What’s it about? Try to collect sets of similar colored cards by bidding on sets of cards. Winner is he who has collected the most valuable sets at the end of the game.
How does it work? The game is played in several rounds. Each round consists of two main phases.
In the first phase, the players are bidding for a predefined amount of open cards. Since you can only get one set per round, the bidding is quite tense. Of the set you have bought, you have to leave one card of your choice on the table and you get the other cards. Your bid remains on the table as well.
During the second phase, you get the cards that have been put open on the table. The player who won the last bid selects first. He can select all cards of one color. Second comes the player who the next to last bid and so up to the player who won the first bid.
And why should you do all this? If you have seven or more cards in your hand, you have to make a set of three cards of the same color. The value of the set is the number on the highest card.
The game continues until all cards are played. Everybody gets a last chance to build sets and the points are counted. Winner is he who has the most points.
Where is the fun? When reading the description above, it might feel like this has all been done before. Still 'Byzanz' manages to pull it off in an elegant and fast way. The few extra tweaks regarding bidding and getting the cards makes this game shine. Just like 'Dalmuti' is not a regular rumi-game due to some minor extra rules, 'Byzanz' is not a regular set-collecting game.
Why should I like this? - Fast bidding game. - Lots of game in a small package.
Why shouldn’t I like this? - You don't like bidding or set-collecting - It's a fast card game and doesn't pack the depth of larger boardgames.
Final verdict 'Byzanz' is a pleasant surprise. It's easy to explain, easy to take along and fun to play. Might sit next to 'Dalmuti' and 'For sale' but will probably pass under radar. A shame for this good game.