (the tension rises after each shot) yet retains the humor nicely. I like it. So if you think that playing a game about russian roulette is fun, you can't go wrong with this game.