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Kinderspiel des Jahres 2009 - Nominees & Recommendations
Mark Jackson
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
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I did a list like this last year... figured it got a nice enough response to try again. I mean, EVERYONE is going to be talking about Dominion & Pandemic being nominated for the SdJ... but who will talk about the importance of rolling snails (Curli Kuller), dealing with wolves (Hide the Kids! AND Hungry Wolves) and trying to fit a plethora of animals onto a raft (Zoowaboo)?

That's what I'm here for!

Again, I'll remind you that I've only played TWO of these games (MB's HANG IN THERE & Haba's SUITCASE DETECTIVES) - though I'm looking forward to trying the rest of them! The descriptions in quotes are from their BGG entries... and my commentary should be taken with a grain of salt.
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1. Board Game: Curli Kuller [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:5917]
Mark Jackson
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
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NOMINATED

Quote:
It’s that time again. Just like every year, Farmer Bertram has planted the little seedlings in his field.

And he put up the scarecrow to protect his crop from cheeky birds. But he should have thought of the snails. They are already looking forward to the delicious meal. The first to get eight plants with his rolling snail wins the game. The fast-paced rolling game for kids and adults.


Players roll their snails (wheels) down a ramp into a field of wooden crops... looks like good silly dexterity fun.

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2. Board Game: The Magic Labyrinth [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:650]
Mark Jackson
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
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NOMINATED... and WINNER!

Quote:
The little magician apprentices have lost some objects in the magic maze. Now, they try to collect them, before the master notices anything. However, in the maze, the little magicians always bump against invisible walls. So, they have to make their way through the maze by means of a good memory and lots of skill.

You have to move an character through the board but, you trying to do so with a labyrinth below the first board. The character is joint with a megatic ball, so, if you hit a wall, the ball just drop and you have to start again.


This one looks a little like the classic MAGICAL MAZE with a slightly more sophisticated mechanical system.

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3. Board Game: Tonga Island [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:6405]
 
Mark Jackson
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
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NOMINATED

Quote:
Participate in a racing around the treasures of the Island Realm! But watch out, the sea-routes to the islands are malicious: some would drive you to the islands, some would not. Just remember the correct route! The singular unfolding maps and the variable setting make each play exciting and new!


Stefan Dorra is a very good designer, so this could be well worth a play. The board uses folding pieces in an Entdecker-like exploration game.

 
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4. Board Game: Hide the Kids! [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:3669]
Mark Jackson
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
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NOMINATED

Quote:
A "Hide-and-Seek" game for 2 to 6 players.

One player acts as wolf, and gives the other players 5 seconds time to hide their goat in one of seven furniture pieces. The Wolf then can look at 2 pieces and capture all the goats that are present there. The undiscovered goats get points.


The pieces are 3D cardboard models... along with wooden goats & a small stuffed wolf.

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5. Board Game: Zoowaboo [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:2834]
Mark Jackson
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
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NOMINATED

Quote:
The Story
Splash! And Eddi Elephant lands in the water. The other animals giggle and guffaw. Manni Mouse is doubling over with laughter. He knew that there wouldn’t be enough room on the raft!

Every year, the animals go on a rafting tour on the wild river, and nobody wants to miss out on the fun. But will there be enough room for all?

The Mechanism
At the start of each round, players lay out ten Animal cards around one raft. Each player has two chits, Yes and No, and they secretly vote on whether they think all ten animals will fit on the raft

If all players say "Yes," then another animal card is drawn and players vote again. If some players vote "Yes" while others vote "No," then those players who voted "Yes" flip over the sandtimer and work as a team to try to fit all of the animals on the raft. The players of whichever team guessed correctly win some points depending on the round, and whoever has the most points after six rounds wins.


Hmmm... very interesting. A team-based puzzle game with a gambling element.

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6. Board Game: 6 nimmt! Junior [Average Rating:5.82 Overall Rank:7185]
Mark Jackson
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
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RECOMMENDED

Quote:
A kid version of the game Category 5 (6 nimmt!)

Players are moving animals into the 4 stables. Play proceeds clockwise round the table. A player turns up a card from the stack, which depicts one (or rarely, 2-3) out of 6 different animals. He adds it to a stable where the animal doesn't appear yet (if possible). When this is the 6th different animal for the stable, he collects all these animal cards as points.

Game ends when the draw stack is exhausted. The player who collected most cards wins.

There are some variants in the rule book, including one where you don't want to collect cards, like in the base game.


I've gone through various phases with 6 Nimmt: puppy dog crush, boredom & rejection, nostalgia for the past, and finally acceptance of the game as it is. A kid-oriented version sounds like fun.

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7. Board Game: Klickado [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:4531]
Mark Jackson
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
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RECOMMENDED

Quote:
Place a series of sticks, some of which are magnetic, on a floating platform. The first player to place all of their sticks wins.


Actually doesn't look like a "kid game" to me - the delicate dexterity element is much better suited to teens & adults.

