Chaos in der Geisterbahn
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What a creepy joke! Four children go on the ghost ride and are frightened by the spooky figures! But the cars stop suddenly and all the ghosts stand still.
What happened? The gear wheels are all mixed up! The clever children courageously put the gear wheels back in the right places. Can you help them to get the ghosts moving again?
You'll need logical thinking and good teamwork here! With some luck, the ghosts will soon be dancing again!
Chaos in der Geisterbahn is almost a great game. It's a cute game about gears. The premise is that players are trying to fix a ghost ride in an amusement park. One crank and three purple gears marked with ghosts are deployed to the board during the setup phase. Then, players take turns rolling the colored die, and placing a gear of that color on the board. The goal is to set things up so that when you turn the crank, the gears with the ghosts turn as well. The possible gear locations are all carefully chosen so that everything is guaranteed to mesh well and not lock up.
The gameplay is simple enough that young kids with no previous game experience should do just fine. The gimmick is cute, and serves to help kids develop intuition about gears, and how they can be used to transfer motion.
Despite all these great aspects, Ravensburger really screwed up when they published this game; they didn't include enough gears! For most starting configurations, there are barely enough gears to fix the machine if you place all the gears optimally. But kids, of course, don't necessarily make optimal plays. Place a few gears off in the corners of the board where they are not useful, and the game becomes unsolvable. The rules say nothing about what to do if you run out of gears and the machine still isn't fixed. We experimented with rules in which we allowed relocating gears, but that didn't work out very well. The game simply doesn't have enough gears!
One option, if the game idea sounds really exciting to you, is to buy two copies of the game so you can pool the gears into one usable set.