Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all the gravities of terrestrial life. I thought of their unfathomable distance, and the slow inevitable drift of their movements out of the unknown past into the unknown future. H.G. Wells
Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. Chief Seattle
Elk Fest is a light dexterity game for two players. The goal of the game is to get your moose figurine from its starting riverbank to the riverbank on the opposite side before your opponent successfully reaches your riverbank.
Most turns the player flicks two discs (which are referred to as stones) during their turn and can move the moose onto the discs either before, between or after their flicks. There are two exceptions. One is the first player's first turn where they flick one stone. The player attempts to place the stone in such a way that the moose can comfortably balance between the stone under the front leg of their moose and the flicked stone. The player may then pick the moose up and balance it between these stones. If any moose falls during your turn as result of your flicks, the turn is immediately over and the next player gets three flicks. The same penalty is true if a flicked stone falls off the table, or playing surface. This is the other way a player might have more or less than two flicks.
The game length is variable and can be roughly set at the beginning of the game by the players. The farther the starting riverbanks are set the longer the game will generally be.
The game components are painted wooden pieces. There is a single folded page rulebook and a box to hold them. The boxes dimensions are eight inches by eight inches length and width and is 1.4 inches tall. There are also eight rubber feet with adhesive on one side for the two river bank pieces. The game and all components weight about 8 ounces. The pieces are well polished. The paint is lightly applied and the natural grain of the wood can still be seen. The pieces are not particularly heavy, but neither do the feel insubstantial or cheap. They will hold up quite well under the strain of normal gameplay. The rules are clearly laid out and includes a number of photographs to illustrate some game situations. It also has a number of lighthearted and silly illustrations of moose.
One big difference between this game and other dexterity games is that it does not come with a board, and the playing surface must be supplied by the players. This allows the game to be much less expensive than many dexterity games, and allows it to have a much smaller footprint in your gaming closet or shelves. This also makes it much easier to transport. The downside to this is that if the players must come up with a surface themselves. If your table is smaller, it might be very easy to accidentally knock a stone off the table and the length will be restricted to shorter game. If the table you are using has different sections or leaves there will be uneven sections which will interfere with the path of the flicked stones. Of course players could also choose to play on the floor, but this may be less comfortable. I choose to play on a fairly large wooden board, but being that it is not polished or finished there is a fair amount of friction between the stones and the board.
Elk Fest could scarcely be called a simulation. Moose are quite comfortable in the water and aquatic vegetation makes up a large portion of their diet. They are perfectly comfortable standing in water. It also seems unlikely that moose would be comfortable balancing stones, particularly since river rocks would be worn quite slippery.
For players looking for an immersive thematic experience this game will likely disappoint. Apart from the design of the components there is nothing in the game to suggest the theme. And the mechanics of flicking the stone in front of the moose are not thematically integrated to the game.
What do I think?
Elk Fest is easily approachable is generally a quick playing game. It is an inexpensive entry to dexterity games. There is not much room in this game for trick plays or other advanced moves and it certainly lacks the depth of Carrom or Crokinole. This is one of the few board games that my wife will request we play. I probably wouldn't play this much if not for her, but it's great to have games that she enjoys.