Sunday, October 19, 2008

#41: Höchst Verdächtig

Höchst Verdächtig
  • designer: Manfred Ludwig
  • publisher: Haba
  • date: 2002
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 2455/6.26
  • age: 6+
  • # of players: 2-4
  • print status: in print?
  • cost: $32.99 (Amazon)
First things first... ignore the insanely cheerful lamp in the picture. Haba is not only one of the foremost publishers of kid games but they also do a bang-up job of toys, furniture & kid room decorative stuff. (The lamp is just one example - for more stuff, check out their online catalog - I would have LOVED this room as a kid.)

Now, on to the game in question - the English name is "Highly Suspect" (which made me laugh pretty hard when Chef Skinner in Pixar's Ratatouille muttered it) - and it's about catching a bad guy before any of the other detectives. It's pretty simple, actually: when your detective moves next to the crook, you nab a "bad guy" card (worth 0-3 points). When one person has 4 cards, the game is over & you total up points to see who won.

Ah, but fighting crime is never that simple, is it? Rather than moving the pieces, you move the board. It tilts & the pieces (both detectives & criminals) slide until they hit a raised portion of the city. So, on your turn, you can make the pieces slide 1, 2 or 3 times, depending on your die roll.

When playing with younger children, the Law of Unintended Consequences shows up quite a bit, as kids (and a number of adults) don't look ahead to see what will happen to all of the pieces. This isn't a bad thing, mind you - one of the key gaming (and life!) lessons we want to teach kids is the ability to look ahead to the consequences of their actions.

Kids love the sliding mechanic at the heart of this game... I think it may be the same impulse that makes little boys slide Hot Wheels down improvised ramps. They need to be 6-7 years old to understand the implications of their moves, but they can play with the game as young as 4.

Some folks have objected to the random payoff of the cards, but I think that particular scoring mechanic is there to keep the game from devolving into endless tit for tat sliding & min-maxing of points.

No comments: