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Subject: Donkey 'biscuits' win over the kids rss

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George Kinney
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Bellefontaine
Ohio
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With Los Mampfos, another memory game offering by Zoch, the publisher's of Chicken Cha Cha, we encounter three very hungry Donkey's and scoring based on the inevitability of their digestive tracks. And like Chicken Cha Cha, this could become another classic kid's game.

The box is a quite a bit oversized for its contents, containing three wooden donkeys, a small bag of 'oat' biscuits in five colors, five color wheels, 12 hexagons for the movement track, and the rules.

The track bits are thick cardboard, the color wheels a bit thinner, and by the several posts in the game forum, have occassional issues with fitting together properly.

The stand out bits are of course the donkeys. They are wooden, about 4" tall with open mouths, empty bellies, and a lift up tail for 'relieving their excess weight' as they rules say... A nice touch is the embedding of small magnets in the tails to keep them closed during play.

The two downsides of the Donkeys that I've encountered so far are that the 'belly' hollow has a flat slope, so the biscuits tend to pile up and 'jam' the mouth. This is easily fixed by shaking the donkey a bit. The second is that they are made of some sort of fiber/chip board, not solid wood. One of my donkeys arrived with part of an ear flaked off, which was easily enough glued, but makes me think they could have used either better materials, or shipped them in bubble-wrap bags instead of just plain plastic ones.

The 'oat' biscuits are the bits I'm not really enamoured with, they are small, a bit under 1cm in diameter, and round. Now, this is understandable when you consider how big the donkeys would have to be if they were larger, but this is a kid's game, and tiny, round easy rolling bits are easily lost off the table, and possible for good.

The cards are the typical 'tiny' euro style, but they are nicely finished, and since they are just flipped over, not a problem to handle like they can be in other games. The deck itself is letter coded into 8 sub decks, which is another small irritation. You must first separate all 8 sub-decks, shuffle them, then reassemble them in order. Not truly taxing, but irritating. (See Der Untergang Von Pompeji for a similiar experience...)

The rules, despite this game still only being available via importers, are provided in several languages, including english. They are clearly written, easy to follow, and hey provide clear examples of both feeding donkeys and scoring. All in all it shouldn't take more than just a couple of minutes to explain to a child.

The game consists of turning over the top card from the deck, and either feeding a donkey, or scoring one.

The feeding cards display either one of the three donkey colors, or a striped 'wild' donkey. They show how many biscuits to feed the donkey on the top left, what colors are fed are entirely up to the current player, and how may steps to move the donkey on the top right. Donkeys can't share spaces on the movement track, if one would end its movement on an occupied space, it continues on to the first open one.

The 'poo' cards start a distribution of 'biscuits'. Like the feeding cards, they either show a donkey color or a 'wild' one. The current player announces the donkey that will be 'relieved', and everyone picks a color on their color wheel in secret. The wheels are shown simultaneously, then the donkey's tail is lifted to reveal the biscuits inside.

Each player then receives the biscuits of the color they indicated. If multiple players choose the same color, then the biscuits are split evenly as possible. If their aren't enough to go around, they don't get distributed. Any remaining biscuits go back in the donkey.

This procedes until a special 'stop' card is encountered, then all three donkeys are scored in turn, and whoever has the most biscuits wins.

I'm not sure what the inspiration for the Donkey poo theme was, since this could have been implented as many things. (Spices in jars, fruits in baskets, etc.) But needless to say its an instant kid attractor.

The game itself is solid, there is the problem of remembering which donkey was fed what colors, as well as trying to pick a color during scoring to get more biscuits than your opponents, which often means not picking the color it was fed most. My daughter admits that late in the game she starts speculating based on how many biscuits are on the table and in everyone's score pile.

Memory games are almost always good choices for playing with younger kids (4-6) and this one is interesting enough to be playable with older kids (8+) and adults can join in without being terribly bored. I couldn't imagine only adults playing it, but to each their own.

My only real gripes are the fragility of the Donkeys, I can easily imagine one breaking if dropped off a table, and the tiny oat biscuits that lend themselves to being lost so easily.

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Tim Seitz
United States
Glen Allen
VA
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Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
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Gecko23 wrote:
The 'oat' biscuits are the bits I'm not really enamoured with, they are small, a bit under 1cm in diameter, and round. Now, this is understandable when you consider how big the donkeys would have to be if they were larger, but this is a kid's game, and tiny, round easy rolling bits are easily lost off the table, and possible for good.


That's what you get for letting your kids play with your toys!
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