Monday, October 06, 2008

#53: Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest
  • designer: Alex Randolph & Michael Matschoss
  • publisher: Ravensburger
  • date: 1981
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 2459/5.81
  • age: 6+
  • # of players: 2-6
  • print status: in print
  • cost: $18.50 (Games Surplus)
Oooo, kids - look at the cute plastic trees & all the fairy tale story art! What a sweet game... well, no. It's not. It is, possibly, one of the meanest kid games ever made - and, boy howdy, is it fun to play!

The basic idea is simple enough - an item from the tales (Puss in Boots' boot, Sleeping Beauty's spindle, etc.) must be located - you can tell which one by the face-up card on the castle. Players roll 2 dice & maneuver their "knights" (pawns) in order to peer beneath the plastic trees & find the object of their quest. When they do, they race to the castle to tell the king where it is.

Of course, it's not that simple. (It never is, is it?) If you roll doubles, you can change the top card at the castle, magic yourself 1/2 way across the board or even jump to a tree. Better yet, if you finish either part of your move on top of another player, you send them back to the village (start space).

So, by now the savvier members of my reading audience have figured it out: Enchanted Forest is an evil combination of Aggravation and a memory game. Stomping on other players is an integral part of the fun!

To succeed at the game you need two basic skills:

  1. memory - there are 13 trees & you'll need to remember all of them that you can without getting to pick the order you see them in.
  2. ability to juggle small numbers - each turn, you get two "turns" - each die is a separate movement. Playing quickly depends on your personal ability to figure out the best possible way to use your die rolls.

It's the second of these skills that make this game almost unplayable with younger kids - they can do the memory part (in fact, they're downright scary how good they are at the memory part). But they have great difficulty figuring out the movement - I'd set the minimum age for this one at 7.

There are some simplified rules available on the Geek for younger kids - and one crazy group who has created rules to make the game harder. (These people scare me, btw.)


Anonymous said...

Great list - thanks!

Enchanted Forest was designed in 1981 by Alex Randolph and Michael Matschoss.

It won the Spiel des Jahres in 1982.

Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

Chris - good catch. I cut'n'pasted from the previous entry & didn't make the necessary changes.

The original post has been updated.