Mr. Maksimov's Manor

Game Overview: Mr. Maksimov has passed away and the contents of his Manor are on the line as the game players compete to purchase items from his estate sale.  Each item they purchase goes towards them earning points at the end of the game.  However, players may be forced to purchase things that they do not want, which could give them negative points towards their final score.  This is a great family game that does not take much time to play. 

Box Contents: The box is very small measuring approximately 4 inches by 6 inches, so it won't take up much shelf space. Inside the box, you have just four items.  The instructions, the playing cards, bidding tokens, and a draw string bag.  Small baggies came with the box to keep the cards and bidding tokens organized.   

Clarity of Rules:  The rules are on a single glossy page that has instructions on the front and back.  We had to read through it once and haven't had to refer back to it again.  It does an excellent job explaining the game.

Game Play:  Each player chooses the bidding color tokens (ten tokens) that they will use.  Players are then dealt three cards.  This will send them down the path of which cards they will try to obtain to win the game.  There are eight groups of cards that will be seen.  Map Fragments, Magical Items, Magical Powder, Maksimov's Art, Rare Books, Maksimov's Will, Treasure, and Trunk cards.  If you end up with a single map fragment you are given -5 points at the end of the game.  Add a 2nd piece or a 3rd and you can get up to 23 points. Magical items by themselves give you negative points of -3, -5, and -8.  However, if you get the magical powder card it turns that negative into a positive.  Maksimov's Art cards give you points (1 or 2) for the number bidding token that you do not spend.  Rare books allow you to gather up to four cards with one card earning you 3 points and four cards worth 30 points.  Makisimov's Will allows you take a card from another players hand.  Treasure cards will give you either 5, 7, or 10 points.  Get all three types of treasure and you get a bonus of 7 points.  The Trunk card gives you one point for each cards you have in your hand at the end of the game.  Get both trunk cards and double your points!  After the cards have been dealt, five cards will be laid down face up.  You then determine how many bidding tokens you are willing to throw into the draw string bag. Bid carefully though, as there are four rounds where additional cards are turned face up.  Use up all of your tokens and you must wait until the scoring round.  The person controlling the bag for that round also drops in two white tokens.  Bidding tokens are drawn out until all cards have been taken. If your token is pulled from the bag, you must take a card.  Even if that means negative points for you.  If a white token is drawn, the person controlling the bag removes one of the cards that have been turned face up.  This is a strategic move to keep negative points out of your hand or to keep cards away from other players. After four rounds, points are added up to determine the winner.  So far we have had a high score of 43 points in our four player games and a low score of 3.

Replay Ability:  Your strategy will be determined by the cards that are initially dealt to you and any cards you win or are forced to take.  Because of this, each game is new and unique each time.

Appropriate Audience:  The game suggests 14+ for the appropriate age.  We think you could easily teach this to someone as young as 8 years old. 

What We Liked/Didn't Like: You know the saying that great things come in small packages.  So very true here. This is a great game that the entire family enjoys.  The short game play of 15 minutes allows us to get multiple plays in at one sitting.  We have tried it with both two players and four players.  It is a little too easy with just two players as you can typically bid for and win what you need to score your points. The game really shines when all four of us are playing the game.  With four players every bid you make is a risky move as you may not win the opportunity to get the cards you need.  The draw string bag works well for Mom, Coby, and Cade.  However, it is a little small for my hands.  It doesn't take anything away from the game but I just have to be aware of that before I go digging for the tokens.

Add-ons/Other Releases:  n/a

  * A review copy was provided to us.  The contents of the game or rules may change with future releases.  Our review is based upon the game that we received and also take into consideration changes that the game designer may have noted to us that were not present in the review copy.