- designer: Peter Neugebauer
- publisher: Gamewright
- date: 1997
- BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 2023/6.24
- age: 6+
- # of players: 2-4
- print status: in print
- cost: $7.45 (Fairplay Games)
- While I love the flea circus art of Zirkus Flohcati, I think the bold & vibrant duck & dog pictures on the Duck Duck Bruce cards are much more compelling for kids.
- The penalty for pushing your luck is smaller in Duck Duck Bruce... well, potentially smaller. You can "bust" and still possibly get some cards.
- The scoring of Duck Duck Bruce is easier to explain to small kids - it's hard to get the concepts of Trios & Galas across.
- I like the Bruce the Dog (dice) mechanic for stealing cards - it's a bit more random but does allow you to go after someone in the lead if you're willing to take a chance.
Maybe you've read this far & are thinking: "Thanks for all the comparisons, Mark, but I haven't played either game. A little help here, please."
No problem. Both games share a common mechanic: on your turn, you flip over cards from the deck until you either "bust" (get another card of the same suit) or stop & take your winnings. There are special action cards in both games that enable to get cards from other players - if you turn one over, you must take the special action. When the deck is exhausted, players in both games score the highest card of each suit they have.
- DDB is about ducks & the dog who chases them; ZF is about a flea circus
- in DDB, your winnings include all the turned-up cards; in ZF, you pick one of the cards
- if you "bust" in DDB, you only remove the matching cards & the cards between them; in ZF, a "bust" means you don't take a card
- there are 3 special action cards in ZF: steal a card, ask for a gift card & keep placing cards until you have a match then take one of them; DDB has only Bruce the Dog that allows you to pick an opponent & roll the die to steal cards
- there is only one kind of scoring in DDB; in ZF, you can also score for Trios (laying down 3 identical cards) and for a Gala (having 1 card of each of the suits in your hand - which also ends the game)
- you play multiple hands of DDB & total your scores; you play one hand of ZF
Yes, I'm aware that the German rules & English rules for Zirkus Flohcati differ - if you haven't figured it out, I use the German name for a reason. (I don't like the English changes... you can see the differences here.
I think Duck Duck Bruce is a tad quicker & easier for kids to learn (my 4 year old can play if someone helps him figure his score). Not that I'm getting rid of my copy of Zirkus Flohcati, mind you - just that this is the better game for kids.