Monday, February 23, 2009

#32: Eureka! (Gamewright)

  • designer: Peter-Paul Joopen
  • publisher: Gamewright
  • date: 2002
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: not ranked/5.43
  • age: 6+
  • # of players: 2-4
  • print status: OOP
  • cost: $24.95 ( the price is double the original retail - but the game is OOP)
Here's what impressed me about Eureka! (not be confused with Eureka by Ravensburger... an older but still enjoyable gold nugget hunting game) - it manages to combine an exploration game with a memory game and make it work.

It doesn't hurt, of course, that the folks at Gamewright also managed to make a very workable "junior" variant simply by removing a chunk of the rock (ie, "empty") tiles that both speeds up the game and gives the younger set a version where something 'happens' almost every turn because the board is nothing but special tiles.

But I digress - some of you wonder how the game works & are irritated with me for jumping ahead to my conclusions about the game. Some of you need to take a chill pill already.

The double-sided tiles are laid out in an 8x8 grid (7x7 for the junior version) and players each choose a starting corner. On your turn, you roll the dice & move vertically & horizontally to a space - which you flip over. A variety of things can happen - bats chase you away (and give you another turn); bears scare you back to your starting corner; lanterns let you sneak a peek at all the surrounding tiles; cave-ins make you lose a turn; danger signs can either lead to an extra turn or a lost turn... and most importantly, the gold nugget tiles let you put your claim markers on the board.

Each player has 4 numbered claim markers (1-4) and there are a number of gold nugget tiles with 1-4 nuggets on them. You can only mark tiles that don't already have a claim marker with a claim marker of the correct number... and you win the game by placing all four of your markers.

It's simple enough to play with 5 year olds (the only movement restriction is that you can't land on the same space as another player) while there are some interesting movement decisions based on how well you remember where things are. With 3 or 4 players, there some definite racing elements; in fact, the game works better with more players, as the gold nuggets and other tiles are revealed more quickly.

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