Tuesday, June 10, 2008

#89: Der Kleine Riese Kasimir

Der Kleine Riese Kasimir
  • designer: Rudiger Dorn
  • publisher: Goldsieber
  • date: 1998
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: not ranked/6.4
  • age: 7+
  • # of players: 2-4
  • print status: OOP
  • cost: EUR 11,50 (Amazon.de)
Designer Rudiger Dorn is best known in the boardgaming community for his meaty games like Goa, Traders of Genoa & Louis XIV. Since I'm not a fan of any of these games, it's a bit surprising that one of his kid game designs ended up here on my Kid Games 100 list. (To his credit, I do like Emerald, Arkadia, and Gargon.)

The story behind Der Kleine Riese Kasimir (which is translated as "The Little Giant Kasimir") is a benevolent version of Gulliver & the Lilliputians. Kasimir has found some toys to play with - which turn out to be the actual vehicles of the little people. After he takes a nap & awakens to find himself tied to the ground, Kasimir begins to cry because he won't get home in time for supper. So the players (in the role of the Little People) race to untie him so he can get home to his mommy & daddy.

The board (shown in the picture above) has a post in each area (a small chip). Players move their Little People around the board via an unusual system - each player has five wooden markers in the various colors of the board which they've drawn from the bag - they can use these markers to move to adjacent areas - and when they stop moving, they replenish from the bag.

Posts (chips) are worth various numbers of points - there are even a few chips which allow you to steal points from other players. Finally, there are three "timer" chips - when the third one is drawn, the game is over.

Now, that would be a nice little game if that was all there was... but there's one more wrinkle. When you pick up a chip, you must flip over another chip on a space of the same color. (And, yes, you can use this to hide a previously face-up chip.) This allows players to make some plans & calculate risks... and takes the game up a notch.

My first impressions of Der Kleine Riese Kasimir were so-so... but as I've played the game, I realized that there are some subtleties that aren't immediately obvious here - esp. when playing with younger children. This is one of those times when the age range recommendation makes a lot of sense to me.

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