Hase & Igel
Doug Adams writes:
Designer: David Parlett
Hase & Igel is one of the classic 'gamers' games that has appeared in the past 20 years and has been published as Hare & Tortoise in English. The game is a race game, but not between a hare and a tortoise, as you may think. Instead, this is a race against the other players, in which you can move rapidly forward like the hare, or very slowly forwards like the tortoise.
The components are very nice, dominated by a large playing board which features a very green and lush countryside as a backdrop. A race track of 64 spaces is printed over the board. Each space contains a symbol, which dictates what happens if you land there.
Six wooden disks serve as playing pieces, with a hare and hedgehog printed on one side, the other side blank. Finally, there are 3 decks of cards, the carrot deck, the lettuce deck, and the hare deck. The carrot deck consists of carrots in various denominations, ranging from 60 down to 1. These are separated by denomination and put in their appropriate spaces on the game board, called the "carrot patch". The lettuce deck is simply identical lettuce cards, which players must discard before before they are allowed to finish the game. The cards in the hare deck are random events that occur if a player lands on a hare space. These are shuffled and placed on the board, face down.
The aim of the game is to be the first to finish the race, at the far end of the track, along the way dropping off 3 lettuces. This isn't easy, as you can only move forwards by 'chewing carrots', and you can only drop lettuces in certain areas of the board.
Carrots are the fuel that drives your playing piece, and the further you want to go, the more expensive it gets. For example, to move 1 space forwards costs 1 carrot, but to move 2 spaces forwards it costs 3 carrots (1 + 2). Following this on, you can see that 3 spaces will be 6 carrots, 4 will be 10 carrots, 5 will be 15 and so on. The further you want to go forwards, the less economical it gets. At the start of the game you are given carrots to get you moving (68 carrots in a 3 or 4 player game, 98 in a 2, 5 or 6 player game). This will get you going, but it won't be long before you going to want more carrots. You are also given 3 lettuce cards, which you must discard during the game (you can' t win if you still hold these cards). It may be a good idea at this stage to describe the various spaces on the board and what happens there:
One of the key influences on movement around the board is the rule that you cannot land on an opponent's space. The ideal strategy involves keeping lots of carrots coming into your hand, while making headway around the board at the same time. However, gaining carrots usually means doing nothing or a turn, or worse, moving backwards. However, the game is nicely self balancing, in that the players at the tail end of the field stand to gain the most through the number spaces. The front runners aren't neglected with, having the ability to drop back to a hedgehog and gaining some nice carrots.
The game will end when all players but the last have crossed the finish line. In order to cross the line, you need to have less than ten times your position number in carrots, for example, if you are finishing second, you must have 20 or fewer carrots in order to finish. Got too many ? Well, you have to burn them off somehow! This can be tricky to manage.
This is a superb gamers game where you must constantly monitor your carrots as well as your position relative to other players. These, plus the fact that you must find time to dump your 3 lettuces, all adds up to a very thought provoking and tense game which belies its 'for kiddies only' production.
Excellent, a classic.