Tuesday, September 08, 2009

MIA #9: Butterfingers Cube (Kubus Fidibus)

Butterfingers Cube (Kubus Fidibus)
  • designer: uncredited
  • publisher: Haba
  • date: 2005
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: not ranked/6.33
  • age: 6+
  • # of players: 2-5
  • print status: OOP
  • cost: $21.99 (Oompa.com)
For all the Harry Potter fans out there in the audience, I give you Kubus Fidibus (which, frankly, is a lot more magical sounding name than "Butterfingers Cube.") This tricky little dexterity game is another bit of oddball genius from the folks at Haba. (I need to check this, but the Geek says this design is "uncredited" - which is weird, as Haba is usually really good about crediting designers.)

The magical cube, shot through with holes shaped like the magical items it is meant to contain, sits on a frame. In turn, players roll the die & then rotate the cube so that the side indicated by the die is facing up. Carefully they place/drop the appropriate item (pointy hat, magic ring, wand, spell book) into the cube & place it back on the frame.

There are two special sides to the die (and the magic cube!): the stars is a "wild card" side, in which you can drop any object, and the square indicates a side without any holes (so you don't have to drop an object into the cube.)

If (well, when) objects fall out of the cube, the player who causes this magical catastrophe has to keep them as evidence of his sqibb-ish tendencies. Thankfully, the "no more than 2" rule from Animal Upon Animal is found in this game as well... meaning that the competition is not unduly long or harsh to novice players. (For those who don't know the rule, it simply means that you never have to take more than 2 pieces, regardless of how many fall out of the cube.)

When a roll is made that can't be fulfilled from the existing pile of magic objects, the game is over. The player who has taken the least fallen items is the winner.

The trickiest part of the game is the one-handed turning of the magic cube - it's all too easy to get your hand in a very uncomfortable position trying to get the cube flipped around without sending an avalanche of magical stuff to the table. This, of course, is part of the fun.

Like all dexterity games, the fine motor skills required to play at some level of skill don't occur until kids are 6+. Adults can also "handicap" themselves by agreeing to take "no more than 3 items" when they have a fall... or by spotting a younger player an item or two. Adults can also beg the kids they are playing with for mercy, as some adults should not play dexterity games - as they have none!

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