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8. Board Game: Finde die Tiere! [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Mark Jackson
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
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RECOMMENDED

Quote:
There are two types of cards, each with three animals on them. The larger type of cards is placed openly on the table, the other type is a draw pile. One player draws a card and looks at it. The other players take turns guessing what animals are on it by doing the respective sounds the animals make.


The box back for this one (which has English) does not indicate the sound component in the BGG description. Instead, it emphasizes the memory & hide-n-seek elements of the game.

It looks kind of like a simple logic puzzle game to me... but I really don't know this for sure.

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9. Board Game: Hang in There! [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:6191]
Mark Jackson
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
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RECOMMENDED

Quote:
The board consists of motorized trees with rotating tops. By using your levers, you can raise and lower the treetops, catching your animals and moving them across the jungle and onto the beach.

However, you and your opponents can also use the treetops to knock animals off, sending them back to the start.

The first player to get five animals to the beach wins.


This is a new version of the old American game, HANG IN THERE! It's a neat mechanical game of dexterity & timing.

I'm curious how the whole "knocking each off' problem is handled in the German rules. The fact that the trees are shaped differently will change the game.

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10. Board Game: The Suitcase Detectives [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:7278]
Mark Jackson
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
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RECOMMENDED

Quote:
Percy Pilferer is around town. The notorious pickpocket is painting the town red and has not yet been caught in the act. Bingo! He strikes again. What has he stolen this time? At this point the suitcase detectives are called in, up until now they have always managed to resolve every case; but now they need your help. Can you recognize which objects the pickpocket has stolen from the suitcase?


In an ingenious box (divided into two compartments separated by a textured piece of clear plastic), the Pickpocket player removes the silhouettes of two items - and then the detectives have 45 seconds to figure out which ones are missing.

This has been a big hit with my 7 year old son & his friends.

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11. Board Game: Schwarzer Kater [Average Rating:5.44 Overall Rank:8949]
Mark Jackson
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
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RECOMMENDED

Quote:
Five different objects are shown to the players. The "game master" hides all objects under black bowls and then moves three of the bowls and asks where a certain object is.

All players point with their mouse. If it is correct, receive cheese, if it is wrong pay cheese, if it is the black cat (Schwarze Kater) pay two cheese.


Sounds & looks like a sophisticated game of Three Card Monte with nifty wooden pieces. Wonder if it comes with a folding TV tray & a sixth sense about when the cops are coming?



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12. Board Game: Der kleine Ritter Trenk [Average Rating:6.77 Unranked]
Mark Jackson
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
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RECOMMENDED

Quote:
Trenk from Tausendschlag, son of a serf, wants to become a knight. So he walks to the town, accompanied by his little pig, and has some adventures.

In the game, the player rolls a die, and moves either Trenk or his piglet (or rises the flag). If he lands on some dragon baby teeth, he can solve a task to gain them. There are 3 kinds of tasks:

- He tries to memorize the details of the current four robbers. A small change is made, and he must recognize which robber was changed
- He has to hit something with the pea sling
- A card with a medieval detail is revealed. The player has to find that exact thing within the big detailed image in a short time (the card with the image contains a lot of background information, too)

A player wins when he has collected 7 baby dragon teeth. The game ends premature if the flag reaches the top of the flagpole.


This description reminds me a bit of Dschungelschatz w/the multiple tasks... but the picture looks like something more.

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13. Board Game: Hungry Wolves [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Mark Jackson
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
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RECOMMENDED

Quote:
Which is the best herding dog in the valley of the hungry wolves? Shouting “Woof!” and “Baa” the players move round the meadow. It’s now or never to catch up with the next dog and be the first to collect three sheep and win this romping die game for 2-4 players.


Last year's "Cheese Snatching" from Haba was a dice classic - "Can't Stop For Kids." No reason to expect less this year from a game whose German name is literally translated "Dice Wolves."

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14. Board Game: Polizei-Alarm! [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:4502]
Mark Jackson
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
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Quote:
One player is the band of thieves, attempting to break into safe deposit boxes. The other player is the police, trying to hunt them down before they escape. While the police scoots around a magnetic board looking for the thieves, the criminal rolls the dice attempting to break open the safe deposit boxes.

Polizei-Alarm! is an action/dexterity game for 2-4 players (although only two sides play against each other).One side plays a gang of safe-crackers who try to throw the correct combinations for the safes with some special dice under time-pressure.

The other side is the Police, who try to find the the hideout of the gangsters. In order to achieve this they steer a police car through a labyrinth-like city plan on the game board by holding the board at an angle, so that the the police car slides on the surface (similar to the classic wooden labyrinth-games where you have to navigate a metal ball through a maze with holes in it - but without the holes). When they find the correct hideout before the safe-crackers succeed with the combination, the latter walk off empty-handed.


This is going on my "must play" list immediately... I love this kind of stuff. (Kind of like Akaba in reverse, maybe.)

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