Saturday, June 28, 2008

#78: Das Störrische Muli

Das Storrisches Muli
  • designer: Hartmutt Kommerell
  • publisher: Klee
  • date: 1999
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: not ranked/6.3
  • age: 8+
  • # of players: 3-5
  • print status: OOP
  • cost: I could not find a copy of this for sale online from a trusted source... sorry.
The two dashing gentlemen in the picture are Ted Cheatham (designer of Silk Road & Gumball Rally) and Greg Schloesser (head of the IGA & well-known gaming figure)... and it was taken in my game room in Nashville, TN, about 7 years ago. This was our late night silliness - and "The Intractable Mules" (that's how the title translates) was perfect.

What I've found out over the years is that DSM (I'm not typing that name again - no way) works just as well with kids as it does with adults. I'm not sure where Klee (the manufacturer) came up with age 8+ recommendation... I've had kids as young as 5 play it and play well.

The game itself is simple - each player is a mule with a blanket that matches one side of a color die. Any missing colors are filled in by neutral mule driver tokens. On your turn, you roll the 2 dice & move the respective pieces one space forward. (If you roll doubles, that piece moves 1 space backwards.) Then you pass the dice to the next player. They may choose to "hold" one of the dice (keeping it on the same face/color without rolling it) but they must roll at least one die. When the first piece (mule or mule driver) reaches the end of the path, Ted shouts something unprintable (OK, that's only when you're playing with Ted) and all of the pieces are turned around and begin racing back towards the ranch (start place).

You win in one of two ways:
  1. If you're the first mule to arrive at the ranch, you win IF the last piece remaining on the board is a mule driver.
  2. If your mule is the last piece on the board, you win.
So, at some point in the game, you have to decide what your "strategy" (and I use the term loosely) will be:
  • pushing all the other mules & drivers toward the ranch in order to be the last mule standing OR
  • racing to the finish while pushing the other mules forward & leaving the drivers alone OR
  • just rolling the dice & hoping for the best (this happens more often than you'd think)
With the silly mules & fast play, it generates a lot of fun in a short time... and works well with groups of kids (w/an adult to referee), mixed groups of adults & kids, and (as you can see from the picture) is a great closer for game groups.

Interestingly, the game was re-published in 2002 with some small tweaks as Trampelfanten. The theme now is stampeding elephants, the pieces are wooden rather than cardboard, and the only rule change I could see is that players who are finish second or worst can still roll even though they're off the board. (In DSM, only the first mule home & mules still on the board can roll - which I think prevents kingmaking.) Sadly, it's also out of print & hard to find.

No comments: