Nürnberg/New York 2015 Preview
W. Eric Martin
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From gallery of W Eric Martin
As in 2014, I'm previewing games being shown at the 2015 Nürnberg and New York toy fairs in a single GeekList. The game market is an international market — with publishers selling around the world and players buying from wherever they need to in order to get games they want — so combining these previews makes sense.

Some background about the two conventions: The 66th Spielwarenmesse – the International Toy Fair in Nürnberg, Germany – takes place January 28 to February 2, 2015, while the 112th annual American International Toy Fair in New York is held Feb. 14-17, 2015.

Note that, unlike at the Spiel game convention in October, many games previewed in Nürnberg and New York won't be available for purchase immediately, instead appearing in stores over the next few months. Think of this list as a preview of what you might see appear in stores throughout the first half of 2015 (although some games won't appear until Q3/Q4 2015).

I'll be visiting both Nürnberg and New York to record game demos of the titles on display there. Feel free to suggest other games to add to this Preview via email (wericmartin AT gmail.com) or in the comments section!
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Board Game Publisher: Pegasus Spiele
Board Game Publisher: Pegasus Spiele
101. Board Game: Mmm! [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:4371]
Board Game: Mmm!
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 1 − 6
Playing time: 15 − 20 minutes
Suggested ages: 5 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
German
Description:

When the cat’s away, the mice will play. But the mean black cat is still close when you try to fill your tummy with all the yummy food from the pantry and say “Mmm!”

The players are mice feeding on the Smiths’ food storage and should not be caught by the family’s cat. Mmm! is a cooperative game even for the smallest (special rules for ages 5 and up), which entertains everyone!

Other Information: • Price €20
 
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102. Board Game: My Village [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:1137]
Board Game: My Village
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 60 − 90 minutes
Suggested ages: 12 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
German
Description:

A new chapter opens in the Village chronicles! In this standalone game, each player is in charge of his very own village, controlling its entire fate. Known places and characters conjoin with new mechanisms to make up a gaming experience that feels so familiar and is yet so different from Village!

Village enthusiasts will recognize some core elements, for example, the life-time track and the village chronicle, yet the new dice mechanism gives a whole new twist and dynamic to taking actions. My Village is of similar game weight as Village.

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103. Board Game: Oddball: Kampf der Aeronauten [Average Rating:5.91 Overall Rank:6908] [Average Rating:5.91 Unranked]
Board Game: oddball Äeronauts
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2
Playing time: 15 − 20 minutes
Suggested ages: 9 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

oddball Aeronauts is a simple, light strategy, played-in-the-hand (no surface required) card game of hi-jinks airship dogfights, set in an oddball fantasy world. Players take their Pirate or Pendragon officers, crew and bots, and go head-to-head in a duel in the sky.

The deck of cards is divided into the two factions - each player takes up 1 of the 2 factions, adds in Events, shuffles and the game begins. Factions can be customized in advance with alternative Officers, Support and Crew cards.

Each round, players declare and compare Skills - adding in any bonuses - and take the consequences. Additionally, cards have Special Actions. Use these during a round to rearrange cards, cause more damage, recover cards, get bonuses and more.

The player with active cards remaining at the end of the game wins.

Other Information: • Price €10
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104. Board Game: Seventh Hero [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:2735]
Board Game: Rent a Hero
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 3 − 5
Playing time: 20 − 30 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

The card deck in Seventh Hero consists of 77 cards, with each card representing one of seven different heroes. Players each start with two random heroes, and each hero has a special power that can be activated once. Each turn, a player sends a card from his hand face down to the next player, who can choose to take it or pass it on. If he takes it, he adds it to his group of heroes, but if it's a hero he already has, both hero cards are sent to the discard pile. Before sending a hero away, the player must obey the current round's limitations, such as the card must be odd or must be below or above a certain number.

The first player to collect six of the seven heroes wins.

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105. Board Game: Simsala… Bumm? [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:2269]
Board Game: Abracada...What?
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 5
Playing time: 30 minutes
Suggested ages: 7 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

Abraca...what? is a family game of deduction and spellcasting. On your turn, you try to cast one of the spells you have in front of you — but it's harder than it looks because only the other players can see which spells are available to you! So with cunning wit, clever logic, and a little luck, you have to determine which spells to use against your competitors. Watch your magic words, though, because if you try to cast the wrong spell too often, you'll lose the game!

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106. Board Game: Smash Up: Kuschelattacke [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:744] [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked]
Board Game: Smash Up: Pretty Pretty Smash Up
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2
Playing time: 45 minutes
Suggested ages: 14 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

Think only pirates, time travelers, vampires and bears can smash bases? Well, get ready to be taught a lesson — in the nicest way possible!

Pretty Pretty Smash Up brings the sweetest factions ever to the vicious fight for victory! Kitty Cats use their incredible cuteness to take control of enemy minions. Princesses ply their royalty, beauty and even their love to get their way. Fairies' fickle tricks give you options like never before, while the herds of Mythic Horses work together for dominance. Get ready — your opponents will never know what hit them!

Pretty Pretty Smash Up can be played on its own as a two-player game or combined with other Smash Up titles to allow for up to four players to compete at the same time.

Integrates with:

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107. Board Game: Speed Snacks [Average Rating:5.32 Overall Rank:17031]
Board Game: Speed Snacks
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2
Playing time: 15 − 30 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
German
Description:

As competing fast food entrepreneurs in the card game Speed Snacks, players must take and fulfill orders as quickly as possible to satisfy the growling stomachs of waiting customers — but the choice of six dishes on offer seems to overwhelm many guests because their needs can sometimes change as quickly as their mood. The responsiveness of the players is as important as their memory when it comes to serving their customers!

Speed Snacks includes small expansions that add cockroaches, bulk orders, specialty dishes and new menus for more variety and fun.

Other Information: • Price €10
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108. Board Game: VivaJava [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:1818]
Board Game: VivaJava: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 1 − 4
Playing time: 20 − 40 minutes
Suggested ages: 10 and up
Categories:
Mechanics: Show More »
Language:
German
Description:

VivaJava: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game – or, more simply, VivaJava Dice – is the successor to the well-received 2012 release of VivaJava: The Coffee Game. As in its predecessor, players of VivaJava Dice take on the roles of employees at the VivaJava CoffeeCo., scouring the globe for the best beans to keep the company on top while keeping themselves one step ahead of the rest of the executives.

Also as in VivaJava, VivaJava Dice has players making the crucial decision between blending beans and research, but with a quick, new twist. Players must now use the dice in their pool to blend – using the beans to create a best-seller for quick points, then deciding whether to press their luck in subsequent rounds for bigger points but fewer dice as the blends degrade – or to research, which involves using their valuable beans to gain an ever-changing variety of dice-manipulating abilities, new ways to score, and paths that lead to aiding a competitor for a later payoff or hindering that competitor for immediate gratification. VivaJava Dice also offers a unique system of cooperative dice-rolling that can help you rise to the top, but at the price of someone else riding your coattails.

With an astounding mix of plug-and-play research abilities, subtle social play in semi-cooperative mode, and the chance to hog all the glory and blend the best for yourself, VivaJava Dice is all about choice, making each game fast and furiously different.

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109. Board Game: Why First? [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:4036]
Board Game: Why First?
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 6
Playing time: 15 − 25 minutes
Suggested ages: 7 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
German
Description:

Why First? is a racing game in which players vie to be second in order to win.

The game lasts five races, with each race lasting five turns. At the start of each race, players receive a hand of five cards, with each card bearing a value from -4 to +5. The players' pawns start each race on 0 of the racing track. Each turn, players choose a card from their hands and choose which pawn to move with this card, then reveal them simultaneously and move the selected pawns forward or backward based on the cards they played.

After five turns, the race ends and the player in second place on the racing track wins, scoring a number of points equal to his position on the race track. All other players score nothing. (If the winner is in the negative portion of the racing track, he loses points instead.) After five races, sum all of the points scored; the player with the second highest total who has won at least one race wins.

This revised version of Why First? has new rules, including simultaneous actions by players that cuts down the playing time from the original release.

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110. Board Game: Die Zwerge: Das Duell [Average Rating:5.95 Overall Rank:10548] [Average Rating:5.95 Unranked]
Board Game: The Dwarves: The Duel
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2
Playing time: 20 − 40 minutes
Suggested ages: 10 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

In The Dwarves: The Duel, one player takes the role of the little hero while the other uses both skill and the luck of the dice to lead the enemies of the country. Both players use card-decks with identical values but alternative artwork/naming.

The Dwarves: The Duel also includes new adventures for The Dwarves so that players can re-enact the events of the novel The Triumph of the Dwarves, which was released in German in 2015.

