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Hase & Igel
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Store:  Strategy Games
Edition:  Hare and Tortoise / Hase und Igel
Genre:  Racing
Format:  Board Games

Hase & Igel

newer German edition

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Product Awards:  
Spiel des Jahres
Game of the Year, 1979

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 45-60 minutes 2-6

Designer(s): David Parlett

Manufacturer(s): Abacus

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Product Awards

Spiel des Jahres
Game of the Year, 1979

Product Information

  • Designer(s): David Parlett

  • Manufacturer(s): Abacus

  • Artist(s): Franz Vohwinkel

  • Year: 2000

  • Players: 2 - 6

  • Time: 45 - 60 minutes

  • Ages: 12 and up

  • Weight: 746 grams

  • Language Requirements: Game components are language-independent. An English translation of the rules is provided.

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.9 in 17 reviews

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by Dave
It's a race to the finish and it's fun!
March 03, 2003

I'd been wanting to try H+T for some time. I really enjoyed Cartegena and H+T sounded like a race game with some added strategy. True enough! Although the goal seems simple getting there first can raise your blood pressure. Even if you're in the lead a fellow player can catch and pass you if you're not careful. The multiple choices on each move add some depth and interest to the game,i.e., do I use carrots to move, stay put to collect more carrots or take a chance and roll the die, etc.? I found H+T to be totally engaging. We played three games in a row after I opened the box. I even think the board and cards are charming. I did'nt know what I was missing! Great game.

by Baloo
Great, like all board games without dice
December 29, 2001

I don't know what the new edition is like, but if there are dice, it cannot be as good as the original German adition. It is a nice part of strategy to guess which cards are still in the pack, and what your chances are of having luck. Anyway, I don't like board games which include dice. That's one of the reasons I like and still play Hase und Igel.

Easy to Learn, and Hard to Predict.
January 01, 2001

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the aesthetic appeal of the board may or may not tickle your fancy. But the game itself is a gem.

The trick is knowing what options your opponents have, and what kind of play they tend to exhibit. This makes for a good 'repeat' game, as you will find it more enjoyable when you have seen how your friends respond to the board.

Choices make a good game, and this one has plenty.

by Mike
Just Buy this Game... You Won't Regret It
November 28, 2000

After reading several reviews available on this game, I bit the bullet and picked this game up. The art on the Rio Grande edition of this game really turned me off, but, I figured that if so many other people loved this game--why not try it?

The game is an extremely clever resource management game with enough luck thrown in to keep things interesting. And choices? There are TOO many each turn!

So, to those of you who have seen this game and have been turned off by the artwork or the theme, take my advice... just buy this game--you won't regeret it!

Two generations of proven fun
September 17, 2000

This is a wonderful game. A game that plays as light-hearted fun with table of eight year olds, but as a hard-fought struggle with four fiendish adults. Beautifully simple mechanics put it in the 'learn in 5 minutes' league.

I grew up with it, and just bought a number of copies as gifts for my children's friends. The new version has more robust components than my old Gibson Games version, as we've come to expect from this publisher.

Buy it now and pass it on to your grandchildren.

No Collection Should Be Without Hase und Igel
January 11, 2000

Very few games stand up to the test of time as new game mechanism are discoverd and developed while old ones lose favor and steam with the game community. Hase und Igel is one of those few games.

This simple race game hides the strategic resource management needed to play. The game is great for kids and adults alike and teaches many skills for all levels. It also spans the social/family game players and the game enthusiasts too.

The upcoming rerelease of this game should give everyone a great opportunity to rediscover an all time classic or see what a gem of a game this is for the first time!

by Rick T
A Classic Blend of Simplicity and Complexity
October 17, 2002

Playing Hare and Tortoise is like reading Animal Farm. There are two distinctly different levels to the game.

