Reiner Knizia's Linear Adventures
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Yes, Reiner Knizia does revisit some of his ideas time after time. The question is, is that a problem if he can add something new to the idea again and again?

This time I look at games that even have quite different mechanisms, although they share some common threats. These are mostly adventure games so theme is mostly stronger in them than in a usual Knizia. Usually you have one or more paths where your hero or heroes are advancing from a common starting point to a common final point, mostly driven by cards played from your hand (most of these games have a strong hand management aspect). It is possible that everyone moves the same figures or everyone moves a different figure, or there is only one figure altogether. Quite probably, as a part of capturing the theme, you'll have some stuff to collect during your journey: treasure or other objects that allow you do some extra actions. In quite many cases you also have randomly drawn events or adventures added for further sense of theme; what's more, you might have to roll a special die as well. So quite often the theme is so strong that the game moves a bit towards AT directions, but of course these are Knizia games so they still remain tactical games and eurogames after all.
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1. Board Game: Am Fuß des Kilimandscharo [Average Rating:5.70 Overall Rank:14518]
Board Game: Am Fuß des Kilimandscharo
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
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1995

I have just found this simple predecessor to the games below. It has a linear track, and the track has some village spaces and tiles placed on the track as a set-up. Also the game is played, the figures are moved by playing cards, trying to create color sets. Everyone has three card( pile)s in front of them and after playing a card, the visible cards tell you how far you can move. If all three cards in front of a player are of the same type (colour), then the player adds the numbers on the cards together to see how far they may travel. If two of the cards are the same, but the third different, then the player may move the distance given by adding the numbers on the two similar cards together, and if the cards are all of different types, then the highest numbered card gives the distance which the player may move. The tricky part is that you can play the card to one of you piles - or to one of your opponents' piles.
Face-down counters involve risk-taking: if you end your move on a tile two things may happen: a banana gives you another turn while a lion makes you run back - to the nearest village.

Board Game: Am Fuß des Kilimandscharo

photo by binraix
Board Game: Am Fuß des Kilimandscharo

photo by BoardGameGeek
 
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2. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:858]
Board Game: Lord of the Rings
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
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2000
Board Game: The Lord of the Rings

image by Matthias_K

Played on 4 boards, this one is truly an epic adventure - and this time, it's even co-operative.
"Progression across the boards is determined by playing cards (many of which represent the characters and items of Middle Earth), and the effects of corruption are represented by a special die. The game is lost if the ring-bearer is overcome by Sauron, or won if the ring is destroyed by throwing it into the volcanic fires of Mount Doom."
In order to complete a scenario, you have to move from the beginning to the end of the main track on the scenario. At the same time there are other tracks too, just to make things more interesting, and also you have to collect different tokens at each scenario. You also have an "event track" as an alternative to the main track but you quite possibly don't want to go through all the events as they are quite bad for the hobbits' health...
You draw tiles, advance the related track and claim tiles, then you play any one card from your hand or play 2 cards (a grey and a white one) or draw cards. Yellow cards are also added for special actions. Shields collected can be used to use Gandalf cards. There is also a die that you roll during the game for various reasons.
However complex that sounds, it's mostly a linear adventure mostly driven by cards, with lots of stuff to have an eye on.


Lord of the Rings: Friends & Foes adds two scenarios and some extra rules of friends & foes.
Board Game: Lord of the Rings: Friends & Foes

Image by Matthias_K

Lord of the Rings: Sauron makes the game a "one against everyone else" cooperative game where Sauron is played by one player.

The Lord of the Rings: Battlefields adds some battles on separate boards to scenarios.
Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: Battlefields

image by Deodand




note: I won't add Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation. It might have about a hero on his quest to Mt. Doom with a single aim; still it's not a linear adventure in the style of the other games in this geeklist.
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3. Board Game: Der Herr der Ringe: Die Zwei Türme – das Kartenspiel [Average Rating:5.76 Overall Rank:12360]
Board Game: Der Herr der Ringe: Die Zwei Türme – das Kartenspiel
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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2002

Although there are no really good pics about the game with the full set-up, Scott Henshaw's component pic shows at least a part of it:
Board Game: Der Herr der Ringe: Die Zwei Türme – das Kartenspiel

