Reiner Knizia’s High Society, a card-based auction game from Skotos Tech, is now available from the app store. Following in the tradition of other Dr. Knizia classics, it’ll take balanced play and strategic moves to beat your opponents and take home the top prize.
Reiner Knizia’s High Society Pros:
- Simple rules with complex results
- Clean interface
- Strategic gameplay
Reiner Knizia’s High Society Cons:
- Buttons a bit unresponsive unless tapped just so
- No soundtrack
Each player starts with bills in varying denominations that total $106. A card is turned over from the auction pile, indicating an item to bid on and a card value. Players go around the table, either bidding or passing. Each subsequent bid must be greater than the current bid. The player whose bid remains after the other 3 players pass is the winner of the item. The bills used in the bidding process are removed from his hand and the value of the card is awarded to the high bidder. Item cards are either yellow or red. Once the 4th red card is overturned, the game ends immediately. If any player uses up all of his money before the 4th red card is played, the game also ends. The player with the least money remaining in his hand is eliminated and the player with the highest point total of the three remaining players is declared the winner.
There are a few special cards in the deck that change the rules up a bit. One such card has a value of negative-5, while the others either steal your highest value card or cut your hand’s value in half. When one of these cards is overturned, all players must bid in order NOT to receive it. The first player to pass will receive the card and all of the other players will lose the amount of their bids. It is an interesting trade-off where you can lose some of the value of your hand by reducing the amount of money available to your opponents, which could help push one of them into the elimination position when the game ends. It will likely take a few rounds to get a good handle on the game’s dynamics and learn some strategy, but once you do, it’s really a unique challenge.
Graphically, the game has a very similar look to Reiner Knizia’s Money, which is also from Skotos Tech. Each player occupies a side of the screen. When it is your turn, tapping on your available bills will spread them across the screen bottom, with additional taps highlighting cards by sliding them upward out of your hand. Tapping the Bid button or Pass button will confirm said move. Additionally, holding your finger on screen objects will bring up more information. Hold on the deck to see remaining cards (each played red card will pop-up a message indicating how many red cards remain, too), hold on an opponent’s deck to see his score and remaining dollar amount (though the denomination of his bills remains a mystery), and holding on your score will show everyone’s scores and remaining total dollar amounts at once. There is no sound, which is kind of disappointing, as it’s always nice to have something playing in the background. Controls require simple taps, though the Bid/Pass buttons are a bit small and unresponsive unless you tap them in just the right way.
Replay value is very good, as the strategic elements of the game will really open up new avenues of play once you get a handle on them. The most important thing to realize is that once you complete a bid with a specific bill, it is gone, and increasing future bids by its value is no longer possible. If you use small bills early, you may only be left with the option to make a more sizeable increased bid than desired later on. Similarly, you may find yourself winning future items because your opponent’s have left themselves in the same undesirable position. The game is really a blast, continuing our love of Dr. Knizia games on the iDevice. For $2.99, High Society is on par with other titles in the same family. If you enjoy games of this ilk, Reiner Knizia’s High Society is a 4.5-Dimple star that impresses and delights.Reiner Knizia’s High Society Universal iDevice App Review,