On the simple level you basically move your player around the board and perform different tasks. This makes the game easy enough for anyone to play and enjoy. Interestingly, the game board has a different look. While some may not like it because it does not have the 'crisp' colors common to many games, I find the rich, but muted color scheme very sophisticated, like a valued tapestry or a classic oil painting.

On the complex level, one is continuously confronted with the classic life 'Tortoise and Hare' struggle of whether to:

1.forge into the lead but risk depleating your resources, or

2. lay back to build up resources and pass everyone when they least expect it.

One aspect of the game that can be either intriguing or a bit confusing (depending on your point of view) is.....'Who's Winning The Game?' It's often difficult to tell who has the advantage.

Personally, I find this ambiguity intriguing and believe it's one of the most appealing aspects of the game. I like that more than strategy can work and that's it's not simply that the person in front is in the lead. However, some players have found this lack of clarity confusing and this has distracted from their enjoyment of the game.

Strong Recommend - This is a classic board game and a must for the collection.

by Amyk
you never know who's going to win until it's over!
October 16, 2002

A good friend bought me this game because he grew up playing it. I just love it! It's different, it's not based purely on luck, you have to be sober to play it, and you don't know who will win until they cross the finish line. I also think the art work is very charming! Maybe it's because I grew up with games like Life and Monopoly, but these graphics are quite original.

The thing I really enjoy about the game is that it's set up so the people who are behind can sprint ahead and win. It's really weighted towards evening out the positions in the 'race.'

You also learn a lot about the people you play with. Do they have a lot of strategy? Do they like to be relaxed when they play? Can they get the rules down?

I have to admit that figuring out the directions is half the fun. But the people I've introduced to Hare & Tortoise now want it for x-mas!

Hare and Tortoise - the more the merrier!
September 02, 2001

With 2 people, Hare and Tortoise is a fun game because of the use of two tokens each. Of course, the game is at its best with 5 or 6 people. It is such a unique game, nothing like you have ever played before. The strategies are endless. We play with a different Hare Table that was used in the Gibson edition. It makes for less luck.

Here is the table we use:

Roll one die and add to your position in the race.

Total Action

2 Move back to last vacant hare square (if any).

3 Miss a turn.

4 Move back to last vacant carrot square (if any).

5 Chew a carrot. (Draw 10 or pay 10.)

6 Restore your carrot holding to exactly 65.

7 Free turn--you get a refund of carrots paid to reach the hare square.

8 Lose exactly half your carrots (keep the odd one if any left).

9 Have another turn.

10 Move forward (free) to the next vacant carrot square (if any).

11 Chew a lettuce. (Treat this hare square exactly as if it were a lettuce square.)

12 Restore your carrot holding to exactly 65.

Excellent Teaching Game
March 04, 2001

I was surprised to read in the other reviews how people felt the colors on this game were terrible. I have found the opposite: the colors are vibrant and crisp; the detail of the card spaces on the board is so well done that I and others I have played with have tried to pick up a card only to find it is the artwork on the board.

The heart of this game is learning how to manage your recourses so you can reach the finish line with a prescribed amount of carrots. The amount varies depending on what place you are in. As you develop your skill in playing the game you are also developing skills you can apply to the real world such as personal finance and budgeting. My six year old does well with the game given a little help with the math, and that she is picking up on too.

What I find most amusing about the game is that you learn quickly why some of your friends often complain about credit card payments or how they live from pay check to pay check. The game quickly shows that the reason they have personal finance problems is because they have no clue how to budget. One friend got so frustrated with the concept that he quit after the second turn explaining that he "just didn't understand how to move."

It is a simple game of mathematics and budgeting that is loads of fun to play with the right group. I find it easier to play with my 6 year old than some adults. Realizing it is a mathematical game, someday I will sit down and calculate to optimum move each turn to minimize the number of moves needed to complete the game.

I recommend it to everyone. It is OK to learn from a game.