Other Information: • Price €10
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Board Game Publisher: Queen Games
Board Game Publisher: Queen Games
111. Board Game: Chef Alfredo [Average Rating:6.05 Overall Rank:9566]
Board Game: Chef Alfredo
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 15 minutes
Suggested ages: 5 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
French
German
Description:

Head chef Alfredo is about to lose his head in despair because he can't recall which soup is boiling in which pot. Can you help him allot the carrots, garlic, beans and tomatoes to the proper pots? What's more, can you make sure that your fellow players have also put their ingredients into the proper pots?

In Chef Alfredo, four pots are each seeded with one of four ingredients. On a turn, the active player rolls a die, then either swaps the positions of two pots on the stove or adds the depicted ingredient to the proper pot. The next player can either trust that you've done the right thing or call you out, dumping out the ingredients of the pot to which you added something with the player who made the right move claiming a helper token.

The player who best spots the pots – even when they change hotplates – will win this cooking game.

Other Information:
Board Game: Chef Alfredo
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112. Board Game: Parfum [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:2432]
Board Game: Parfum
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 45 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
German
Description:

Who will be the most successful perfumer? Parfum takes the players to the wonderful world of fragrances. Using ingredients like vanilla, lavender, or violets, the players distill precious essences in order to create unique perfumes. Only the player catering to their clientele's preferences will be able to sell their perfume. Each customer favors a specific fragrance, which must be contained in a flask to induce them to buy it.

Other Information:
Board Game: Parfum
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113. Board Game: Push a Monster [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:6197]
Board Game: Push a Monster
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 15 minutes
Suggested ages: 5 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
French
German
Description:

The monsters have been let loose in the monster arena! Here they can tease, taunt and tussle with the other monsters using every trick in the book. They push and squeeze and throw elbows and sometimes even poke one another with their sharp fingers.

Players in Push a Monster take turns doing exactly that: pushing a monster, with them trying to push that monster onto an elevated platform while not pushing off any other monsters already there. If a monster does fall on their turn, each other player receives a token for each monster that falls. At the end of the game, everyone lines up all of the tokens they won, and whoever has the longest row wins!

Other Information:
Board Game: Push a Monster
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114. Board Game: Queen's Architect [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:1903]
Board Game: Queen's Architect
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 60 minutes
Suggested ages: 10 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
German
Description:

In Queen's Architect, you're in demand all over the realm! Villages, monasteries, and towns need your help to construct important buildings and establishments. Assume the role of an architect and assemble a competent band of craftsmen. Raise buildings and assist the people with small repairs or farm work. The Queen will reward you with her appreciation and with coins. Gain the privilege of constructing the new royal palace, and you will win the game as the land's most successful architect!

Other Information:
Board Game: Queen's Architect
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Board Game Publisher: R&R Games
Board Game Publisher: R&R Games
115. Board Game: Caffeine Rush [Average Rating:4.93 Overall Rank:18102]
Board Game: Caffeine Rush
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 6
Playing time: 20 minutes
Suggested ages: 10 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

Game description from the publisher:

Need a jolt to get your day off to a great start? Jump into the game of Caffeine Rush for a latte fun! You share a workspace with your fellow baristas and orders are flying in fast and furious. Grab the ingredients you need to pump out orders and rake in the tips! But be careful — if someone else finishes your work, they'll get the tips!

As each drink is served, you'll pull a new order and shout it out. You will definitely need a double shot of espresso to compete in this hilarious game of battling baristas!

Other Information: • Price $16

Board Game: Caffeine Rush
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116. Board Game: Cup-A-Cup [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:14253]
Board Game: Cup-A-Cup
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 3 − 8
Playing time: 10 − 20 minutes
Suggested ages: 6 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

Game description from the publisher:

It's all cup for grabs! Cup-A-Cup is a game of quick thinking and fast hands, a race to catch the cups first! Roll the dice, quickly identify the missing colored shape, then swipe the matching cup off the table. But be careful! No cup is safe — they're all up for grabs! The first player to collect three cups wins!

Other Information: • Price $16

Board Game: Cup-A-Cup
 
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117. Board Game: Slideways [Average Rating:4.93 Unranked]
Board Game: Slideways
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 3
Playing time: 10 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

Get ready to flip out with this flip 'n slide game of tic-tac-toe! Slideways is a fast-paced puzzle game of logic and skill that raises the bar on fun as players try to outwit their opponents. Move your bar on the board or flip colors to get four in a row. Is it as easy as it seems?

