Zatre is short for Zahlen & Treppen, numbers and steps. The publisher was obliged to replace the phrase "scrabbling with numbers" for "dominoes for the 21st century" on the box, but really it is just Scrabble with numbers. And very good for it, it is too. There are 121 tiles with 1-6 dots like a standard die or domino (20 of each number plus an extra 1). Players alternately draw and place 2 tiles on the board extending the pattern already laid. When you make a vertical or horizontal line that totals 10, 11 or 12 (12 is the limit), you score 1, 2 or 4 points accordingly on your game pad. Completing scoring lines on the pad gives a rising bonus and covering marked squares on the board gives you a doubling bonuses on your pad.
Simple and quick, but surprisingly challenging when you get the idea. The idea being that you must keep an even, balanced score pad, scoring 10s and 11s, not just successive 12s. Easy to pick up, but it requires some effort to score well; spotting those opportunities to place one tile which scores each way, making sure you keep clocking up 10s, to turn into 11s or 12s. Luck does play a role, but good players consistently score highly game after game, so there must be something deeper at work.
The publisher Perner maintains a website with play & chat over the internet and there are several very active Zatre clubs in Germany, Austria & Switzerland. Players results are scored on the ranking table on the website.
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