The legendary Sannikov Land is discovered at last! Civilization ambassadors from all over the world move to the small piece of land lost somewhere in the Arctic. The are ready to offer the aboriginal Onkilon tribe various civilization achievements, from clock and football to submarines and atheism, as an exchange for the natural resources of the island. But still, it’s quite necessary for envoys at least to explain the indigenes what are they talking about before persuading them to buy all these surely useful miracles of culture, science and engineering because the only way to talk to the Onkilons is in primitive pictograms which represent simple words such as “fish”, “mother”, “egg”, “cold” or “above”.
My Understands You is a board game of associations and creative thinking. Players one after another take a role of civilization ambassador, who should explain any expression of the modern world using simple images. Others play as the Onkilons and try to guess what the guest of the Big world is talking about. Victory points charge by right conjectures and understandable explanations. When everyone will play as an envoy for 2 to 5 times, depending to the number of players, the game ends and the winner is defined according to the earned points.
At the game beginning each player gets a set of the voting tiles with the numbers from 1 to 6 on them and 3 stake tiles: smoked herring, reindeer hide and mammoth tusk. By the way, players acquire 3 big cards with civilization achievements, 2 words on each (for example, “oil derrick”, “backpack”, “deodorant”, “calculator”) and 6 small cards with pictograms (such as “woman”, “bird”, “loud”, “night”).
Each turn the envoy puts his achievement cards in a column. Upper word or phrase is counted as the first, the one under it as the second and all way down to the lower as the sixth one. Then the envoy decides which of the achievements he will explain with the gained pictograms. He should use 2 or 3 small cards: for example, “water”, “fire” and “below” for “oil derrick”. After the decision about the achievement and its explanation he puts the needed small cards with face up and the number tile face down.
Other players acting as the Onkilons join the round. They try to guess which of 6 achievements the presenter is trying to show. They find the word or phrase on the big cards that is the most suitable for the played pictograms and lay out the appropriate number tiles face down as well. Also the indigenes need to use one of the stake tiles. Victory points depend on the stake if the word hypothesis will be right: 1 point for a herring, 2 for a hide and 3 for a tusk.
When all the Onkilons have made their choice, everyone turns the voting tiles face up to see who guessed the achievement correctly. If all the players guessed or nobody did (in other words, the explanation was very clear or too complicated), tribesmen get 1 point each and the ambassador has nothing. If the right choice was made only by few natives, they get points according to their stakes and the envoy gains points for the biggest stake of the correct answer.
Ex-presenter takes new cards in exchange for used and hand over the turn.
My Understands You suits for the company of friends and for families as well. The most comfortable gameplay is for the 3-4 players – everyone can be a presenter for enough turns. Still the game can become longer for more player as well: achievement cards can be played for another round. Even if you’ll get the same words, the explanations can be fully different so it will let you discover lots of imagination inside your mind that you didn’t even suspect of.
Experts and acknowledgement
My Understands You has become the first game that passed through the pre-release tests in the Experts Guild of the board game clubs Association. 11 experienced boardgamers from Moscow and St. Petersburg played “Sannikov land” (pre-release name of the game) for several dozens times. Experts generally accepted the game from the start and sent some recommends about rules, targeting and design to the publisher. The success came up during only few months after release. My Understands You has two awards of Tesera 2013 as The best party game and The best family game.
Basically "Sannikov land" is a novel by Vladimir Obruchev. He used the legend of the phantom island somewhere in the Arctic, thought to be discovered for few times but still - only in someone's imagination, and fictionalized different hearsays about it into a book, released in 1926. Island search was extremely popular in the 19th century after the first allusion of its assumed location and attractive warm climate. In spite of the fact that the island remained phantom the book succeded as a science fiction with good explanations of nature anomalies, endemic species and native tribesmen.