Live in Perth, Australia
Born and bred in Britain
...into Microbadge ;-)
First up - the designer of this game is a friend of mine (though he designed it years before I first met him). But don't think I'm putting a good review up here just to please him - it's the other way round: I encouraged him to list it on BGG for me, just so that I could review it and help it to a wider audience! I've taught it to numerous other groups of friends, and apart from the ones that simply hate physical games, the rest have all enjoyed it.
- Plastic/Wood/Card/Coins you already own
Strategies/Methods for Winning:
- One/A few/Some/Lots
Tactics During Game (adapting to situations):
- None/A Few/Some/Lots
Ability to Pick on Winning Player:
- under 30/30-60/60-120/over 120
Ferret is a coin-flicking game that takes only a few moments to learn and to play, and can be played pretty much anywhere.
The rules are pretty straightforward:
- Each player has a small coin (British 1p coin, though any similar size coin would work)
- There is one Ferret (British 2p coin, though any similar size coin would work)
- Players take turns
- On each turn you have to flick your coin so that it hits the ferret
- If you miss the ferret, you lose
- If you hit the ferret off the table, you lose
- If your coin goes off the table, you lose...
...but note that you lose if your coin goes off the table on your turn or someone else's.
Here's an example of a not-quite-square-but-never-mind board with me setting up the pieces for a three player game using the variant start of a finger-span away from the Ferret.
In addition there are two extra rules - the common and dramatic "Yekini" to deal with snookering situations, and the rarely-used but potentially game-changing "Gad" to do with coins-flipping-on-coins situations.
For an example of the game in action, it's far easiest described by videos, so I have put up a couple of staged ones - a couple of example attacking shots and a couple of example staged rounds of me playing against myself (since sadly the pet rabbits don't play). Doubtless others will upload better ones in due course.
I played a fair bit of 'table football' and 'table rugby' at school to while away boring lunchtimes. This is a similar type of game, but far, far... far better.
For a start, there are different strategies you can follow:
- Defensive: just aim to keep hitting the ferret with the easiest shot you have and make it hard for the other person to attack you
- Passive aggressive: aim to snooker your opponents at every given opportunity
- Aggressive: take the risky shots to try to strike your opponent off the board
- All-rounder: play a mixture of the above at the right time to balance risk and reward
And there are tactics:
- In multi-player, working out whether to attack the easiest player, the next-player-to-play-after-you, or the player-you-think-is-most-dangerous
- In multi-player, considering where to leave your coin or the Ferret to help the next player after you cause trouble to the player after
- Whether to go for a difficult ferret hit when half-snookered, or attempt Yekini
- To put in enough power to force an opponent off the board but risk your own coin going off as well, or to play it safe but risk not finishing them when you had the chance.
- Whether to hit the Ferret hard to increase the distance the other players have to flick to reach it, and make it dangerously close to the table-edge for them, or whether to play a softer shot with more control
Good things about this game:
You can teach it to people in under a minute
All ages can play (although it requires physical skill, you don't have to be young and fit to win)
You almost always have the game with you - it only needs a few coins which people probably have, and almost any moderate-sized flat surface - can be a board game box, a tea-tray from the canteen, a small table, a large book, etc. I've played this on an upside-down cafe tray dozens of times!
One round takes a minute or two, so you can play many times in a short period of time
Although it requires physical skill, people who have never played before can get into it easily with an easy learning curve
Although it is easy to learn, and the rules are simple, an experienced player will usually win through greater physical skill and greater strategic and tactical play.
"Yekini" adds an extra moment of drama to the game
Unlike table football, you don't get sore knuckles; unlike table rugby you don't get a coin fired in your face. ;-)
Bad things about this game:
It's knockout, which can be awkward if many people are playing and the same one or two people keep going out at the start every time. First of all though, it's such a short game, they're back playing again very soon, and secondly you can always put in a house rule to give them a second life if they need it. Or just get another 2p and have a beginner table and an expert table.
Go and learn the rules (see Ferret files section for the original full rules or my basic one-page version to get you started), and you then have a game with you next time you're sat in a cafe with a long wait for your coffee, or you need to find a way to entertain some people at short notice.