Monday, March 23, 2009

#26: Maus nach Haus

Maus nach Haus
  • designer: Heinz Meister
  • publisher: Haba/Gamewright
  • date: 2005
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 1386/6.60
  • age: 5+
  • # of players: 2-4
  • print status: in print as Hula Hippos
  • cost: $8.50 (Time Well Spent)
24 small wood chips in the shape of a mouse (or, now, a hippo) and a polished wooden ring... that's it. That's all that you find a box of Maus nach Haus (Mouse in the House - the version from Haba) or Hula Hippos (the more recent reprint by Gamewright). OK, there's rules in there, too... but that hardly counts.

And yet, Heinz Meister (he's my hero!) milks more fun out of those simple game components than many games whose boxes are stuffed full of boards & bits.

One player spins the wooden ring... then all the players simultaneously flick their mice into the center of the table, trying to get their pieces trapped in or under the ring when it falls. All trapped pieces are removed from the game and then you go again. When you run out of mice, you win.

This is yet another flicking game that works with kids, because
  • it's pretty random where the ring hits, so kids don't get frustrated when they miss
  • there's lots of suspense as the ring falls - and then the requisite celebrating and/or "whining" depending on the results... it's a game that produces a lot of emotion but none of it lasts because you've got another chance 30 seconds later
  • each mouse is only flicked on time, so there's no "positioning" involved

It also works well with adults... it's a great filler while you're waiting for someone else to join in a game or to bring out with non-gaming adults at a party.

My three year old is able to play (not well) but he can participate. I'd say that "age 5+ recommendation is about right for decent play. The game does scale well - it works with 2-4 players, though is best with a full complement at the table.

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