Wednesday, March 18, 2009

#27: Daddy Cool

Daddy Cool
  • designer: Heinz Meister
  • publisher: Huch & Friends
  • date: 2004
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 2772/6.44
  • age: 5+
  • # of players: 2-6
  • print status: in print
  • cost: 14.95 Euro ( - roughly $21)
Imagine if Sid Sackson's classic game, Can't Stop, actually had a theme... and the theme was polar bear cubs covered in paint (from helping the Inuits paint their igloos) trying to get across the ice floes to the bathtub so they can be the first to get cleaned up. OK, you can stop imagining - that's Daddy Cool in a nutshell.

This belongs to a family of games known as "push your luck" games - where your advancement (either in points or in a race) is based on properly balancing the risk of failure with the risk of not taking enough chances. In other words, you roll the dice and get to move forward until you stop or bust (have a roll that doesn't move you forward).

That's where the titular "Daddy Cool" comes in - see, polar bears (at least according to the game) are good dads and go ahead to check out the safety of the ice so their young don't go for an unexpected dip in frigid waters. After you start your turn by rolling the 6 custom dice (3 sides have ice floes on them, 3 sides are blank), you move Daddy Cool forward as many spaces as floes on the dice. You then set those dice aside (the ones that helped you move) and make the decision whether you want to roll again or stop. If you stop, you move your polar bear cub up to the floe that Daddy is on. Rolling again means you keep moving him forward and setting aside dice.

There are a couple of complications:
  1. There are two ice floes which are already cracked (they have a "Danger!" sign on them). If Daddy Cool ends a move on one of these spaces, you must roll again.
  2. When the last place cub has 2 (or more) floes behind him, one of them is taken out of the game and the rest of them are added to the front of the track.

I think what takes this game into the edge of kid gaming perfection is the components... the chunky tiles, the custom dice & the cool bear tokens. And, for once, a game that has a backstory that explains why the animals come in DayGlo colors. (Though, come to think of it, you got ask some questions about Inuits that are looking to paint their homes in the same color scheme as Toontown.)

A couple of notes about age & number of players: I've had good success with younger players in a mixed group (adults & kids) - my 3 year old can play this with some help. But although the box says 2-6 players, the game works much better with 3 or more.

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