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Subject: Review of a promising Children's Horse Jumping & Racing Game rss

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Mystery McMysteryface
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Florida
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Introduction:
Whoa Nellie is a children’s game for 2-4 players by Richard Borg and Alan R. Moon. You ride your horse at the County Fair and jump hedges, walls, fences, and water.

This game has decent quality components with age-appropriate and attractive graphics.
image courtesy of toguopp

The game contents are:
Game Board
4 Horses (cardboard chits on plastic stands)
10 Jumps (cardboard chits on plastic stands)
4 Flags (also on plastic stands)
31 Blue Ribbon Award Tokens
1 Gold Cup Token
4 Horse Cards
3 Jump Cards
13 Playing Cards

The object of the game is to gain the most points by jumping and completing the course.

Set-Up:
The board has a somewhat random set-up for the 10 jumps/barriers as there are 12 spaces for these jumps and only 10 are used. The 3 Jump Cards are used to randomly assign different types of jumps to the different numbers on the board. Each player takes a Horse, the corresponding Horse Card, and the corresponding Flag. The Horses are placed on their start spaces and the Flags are placed on their designated spaces on the board—diametrically opposite to the start space. The Horse Card is kept face up in front of the players. The Playing Cards are shuffled and placed randomly into five stacks, turning the top card of each stack face-up. Once all 13 cards have been played, they are reshuffled and set-up again in the five stacks.


Gameplay, End Game, and Winning Conditions:
On their turn, players select a Playing Card and maneuver around the board, turning, jumping, moving, and hopefully capturing their Flag and returning to their start spaces. This is the basic game, a sort of race. Victory points are awarded by way of the Blue Ribbon tokens for each successful jump. There are lots of turning, moving, and jumping combinations but the catch is that you need to be able to complete ALL the instructions on the card, not just some. The first player that captures their Flag and returns to their Start space is awarded the Gold Cup, immediately ending the game. Players add up their Blue Ribbons, Flag (if they captured it), and Gold Cup (if they won that). Blue Ribbons score 1 VP; Flags and the Gold Cup score 2 VP’s each. The player with the most VP’s is the winner.


Personal Comments/Assessment:
I had high hopes for this game and purchased it blindly from a thrift store. I was very psyched to see that it was complete and in decent and basically unplayed condition. My 8-year old daughter and I played a couple of times. The gameplay is awkward and tedious. You can only jump hedges (which are printed on the board) with a “Jump” playing card. Well, there is only 1 of these cards in the 13 you lay out. You end up selecting cards that have you moving around the board in a circuitous and unproductive manner. You can also select a card that you can’t use just to turn your horse. Since the rules state that you have to fully complete the instructions on a playing card, many times we had to utilize this type of passing-just turn your horse-option.


All in all the game goes quickly and the margin of victory was usually by only 1 VP. Both times the person who claimed the Gold Cup won the game.

I found the game frustrating and stilted with no elegance or interesting mechanics. The idea is good, but the execution is lacking. It could benefit from house rules to make the gameplay more strategic and interesting, and/or allow for some meaningful planning and decisions. An optional rule to reward the players who first complete each type of jump with an extra 2 points only seems to add to the luck aspect of the game, especially since you can’t really plan for certain jumps and are pretty much boxed into a prescribed course in order to move around the board.

My daughter enjoyed playing with the game pieces more than the actual game. It is better than many roll and move children’s games, but I wouldn’t really recommend it; I find straight Memory more challenging.

Rating: borderline 5
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Brad Miller
United States
Seattle
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That's funny. We are the only two owners of this game. I got mine at a thrift store as well laugh
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Mystery McMysteryface
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Hey Brad!!! Yeah, I had seen that as well!
 
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David Gardner
United States
Washington
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I bought a copy from Funagain, back in the day.

Anyone wanna buy mine from me, and begin cornering the market in this one?

--DG
 
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