6 Reasons Why 6 nimmt! is a Masterpiece


6 nimmt! can easily be regarded as one of the modern classics in the board game community. This masterpiece from Wolfgang Kramer has been present ever since 1994 and has received many re-prints, editions, and variants. But what makes the game so good? Here are 6 Reasons Why 6 nimmt! is a Masterpiece.

1. Simplicity

6 nimmt! qualifies into those “learn in a minute” board game categories. All you have to do is play one card each turn. And all you need to make sure is not to place the 6th card that will take the row.

These rudimentary rules make the game extremely accessible to all demographic groups, even those who have never played a board game or a card game in their life. While it’s true the first couple of games they will more often than not be the ones to take the rows, they will be able to understand what they’re doing immediately.

2. Tactical depth

Despite its simplicity, 6 nimmt! offers a surprising amount of depth. Every starting hand requires a different approach. Sometimes you need to ditch the high numbers first, and other times the low numbers. Then there’s the anticipation of what others will do.

For example, there’s a 12 as a fourth card in a row and you want to play a 14. Is the 13 still in play, do you gamble it isn’t in play or it won’t be played this turn, thus making your 14 a safe card? Or do you think it will be played, so you play a 20 instead, counting on someone to play a card between 15-19 before you and let them pick up a row?

Then there are moves of intentionally collecting rows – particularly useful to get rid of those low cards. It sure is better to pick up just one card with one point on purpose than to leave a dangerous card in your hand and potentially collect a much higher toll later on.

All this gives you a lot to think about during a game. You’ll want a general plan in which order to dispose of your cards, but you also need to be flexible and spot opportunities when you can play a card safely or when you can set someone up and let them collect a huge row. Which is highly satisfying.

If even all this is not enough for your brain, you can try the Professional mode. Here cards will go on both the left and right sides of the rows, practically doubling your mental workload. Good luck predicting all the outcomes now!

And for a more predictable game, you can only include a part of the deck, ensuring you know exactly which cards are in play this round. (i.e. a 2-player game would only use cards 1-24: 10 per player + 4 starting rows).

6 nimmt! game
Which card to choose next? (Image from the BoardGameArena)

3. Excitement

If the previous section scared you into thinking 6 nimmt! is some kind of deterministic one-dimensional puzzle, I can assure you there’s no need to worry too much. Luck doesn’t have a small impact on the outcome. From your starting hand, down to what others will do. You just can’t predict everything and even the best-thought-out moves will sometimes backfire.

It’s this excitement of the unknown that keeps the game fresh and allows for variable outcomes. Cheering, oohing, aaahing, and ouch-ing are all parts of this game and will be heard around the table often.

4. Quirkiness

Another thing that helps contribute to the exciting and friendly environment is the overall oddity of the game. It never takes itself too seriously – even the box says “Not a game for the bullheaded!”.

While the theming is pretty much non-existent, the (negative) points you collect are depicted by horns, symbolizing a strong connotation with fertility, adultery, and cuckoldry. In short, collecting horns is not good.

But even horns come in different shapes and sizes. Some cards only have one horn on them, while the unwanted 55 has as many as seven. Therefore, it makes a huge difference which cards players collect and this reflects on the strategy.

But the funny thing is there’s no clear rule why some cards have more and others have fewer horns on them. Just like there’s no real reason why there are exactly 104 cards in the deck. That’s just the way it is and all you do is to accept the quirkiness of 6 nimmt!.

5. Scalability

Theoretically, up to 10 players can play the game, but what is the perfect player count for 6 nimmt!? While I agree it’s around the 5-6 player mark, the game scales surprisingly well for all player counts.

With fewer players, there’s more emphasis on strategy and tactics, while the large counts crank the excitement all the way up, bordering chaos. This can be further adjusted with the game modes (limited deck or Professional mode), allowing you to select the skill/luck ratio best suited for your group.

6. Value for Money

And the best part? You can get all this gameplay for an unimaginably low price. Of course, it’s just a deck of cards, how expensive can that get? But still, 6 nimmt! has got to be among the highest-ranked games when it comes to bang-for-your-buck ratings.

Sure, some won’t like its quirkiness or the (seemingly) high random element – we can’t all like everything. But together with the already mentioned accessibility of the rules, the price makes this at least a must-try for every gamer. You might just fall in love with horns.

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