«Die Macher» review

Die Macher was first published in 1986 by Hans im Glück. The game was designed by Karl-Heinz Schmiel. The illustrations were done by Marcus Gschwendtner.

The first edition version of Die Macher could be played by up to four people. In 1997, the game was revised. The second edition allowed up to five people.

In 2006, Die Macher was released by Valley Games, Inc. The newest edition features language-independent components and some minor rule changes.

Die Macher - Close Up

Game Components

  • 6 Game Boards:
    • 4 State Boards;
    • 1 National Board;
    • 1 Organization Board;
  • 160 Wooden Pieces:
    • 90 Small Cubes – 18 of each color (black, yellow, red, green, pink);
    • 25 Large Cubes – 5 of each color (black, yellow, red, green, pink);
    • 45 Flat Blocks – 9 of each color (black, yellow, red, green, pink);
  • 1 Sheet of Cardboard Tiles:
    • 16 State Tiles;
    • 20 Coalition Tiles – 4 of each color (black, yellow, red, green, pink);
    • 5 Starting Player Tiles – 1 of each color (black, yellow, red, green, pink);
    • 3 Party Membership Payout Tiles;
    • 4 Key Issue Tiles;
    • 1 “No Coalition” Tile;
  • 299 Playing Cards:
    • 16 State Cards;
    • 35 Shadow Cabinet Cards – 7 of each color (black, yellow, red, green, pink);
    • 25 Party Contribution Cards – 5 of each color (black, yellow, red, green, pink);
    • 42 Public Opinion Cards;
    • 56 Party Policy Cards;
    • 20 Opinion Poll Cards;
    • 105 Money Cards;
  • 2 Special Dice;
  • 1 Pad of Scoring Pages;
  • 1 Set of Rules;
  • 1 Official Rules Translation CD.

Die Macher - Gameplay


Players represent different political parties in Germany and take part in seven political races that take place in different regions. To win, you have to score the largest number of victory points. There are four ways of getting points:

  • Every regional election brings you points depending on the size of the region and your performance there.
  • If by the end of the game your party platform aligns with the views of the population, you get points.
  • If you win an election, you get the power to influence the media, and that brings you points.
  • You have the national party membership which also brings points.

The game lasts for about four hours.


The game of Die Macher goes on for seven rounds. Each round stands for an election in one region. Each election is a mini-game in its own. This is what goes on during one election:

Modify your party platform

You have five platform cards. You can change one of them. The more matches you have with the current region, the more points you get.

Shadow Cabinet

You can bribe a government official to receive a favor. Favors include: gaining popularity, gaining media influence, resolving a key issue, turning an issue into a key issue, an opportunity to form a coalition, gaining votes.

Die Macher - Bundestag

Form coalitions

Two parties can join to win an election against a third party if they have more points in total. They can only do that if they both have the permission from the Shadow Cabinet to form coalitions and if they have at least one matching issue on the platform.

Buy Media Markers

You can spend money to buy media influence. If you are controlling the most media spaces in the region, you can change one issue in the region’s opinion, and you are immune to the negative effects of Opinion polls in this region.

Die Macher - National Board

Organize meetings

You can buy meeting markers. They will bring you points.

Opinion polls

You can auction an opinion poll. You do not know the results of it, but the poll is useful for you either way. If they the results are good for you, you want to use them, if they are bad, you want to destroy them.

Gain votes

Die Macher - Votes

If you have at least five meetings, you can convert them to votes. The formula is Votes = (Coincidence + Popularity) * Meetings. If you have more votes than all other players combined, you can change one issue in region’s opinion. Popularity is affected by the Shadow Cabinet and the Opinion poll. Coincidence is the number of matching issues minus the number of opposite issues.

Score region

Votes translate to money and victory points. To get more victory points, you can place a media marker on the National Board and move some region’s opinion cards to the National Board.

During every round, all these steps take place in four regions, one of them is the region where the election is being held this round. So, you have to control your coincidence with all the current four regions and the National Board. When you make a change, you have to plan your strategy carefully and think what it affects and what it will affect in the future.

Another thing you have to manage is money. Elections cost a lot, but you have to remember, money does not bring you the victory. Points do.

You can download full rules PDF in English here.

Die Macher - Player Area

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Q: Can I play Die Macher online?

A: You can play Die Macher as a Vassal-Module at Vassal – the open-source boardgame engine. Find it here.

Q: Is there a two-player version of the game?

A: No, there is not. Die Macher is designed to be played from three to five people, and it is at its best if you have all five of them. Then you can really feel the intense competition.

Q: Is it possible to stop the game and then resume it later? The full game of Die Macher takes so long we cannot afford a complete playthrough at one take.

A: You can stop the game after an election has finished. Then you will have to memorize your resources, your cards, and where all the markers are placed on the boards.

Q: What can I do to make the process of learning the rules easier?

A: Scott Nicholson’s video on YouTube is something you might want to watch. It will help you to rake through the rulebook.

Q: Is there a print and play version of Die Macher?

A: There is no full version to be found on the internet. If you are looking for specific pieces that are missing from your game, you can get in touch with Valley Games and ask them to mail you the missing components.


Scott Nicholson’s video on YouTube.


Die Macher is a German boardgame classic. It has not lost its appeal to gamers even though it was first released back in 1986. It is a political Eurogame, but the complexity of its mechanics may liken it to a wargame. So, if you are used to Eurogames, you will have to spend a lot of time on your first play. But once you have understood what is happening during every round, the pace of the gameplay quickens. The four or five hours you will spend playing Die Macher will not feel that long due to the swift dynamics of the game.

All the aspects of Die Macher are very true to the theme. The game represents the Geman electoral system and mirrors the venality and volatility of real-life politicians. Sometimes you are allowed to change your party platform in order to win more votes. Bribing and media control are also in the game.

So, if you are willing to take on the role of a sneaky party leader who is willing to do whatever it takes to bring your party to the victory, do not hesitate to try Die Macher!

You can buy it on Amazon.