Monday, August 11, 2008

#71: Die Ritter von der Haselnuss

Die Ritter von der Haselnuss

  • designer: Klaus Teuber
  • publisher: Goldsieber
  • date: 1997
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 2866/6.11
  • age: 6+
  • # of players: 2-4
  • print status: in print?
  • cost: EUR 10,49 (, about $17.00)
Back in the day (OK, back in the late '90's), Goldsieber was known for making games with lavish production values (examples include Mississippi Queen, Africa & Goldland) as well as producing a splendid line of kid games under their "Minibox" label. (You've already seen 4 of them in the Kid Games 100 - and there are more to come.) Team that kind of production team up with the designer of Settlers of Catan and what you end up with is a tricky little memory game called "The Knights of the Hazelnut."

Players take the role of armor-clad squirrels (the plastic pieces are delightful) who are moving about the forest, picking hazelnuts to be stored for the winter & defending their territory against Leo the Lynx, Max the Marmot & Fritz the Fox. The board has pathways that lead to various trees as well as two "castles" where players can store/score their hazelnuts.

On your turn, you roll the dice & move in either direction - landing most of the time at the base of a tree. You pick up the top card & look at it - if it's a hazelnut, it's yours. If it's a predator, you replace on top of the stack face-down, trying to memorize which animal it is & where it's located.

Now, when another player lands on that particular tree, if you're the first to shout out the correct name (example: "Leo!"), you defeat the predator & earn two victory points. If you're wrong, you lose two victory points. You also get points for taking hazelnuts to one of the castles - the more hazelnuts you're carrying, the more points you get (it's exponential)... however, you can lose your hard-worn winter snacks if you get caught by a predator (another player yelling out the correct name when you arrive at a tree).

The game ends when either two trees are without cards or one of the players has gained enough victory points to reach the coat of arms at the end of the scoring track.

This is one of the few games on the list where I'll say that the recommended age may be slightly optimistic. While there are a few younger children who can look at a hidden card without inadvertently revealing the picture to other players (either by showing the card or blurting out the answer), their tribe is not large. We've had better luck with this game as my oldest son has gotten, well, older.

Once your kids reach the point where they can play, however, it's a lot of fun to play, esp. with the full contingent of 4 players. (More players means more chances for catching predators, which is the point.)

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