In case of The Lord of the Rings games, Kosmos owned the rights for board games and Ravensburger owned the rights for card games. It didn't stop Reiner Knizia make a "linear adventure" board game where the "board" is made up of 7 location cards and 6 path cards (showing 2 to 4 fields) that are set between these location cards between the locations.
And of course this also shows how most of these games are practically card games... This particular item is most like a rummy-like precursor to games like Marco Polo Expedition (see below) : you are simply collecting cards (colored cards with different symbols and no-color Jokers - Gandalfs) on each path fields (as there is a common marker moved) to take tricks on the locations. Arriving at a location, in clockwise order, each player can play as many cards as they wish (placing their cards in different columns for each color and íll cards in a column must display the same characteristic). There are one fewer point tiles to be won at each location than the number of players, and the winner gets the highest point marker (and the Ring token which is the next Start player marker) and the second highest bid the second highest etc.
 
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4. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:5.95 Overall Rank:6688]
Board Game: Lord of the Rings
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
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2003
Board Game: Lord of the Rings

Image by Matthias_K

This children's game is not perfectly linear as the paths have some turnouts but still mostly you are advancing your figures toward a common end.
You have neutral figures that anyone can move: if you roll the flying nazgul, you may fly any one of the Nazguls to another location to hold up your opponents.
Movement is (an exception in this list) only by die roll but with the freedom of choice added: you may move fewer spaces or none at all.
There are tiles at the locations which work as ’events’. You spin a spinner and you might meet nazguls, enemies or friends, and if you succeed you win the tile. He first hobbit to successfully encounter the large Sauron tile wins. When playing more than one game, the displayed tiles count as 1 point, nazguls 1 points as well and Sauron 5 points.

You can find an advanced version in the rules, where through the use of the Palantir, hobbits are discovered and delayed as they approach Mordor.
 
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5. Board Game: Marco Polo Expedition [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:4385]
Board Game: Marco Polo Expedition
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
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2004
Board Game: Marco Polo Expedition

image by Sunnyfox

Maybe because of the change in the theme, this game feels less thematic than most games in this geeklist (it was planned to be a game based on a fantasy franchise but later those plans were discarded).
What you are doing here is collect cards and card combinations that you need for going forward. The tricky situation: others can take the free space you wanted to move to in front of you and then you’ll need other cards to be able to go forward. Collect treasure on some spaces you arrive at first. You may spend treasure on moving instead of playing the right card combinations if needed - but not for going ahead others. Don't go ahead too much as you'll make it easy for others to follow you. Timing is the most important!

It's an adventure in two parts: it’s almost like playing on two boards as most players move to the field at the half of the board when the first player gets there.

As most games in this list, this one is also one where a more or less known card game mechanism drives the pawns on their way - here the card game is called Rummy... (or some rummyesque Knizian games which also exist).
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6. Board Game: Bibi Blocksberg und das Geheimnis der blauen Eulen! [Average Rating:4.82 Unranked]
Board Game: Bibi Blocksberg und das Geheimnis der blauen Eulen!
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
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2004

A board game published only in German as it's based on a movie of the same title. It's a linear adventure for older children and families, using a simple roll and move mechanism (if you don't like your roll you can roll again once) for moving but it's full of adventures as the pawns move through different areas of the game board. The adventures actually include planning ahead, choosing from a handful of special actions, revealing hidden tiles, turning maze tiles, crossing suspended bridges, matching colors and so on. Said to be good family fun with a badly structured rulebook.
Board Game: Bibi Blocksberg und das Geheimnis der blauen Eulen!
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7. Board Game: Beowulf: The Legend [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:2325]
Board Game: Beowulf: The Legend
Laszlo Molnar
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2005
Board Game: Beowulf: The Legend

image by hotrodqt

Just like in case of the Tolkien games, artwork is by John Howe - and it indeed looks like those boards.
You are collecting fame points and gold pieces during the game (you can buy more cards, fame, or heal your wounds for gold). The one common Beowulf piece moves forwards and stuff happens according to the episodes/fields. The fields look quite complex actually as each of them is a major or minor episode in the storyline.
In case of the major episodes you are mostly picking up stuff or bidding openly for stuff, looking forward and planning what you are going to need later.
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8. Board Game: Tal der Abenteuer: Die Schatzsuche im Himalaja [Average Rating:5.85 Overall Rank:8526]
Board Game: Tal der Abenteuer: Die Schatzsuche im Himalaja
Laszlo Molnar
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2006
Board Game: Tal der Abenteuer: Die Schatzsuche im Himalaja


As far as I know this game re-uses some of the ideas seen in Honeybears/The Bucket Brigade but while I don’t feel that game really fits this list, Tal der Abenteuer does, even if this time the paths have turnouts just like in Lord of the Rings (2003). So this game uses the Honeybears card game mechanism to move pawns forward.