Other Information: • Price $16

Board Game: Slideways
 
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118. Board Game: Spit It Out! [Average Rating:6.13 Overall Rank:7296]
Board Game: Spit It Out!
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 3 − 8
Playing time: 20 − 30 minutes
Suggested ages: 10 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

Game description from the publisher:

Think fast! Spit It Out! is the fun, fast-paced party game in which you have to retrain your brain to give the WRONG answer to easy questions — but sometimes you have to give the RIGHT answers, too, and you have just thirty seconds to spit it out! Rewire your brain to victory in this hilarious game where wrong is right.

Other Information: • Price $20

Board Game: Spit It Out!
 
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Board Game Publisher: Ravensburger Spieleverlag GmbH
Board Game Publisher: Ravensburger Spieleverlag GmbH
119. Board Game: 3 gewinnt! [Average Rating:4.93 Unranked]
Board Game: 3 gewinnt!
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 15 minutes
Suggested ages: 6 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
Dutch
French
German
Italian
Description:

3 gewinnt! ("3 wins") is a children's game similar to Connect Four.

Players take turns dropping checkers into a seven-by-six grid (the "cheese"), with the intention to make a three-in-a-row. Each checker shows a mouse: either boy or girl, and either red, green or blue. A three-in-a-row consists of three boys, three girls, or three mice in the same color. Each player has a hand of two checkers, and chooses which one to use each turn.

When a player creates a three-in-a-row, he gains a piece of cheese. Initially, these have one hole. When the pieces of cheese with a single hole run out, pieces with two holes are awarded, and when those run out, pieces with three holes are awarded.

The game ends when all the cheese has been claimed, or when the grid has been filled completely. The player with the most holes in his pieces of cheese wins.

Other Information: • Price €6.79

Board Game: 3 gewinnt!
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120. Board Game: Drachenhort [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:7010]
Board Game: Drachenhort
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 7
Playing time: 30 − 60 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

Seven daring adventurers have trespassed in a dragon's lair, initially seeking its treasure but now just trying to make it out alive as the dragon has woken and is chasing them through its labyrinth. The sooner that a dragon captures an adventurer, the fewer points it's worth at the end of the round — and should an adventurer actually manage to escape, many points in treasure await.

In Drachenhort, players don't represent these adventurers themselves, but rather secretly back a trio of these adventurers. Each turn, the active player rolls a die and moves one of the adventurers further away from the dragon. After all of the adventurers have moved once, all of them are available for movement once again. Don't be too obvious about which adventurers you support, though, for others will drop traps in their path or otherwise hobble them to ensure that they become dragon food first.

At the end of a round, players score points based on how far their adventurers traveled, and after two rounds the player with the most points wins.

Other Information: • Price €27
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121. Board Game: Dragons: Wettflug zur Dracheninsel [Average Rating:4.82 Unranked]
Board Game: Dragons: Wettflug zur Dracheninsel
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 5
Playing time: 20 minutes
Suggested ages: 6 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
Dutch
French
German
Italian
Description:

Dragons: Wettflug zur Dracheninsel ("Dragons: Race to Dragon i=Isle") is a game based on Dreamworks' How to Train Your Dragon 2. In the game, the dragon riders attempt to reach the Dragon Isle, while the dragon Screaming Death tries to prevent them from doing so.

At the beginning of each game, the board is created by lining up island tiles, starting with Viking Island (start) and ending with Dragon Isle (finish). The islands between start and finish come in four different colors.

The game is played in rounds. Each round, one player plays Screaming Death, while the others play a dragon rider. Each dragon rider has a hand with colored island cards. Each turn, each dragon rider selects one of these cards. At the same time, Screaming Death selects one color of islands to attack. Then, everybody reveals their cards. Each dragon rider that has selected the color that is being attacked by Screaming Death cannot move; the others move to the next island of their chosen color.

The round ends when two dragon riders have reached Dragon Isle, or when the dragon riders can no longer move because the deck of island cards has run out. The first dragon rider to reach Dragon Isle gains two coins; the second rider gains one coin. If no dragon rider reaches Dragon Isle, Screaming Death gains three coins. If only one rider reaches Dragon Isle, Screaming Death gains one coin.

The game continues with a new round, until each player has played Screaming Death once. Then, the player who has collected the most coins wins.

Spooky, an earlier version of this game, had the players as ghosts moving through a castle, with each player taking a turn as Merlin to try to stop the ghosts.