Resource Management 101
September 14, 2000

Don't be fooled by the pretty pictures and fairy tale setting of this game. What lies beneath this benign surface is a game of surprising depth and complexity. Each player is attempting to finish the race as quickly as possible, but how you get to the finish line is not a simple matter.

The board is a 64-space path that meanders across the brightly colored board. Movement is regulated by the expense of your only resource, namely carrots. Moving forward results in increasing higher and higher costs, determined by an arithmetic progression. Moving a single space costs a single carrot, but moving 2 spaces requires 2 carrots for the second square, for a total of 3. Costs can mount dramatically the further ahead you wish to move.

Happily, there are opportunities to gain more carrots throughout the game. Moving backwards to a tortoise space can result in an influx of carrots, as well as being lucky enough to be on a number square at the right time. Moving to a hare space results in a die roll which can result in several different consequences for good or ill.

The game is further complicated by two winning conditions. First, a player must rid him or herself of 3 lettuce cards by landing at various times on the very few lettuce squares on the board. Secondly, a player must have eliminated most of their carrot collection before crossing the finish line. The first player must have fewer than 10 carrots, the second fewer than 20, and so on.

Hare and Tortoise uses its various mechanisms to good effect. Players jockey for position in a 'three-steps-forward-two-steps-back' dance until someone makes a break for the finish line, The result? A highly charged tension builds as players near the finish line, striving to have just the right number of carrots to jet ahead and get in under the limit.

This is a game that can be played and enjoyed by the whole family. Hare and Tortoise, in its German edition, was the first winner of the prestigious Spiel des Jahres. After having played it, I can easily see how it won.

At least it's available now
September 04, 2000

Many have known for quite a while that Hare and Tortoise is one of the finest games ever devised--and it still holds true. And now we can get our hands on what was once difficult to find, thanks to Rio Grande Games. However, for reasons unknown, the game was slightly adjusted in two significant ways.

First, and this is a good change, the first lettuce square (vital to winning the game) was moved a bit farther away from the start space, reducing the 'first player' advantage a bit. Secondly, and this is terrible, the 'jugging the hare' chart has been brutally revamped, making constant advancement to hare spaces a viable strategy.

So, buy it because you can. But then find a kind soul to reproduce the original hare table for you and use that one.

The race of the math bunnies -- not a family rabbit
December 08, 2002

When I first discovered 'German' games, I read up on a lot of them, especially the ones considered classics -- Adel Verpflichtet, Wildlife Adventure, and Hare & Tortoise. This one was spoken quite well of, and, never having played it, I picked it up on reputation alone -- and was subsequently quite disappointed. It's not to say this game doesn't have its place as a classic or even as a game to be played once in a while, but it was not quite what I thought. I believed I was getting a family game and Hare & Tortoise is NOT a family game, (unless you are a Kumon family and you don't want your kids' imaginations getting too wound up. =)

This is a race game with some very interesting twists. Players burn carrots as fuel and so may pay to move as far as they want -- or can afford. It often pays to go backwards (a way to gain carrots), and you will certainly go backwards a few times in the race. It also pays to dawdle sometimes in order to receive larger carrot bonusus (or refuelling, if you will.) The game is a linear race as the track could well have been laid out in a straight line, so players are simply trying to get to the finish line first.

Since carrot costs increase quadratically (a math prof told me that 'quadratically' is the preferred term and NOT 'exponentially' =) smaller moves are preferred over big moves which become very pricey. (Ie. to move 4 spaces in 4 turns costs 4 carrots; to move the same 4 spaces in one turn costs 10 carrots.) One more complicating factor is that players must eat 3 lettuce heads before finishing, and there are only 4 spaces on the whole board that allow you to do that, so competition increases to reach these prized spaces as well. A long queue often forms behind the lettuce spaces as people jockey for access.

This game has tons of math certainly, but there is the Rabbit square to throw a wrench into the whole mix. If you move to it, you roll a die and read a chart that tells you what the die roll means for your current position in the race. You may move forward one position, lose a turn, or eat a lettucs, among other things. Quite random and seemingly out of place in an otherwise quite calculating game.

