Wednesday, April 08, 2009

#19: Schildi Schildkröte

Schildi Schildkröte/Twiddle Turtle
  • designer: Ronald Hofstatter
  • publisher: Haba
  • date: 2004
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 2355/6.98
  • age: 4+
  • # of players: 2-4
  • print status: in print
  • cost: $35.99 (
Let's get this out of the way: the worst thing about most Haba games is their English names. "Twiddle Turtle"? Is it a turtle who's twiddling his thumbs? Do turtles have thumbs? And if they do, are they opposable? Well, to bring it full-circle, I oppose the stupid English name of the game.

I do not, however, oppose the game. This game is an act of genius - and my hat is off (using my opposable thumb to grab it) to Herr Hofstatter for the brilliant design of the racing turtles at the 111th Turtle Olympiad.

I'm not sure my words can do the turtles justice. Imagine four small ball-shaped wooden wheels (on two axles) connected by a curved wooden yoke. Into that yoke fits a large wooden ball (the "shell") that makes contact with the four ball-wheels. When you roll back on the "shell", it propels the turtle forward.

Now, stick four of those turtles in a box, along with a double-sided board & some other bits (wooden goal posts, a small deck of animal tiles, a small foam ball, a weird four-sided color die, etc.) and a set of rules for five different games, and you've got Schildi Schildkröte. (BTW, I want to applaud Haba for a trend in their recent game designs - coming up with multiple ways to play games with some of the nifty "toys" they create.)

My older son's favorite game is "Turtle Soccer" while I'm partial to the dexterity game which requires you to move/roll your turtle to particular spots on the gameboard, based on which animal token is turned up. A similar game adds a simple memory element when you roll your turtle then try to match it with a face-down tile. The other two games are simple roll'n'move games that are easy enough for a 3 year old to play. We often play a series of games (just like the Olympics) and declare a winner based on how many "events" you win.

Of course, with bits this cool, it's fun just to play with them. It takes a minute or so to get the feel for how much spin to put on your turtle and then you can be whizzing him around the board like a pro. As far as we can tell, the pieces are well-constructed - our turtles have fallen off coffee & kitchen tables without breakage, though I wouldn't recommend it. It's also pretty easy to make up your own games.

The best rolling turtle game, however, is found in the sequel, Schildi Strandkröte (aka Twiddle Beach Turtle). It's available from for $25.19. "Turtle Bowling" is probably the most gamer-friendly of the Turtle Olympic events... it's dexterity & push your luck & skittles bowling... with a turtle! (You only get one turtle, though... sigh.)

1 comment:

ironcates said...

A couple of my turtles are broken, so I strongly urge you not to throw them on the floor. :)