Other Information: • Price €6.79

Board Game: Dragons: Wettflug zur Dracheninsel
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122. Board Game: Filly Butterfly: Sammle deine Funkelsteine [Average Rating:3.88 Unranked]
Board Game: Filly Butterfly: Sammle deine Funkelsteine
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Suggested ages: 4 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
French
German
Italian
Description:

The beautiful Filly Butterflies are excited, because Princess Scarlet is visiting. She ha brought sparkling crystals, which they generously hands out in the magic Papillia garden.

To reach all Fillies, the princess travels from place to place. With a little luck of the dice and courage to some take risks you can get hold of a lot of colorful glitter stones. Here we go!

In Filly Butterfly: Sammle deine Funkelsteine (Filly Butterfly: Collect your Glitter Stones), each player attempts to collect as many crystals as possible.

At the beginning of the game, all players receive the same amount of crystals.

The board shows six locations in Papillia; each location has some spaces for crystals. A Princess Scarlet pawn is placed on one of the location.

Players take turns rolling the die and moving Princess Scarlet a number of spaces clockwise, as indicated on the die. If Princess Scarlet ends her move in a location that still has an empty spot for a crystal, the active player has to place one of his crystals there, and may then roll the die again, if desired. On the other hand, if Princess Scarlet ends her move on a location that has no more empty spots, the active player may take all crystals from that location, and his turn ends.

The game ends when one player has no more crystals left. Then, the player who has collected the most crystals wins.

Other Information: • What a fun title to scream over and over again: Sammle deine Funkelsteine!! Someone get Babymetal to put music to that title, stat!

• Price €6.79

Board Game: Filly Butterfly: Sammle deine Funkelsteine
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123. Board Game: Kakerlakak [Average Rating:5.31 Overall Rank:17579]
Board Game: Kakerlakak
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 15 minutes
Suggested ages: 5 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

Kakerlakak, a portable version of the identically named Kakerlakak, puts a cockroach in the kitchen once again, but this time you get to control the cockroach and try to move him to tasty treats while hoping that the cook stays out of sight.

Each player has a "treat stick" that shows four treats that she must claim in order by moving the cockroach onto the appropriate space on the 6x6 game board. The trick, though, is that items of cutlery lie all over the floor, blocking your way to the treats along with the shelving units that stand in the middle of the floor. As in the original Kakerlakak, the cutlery items have a pivot in their center, and players can turn the cutlery during the game to open and close paths.

On a player's turn, she rolls the cutlery die, then moves the cockroach 2-3 spaces based on the number of pips showing, turning an indicated piece of cutlery before, during or after the move. She then rolls and moves again. Starting after her second move, an opponent rolls the cook die after each movement, and if the cook shows up, that player's turn is over and the dice pass left to the next players. Alternatively, if a player reaches her goal, her turn ends.

The first player to reach all four of her food goals, then reach the hole in the kitchen floor wins.

Kakerlakak includes action rules that speed up gameplay. The cockroach and cook players both roll simultaneously, with the cockroach player moving as quickly as possible because as soon as the fifth cook face is rolled, the turn is over. The winning condition remains the same.

Other Information: • Price €6.79

Board Game: Kakerlakak
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124. Board Game: Kakerlaloop [Average Rating:5.47 Overall Rank:16899]
Board Game: Kakerlaloop
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 10 − 15 minutes
Suggested ages: 5 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

Kakerlaloop is a spinoff of Kakerlakak.

Other Information: • Price €40

 
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125. Board Game: Lotti Karotti: Das Hasenrennen [Average Rating:5.61 Overall Rank:15975]
Board Game: Lotti Karotti: Das Hasenrennen
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 15 minutes
Suggested ages: 4 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
French
German
Italian
Description:

The wheel of fortune determines where you hares may hop to in this exciting race! You'll have to watch out for holes and the pushing mole. With a bit of luck, your hare will be the first to reach the carrot.

Lotti Karotti: Das Hasenrennen is a racing game. Each player is a hare, racing towards the carrot. Each turn, a player spins the spinner, which determines how far ahead he must move. If his move ends in a hole, he is returned to the starting field. When a player reaches the carrot, he wins the game.

The spinner has some other outcomes as well, allowing the player to cover a hole (uncovering another one), moving a bridge (which allows for shortcuts) or pushing another player backwards using the mole.

Other Information: • Price €6.79

Board Game: Lotti Karotti: Das Hasenrennen
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