Can't complain about the graphics, but again, they give the impression this is a family game, which I feel it is not. Some people may like this type of game quite a bit with tactical interaction and denying people bonuses but it is a calculation game. I'll play it from time to time, but I don't think I could talk my family into it.

Good game, but with > 4 players it's a cabbage game.
January 16, 2002

Works well for 4 or less players. If you play with 6 then there are not enough

cabbages to go round. This results in a massive advantage for those who start

early and get to the cabbage patches first. Unless somebody makes a mistake 1st and 2nd place are shared by the first

two players to 3rd and 4th place go to next two players and 5th and 6th place

to the last two.

Don't believe me ? Get a competent bunch of people together and try it. 3.5

stars for the basic game but one lost for this bug.

A Classic, or at least the original was
January 01, 2001

Wow, I'm impressed by the vitriol of Rob's review, especially for a game that is a classic by most standards. I'll admit doing all the movement calculations can be a little tedious at times, but still, for a game that even younger kids can play but still involves rather a lot of skill... I guess the only thing to note is that like most German games, this is substantially better with 4 players. You can play with 6, but then the huge carrot payouts for being in last can skew things a bit.

Anyway, just a few comments on the Abacus/Rio Grande reissue of this game:

  • Firstly, I'll grant Rob that this version is unattractive. Far from the hideous train wreck of Rio Grande's Medici, but still not exactly pleasing to the eye. The dull colors and cartoon-like illustrations make for a much cheaper-feeling and less classy presentation than the Ravensburger original.
  • Secondly, it is not a straight re-issue; it is a somewhat dumbed-down version of the original. The cards have been replaced by a random event die roll, which is skewed towards players in last place and gives you a one-in-six shot of consuming a lettuce. This makes the game much more forgiving and also makes getting rid of your lettuce far, far easier than in the original and means that taking random events are now part of the strategy instead of acts of relative desperation. It's a relatively minor thing, but it does make a big difference in the gameplay.

I own the original Ravensburger Hase und Igel, and would have bought the Abacus/Rio Grande version too for the English cards... but the elimination of the cards definitely makes it a somewhat weaker game, and the original is more highly recommended if you can get it. The Abacus/Rio Grande version is still a very fine game however, and recommended.

Lettuce reconsider
August 18, 2002

I suppose I should apologize for giving a classic game a poor score. My evaluation reflects only my experience: the two-player game of Hare and Tortoise was boring. The game mechanics seemed dry and uninspired. Unlike games like Atlantic Star or Wyatt Earp, the experience lacked sparkle (a technical term referring to a combination of fun, tension, upbeat tempo, and a desire to play again). This is a game you play by the numbers and thats not a game design I find attractive. The classic nature of the game certainly demonstrates its popularity, so I accept my minority status. 8^)**

Ugliness is surpassed only by its tedium
December 31, 2000

Possibly the worst 40 minutes of gaming in my life. The first thing you notice on opening the box is how ugly the board is--a lot of dull greens and oranges. The next is how involved the rules are for what is basically a children's game. Things get worse when you actually start playing.

The goal is to buy your way to the finish line using carrots, which you earn primarily by being in last place. There's a lot of shuffling of pieces back and forth along the hideously illustrated track and a tremendous amount of counting out carrots to buy moves and make change.

Our session elicited a lot of laughter and derisive comments. Some samples: 'like snakes and ladders without the fun parts,' 'captures the tedium of a tortoise race very well' and 'what aspect of this is supposed to be fun?'

While we did pick up on some of the strategies, most of us ended up just jumping ahead to the 'Hare' spaces simply so we could do something stimulating--roll a die and consult a table. It's baffling that Hare and Tortoise was voted game of the year in 1979. I don't like to be this negative about a game, but it really was brutal.

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