Monday, November 02, 2009

MIA #1: Cheese Snatching (Kaseklau!)

Cheese Snatching (Kaseklau!)
  • designer: Wolfgang Dirscherl
  • publisher: Haba
  • date: 2008
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: not ranked/7.25
  • age: 5+
  • # of players: 2-4
  • print status: in print
  • cost: $12.59 (
And we've reached #1 again - this time of the MIA (missing in action) games from the Kid Games 100. Once again, it's a Haba game (the Kid Games 100 #1 was Kayanak) and once again it has been a rousing success with every group of people I've roped into playing it, regardless of age or gaming background. In fact, I think this would almost have certainly have ended up in the top ten of the Kid Games 100 had I played it before I made the list.

The premise is simple & timeless: it's "Tom & Jerry" meets Can't Stop. In turn, players roll the dice & move the mouse and the cat clockwise. If the mouse ends up on a space without the cat, he can take the top cheese card on the pile. Then comes the big decision: keep scavenging for cheese or keep what you have?

You only get to take the cheese cards into your scoring pile when you end your turn... unless your turn ends by the cat & the mouse ending up on the same space. In that case, you lose all the cheese you collected that turn.

When 3 rooms (spaces) are empty, the game is over. You count up cheese (each card has 1-3 pieces on it) and the person with the most cheese wins.

OK, I'm a little worried that being able to explain the rules in 7 sentences will turn people away from this wonderful little game - but the simplicity is part of what makes it so darn likable. You can teach anyone how to play in less than 30 seconds... and the game takes no more than 10 minutes. It packs a nifty push-your-luck wallop into a very small time frame.

It also is highly portable. The box isn't huge to begin with, but for our last vacation I put the components in a sandwich bag & we played it in airports, on coffee tables & even in the floor of our bedroom.

Finally, the recommended age of 5 is only necessary for counting up score - the actual playing of the game is easy enough that a 3 year old can do it. At roughly $13.00, it'll be one of the best kid gaming investments you're likely to make this year.

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