Tuesday, October 14, 2008

#45: Buddel-Wuddel

  • designer: Richard Ulrich & Wolfgang Kramer
  • publisher: Haba
  • date: 2003
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: not ranked/6.11
  • age: 6+
  • # of players: 2-4
  • print status: OOP?
  • cost: 9.90 EU (Amazon.de - approx. $15.00)
Kramer & Ulrich are famous for other designs - most notably, El Grande & The Princes of Florence (two of my top ten games for adults). What we have here in this bright yellow Haba box is a mechanic from one of their "gamer" games (Die Handler) repurposed to drive a kid game about moles, gnomes, mine cars & a friendly goblin.

Players share two mine cars (with four spaces each) - and their moles careen about the mine attempting to reach the stolen treasure before other players. There are ways to ditch players off the cars (thanks to some handy gnomes on the board) as well as a friendly goblin who frees moles from the pesky gnomes. But the part of the game borrowed from Die Handler is the sharing - you're riding with other moles, so you've got to decide if you're going to "play nice" or try & take over the car for yourself.

The game is driven by the die - but you can move up to the rolled amount, so you always have some flexibility. Each move also ends with the car spinning one quarter turn, which adds another level of "how do I maximize this simple move to do the most possible damage to my opponents while keeping my moles as safe as possible?"

When players reach the treasure chamber, the mole "in front" gets 2 gold while the other moles get 1 gold each. The car is then returned to the start point & is re-loaded with moles. And the game continues until all 20 gold are dispensed - the player with the most gold wins.

This is one of those games that can be pleasantly random playing with a group of kids (who don't always think about the implications of their moves) or pretty tactical when played with adults. The nice thing is that it works both ways. (A counter-example, btw, is Amazing Labyrinth, which doesn't appear in the Kid Games 100 despite it's iconic status as a German kids game because the game is insanely long when played randomly by kids - and no shorter when played with a bunch of AP-prone adults.)

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