Monday, September 15, 2008

#66: Ringel Rangel

Ringel Rangel
  • designer: Geni Wyss
  • publisher: Haba
  • date: 1993
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: not rated/6.14
  • age: 4+
  • # of players: 2-4
  • print status: OOP
  • cost: at least 16.50 Euros ( - about $23)
This is one of the those games that fell into my lap. (BTW, that happens the more you collect & trade games - because you have some rudimentary knowledge & "feel" for what will be a good game, you take chances that help lead you to something wonderful.) In this case, I had listed it as a part of the Kublacon math trade - but it fell outside the loop. Instead, the seller contacted me afterwards to let me know she'd sell it for $15 & deliver it to Kublacon as well.

Now, I'd never seen Ringel Rangel - just a picture or two on the Geek along with a play description that emphasized "dexterity" and "chunky wooden pieces." And that, along with the Spiel des Jahres Kinderspiel (German game of the year for children) award and the publisher (Haba) was enough to convince me.

It was a good call... Ringel Rangel is one of those wonderful "good with adults & kids together" games, since the basic skill needed (moving the turtles slowly with one finger) is pretty well within the ability of everyone 5+ or more. (Note: the box says 4+, but we've found that kids that age get frustrated when the pieces keep falling off.)

I'm still not clear on the theme - there are turtles and there are beach balls and large pieces of driftwood (I guess?!) and you're trying to get the turtles safely to their nests without bumping any turtles or beach balls off the... beach?! The beach (playing board) is actually about 1/2 an inch thick - which is nice because it's obvious when a beach ball or turtle falls off the board.

In turn, players pick the top turtle of one of two stacks. The turtles come in six colors, and each of them has their own starting area (on one side of the board) and nest (far away from the starting area). They place the turtle on the board & move him with ONE finger... nudging other objects out of the way in an attempt to cleanly (w/out knocking other pieces off) to their nest. A "clean" run gives you the right to put a previously knocked off beach ball back on the board - but not of your color - you have to hang onto those. (You also have to hang onto turtles you knock off.)

The driftwood is the ingenious way that's used to ramp up the difficulty based on the age of the players. There are three small holes in the board & three pieces of driftwood which can be anchored in those holes. When they're added to the board, it gets even more difficult to predict the chain reactions that come as you work your way toward your nest.

The player with the least stuff (beach balls & turtles) in front of him when the last turtle arrives at his nest wins the game.

I'm guessing this will be one of the most difficult games on this list to locate - but it's a great game both for kids & for adults, with or without the other age group involved.

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