The board is 2-sided. As a preparation, Tiles are placed on spaces marked for tile placement & a jewel is placed on the temple space.
Now the adventurers belong to everyone: everyone can move them.

Play one of your cards. Move the matching-color adventurer as many spaces as the number of arrows. If you play a joker, you can move any adventurer.
If you arrive on a facedown tile, turn it over and follow the instructions (take coins, a card, move another adventurer, take a jewel).
When an adventurer reaches the end of the first board (the Tibetan temple), score for matching-color cards, and collect or lose points for the cards you have in hand according to the position of the different colored adventurers.

It's mostly the same on the second board which is a bit nastier as there are some fields that you use for blocking after crossing (bridges collapse).
The last space contains a jewel and 3 coins. Score like the first time. Jewels majority gets 12 bonus points (2nd place also gets points (coins)).
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9. Board Game: Keltis: Das Orakel [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:2712]
Board Game: Keltis: Das Orakel
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
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2010
Board Game: Keltis: Das Orakel


In a way, each Keltis board game (obviously based on Lost Cities the card game) does belong to this list. You move your pawns/adventurers conrolled by the cards you play from your hand, and then do the actions or get the loot you find on the field you arrive at. But as they are multiple-thread titles (with no common ending point), Das Orakel is the first one that really fits to this list: although you still control 3 of your pawns, you are moving forward on a path. You do have more special tiles than before in the series too.
Besides your own pawns, here you also have a neutral (and human-shaped, providing more theme) figure having an effect on the events like in some other titles in the geeklist, but unlike Sauron in Lord of the Rings or Smaug in The Hobbit, it's not a bad 'character' but a helping one.
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10. Board Game: The Hobbit [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:4234]
Board Game: The Hobbit
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
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2010
Board Game: The Hobbit


The Bilbo figure is moved by the players using cards. Spaces have symbols on them – character development items like strength, cunning, initiative - or supply (food). Events give reward for all or one player (the later is resolved in mostly the same manner as travelling) or are travel cards: Bilbo moves as many spaces as there are players. Players use blind bidding to play and reveal dwarf cards to determine the order of movement of Bilbo: the lowest bidder gets to move Bilbo first, gaining rewards or suffering losses according to the space Bilbo lands on, followed by the next bidder and so on. If I want to compare it to any Knizian card games I'd say it resembles Relationship Tightrope/Zen Master the most - but here it's not only the lowest and highest card takes reward/penalty.
Once Bilbo reaches an Adventure space, Adventure cards are resolved. Roll die to attain the cost on the cards that you don’t already have. In case you fail you are damaged by Smaug. If everyone passes or fails an adventure, Smaug comes closer (a dragon tile is drawn), possibly ending the game earlier (the game ends when the Smaug miniature makes it to Laketown). Most jewels wins (an alternative rule adds a Knizian "highest lowest" scoring as well, rather lowering the role of bad rolls).

Although the game is competitive, there is a semi-cooperative version mentioned where everyone looses if Smaug reaches Laketown too early.
 
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11. Board Game: Merchants of Amsterdam [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:1944]
Board Game: Merchants of Amsterdam
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
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2000 (!)

I didn't include this game before because of two reasons: 1. it doesn't look like a linear adventure, even the theme suggests something different and it is known to be a game of Dutch auctions; 2. I hadn't read the rules before.
But, in fact, if Beowulf: The Legend belongs to this list, Merchants of Amsterdam should be included as well. In Beowulf, a common marker (Beowulf himself) moves forward on a track that shows different events of his journey and different actions/events happen on the different fields. In a way you could say B:TL just barely belongs to this list as the (common) marker is not moved forward by any kind of card play or die rolls. In Merchants of Amsterdam it's almost the same, only here randomly drawn cards tell the players when the marker should be moved forward to the next field - the next event. The game ends at the end of the track; until then, you have a few scorings, a few other events (all of them depicting different historic events in chronological order) and lots of auctions - just like in Beowulf.
Board Game: Merchants of Amsterdam
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