English language edition of Elchfest
List Price: $20.00
Your Price: $18.00
(Worth 1,800 Funagain Points!)
from 5 customer reviews
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Two elk (Jule and Ole) stare at each other across a river. Longing for the greener grass where the other elk is, they set out to beat each other to the opposite bank! In Elk Fest, move your elk to the other bank by flicking wooden disks across the table and balancing your elk on them. Can your elk get to the greener grass across the river? Good grazing is just a stone's flick away!
I saw this game at last year's WBC and picked up a copy. I am a sucker for games that require flicking such as Carabande or Crokinole. The Moose Game, as it has become known around here, has caught on in a big way.
I took it to work and it was a hit at lunch. We now engage in inter-departmental multi-moose competitions.
We have started placing objects on the table to make it tougher to cross and the games can become so spirited that it will draw a crowd who react to each shot.
I can't say enough about this game. It is simple but has a luck factor of zero and it can be taught in exactly 30 seconds.
Take a Moose to work and watch things grind to a halt.
Always looking for a new game to share with my young children, I took a chance on Elchfest. I admire flicking games like Carbande and Subbuteo and knew that they worked for my children (both under 7). Elchfest is far less compicated than either of those and was the easiest game to learn this side of Blockhead.
The game was an immediate hit at a kids' slumber party and was well-received a night later with adults. Though most strategies were discovered within a few plays, the game still has plenty of life. The age limit could easily drop to 5 or 6, and, yet, adults still will play happily, revelling in Elchfest's simplicity of play and marvelous absence of game materials.
Elchfest (Kosmos, Hermann Huber - 1999) is probably the most simple game of the Kosmos two-player series. In fact, it’s probably one of the simplest games I own. The game consists solely of ten pieces and can be played on any countertop or table. It’s a dexterity game, an unusual offering in the prestigious Kosmos line. The strategies are few, and the game is short as is my review. It’s a fun little dexterity game, but you can take it or leave it.
The theme of the game is two elk trying to cross a river. Each player is given an elk (about two square inches), a wooden figurine with two legs to easily stand it up. The elk is place on a “riverbank”, a wooden platform upon which the two elk are faced with the platforms a certain distance apart (basically as far as the players want it to be.) Each player places three gray wooden discs next to their riverbank, and the first player takes their turn.
On a turn, a player can flick two of these stepping stones (except the first turn - that player flicks only one.) The player must start by flicking the three discs on their side, after this they can flip any stone on the table. Players are trying to maneuver the discs to the front of their elk. On a players turn, during/after/before flicking, they may move their elk, putting its front feet on a stone; as long as both feet of the elk are supported by stones or the riverbank. If the Elk falls down either because the player set it precariously or a player accidentally shoots it off its footing, then the player who caused the fall has their turn end immediately; and the next player gets three shots! As soon as one player’s elk can set their front feet on the opponent’s riverbank, they win the game!
That’s the game in a nutshell. Here’s my opinion: the game is simple, quite easy to store and even the Kosmos two-player box seems large for it. One could easily get a small pouch for the pieces and voila - a travel game! The wooden bits are chunky and quite easy to handle with little rubber pads included. Everything is sturdy - the way it should be for a flicking game. The rules are in German (you don’t really need them after one play), but a translation is available at www.boardgamegeek.com.
If you like flicking games, such as Carabande, there is a good chance that this one will be up your alley as well. If you don’t like dexterity games such as those, there’s nothing that this one will do to change your mind. For a mindless exercise in flicking skill, this game is quick, easy to set up, and plays in a very short time. It’s a neat thing to carry around with you when you only have a few minutes to both explain and play a game. Other than that, however, there’s not much here. Elchfest is a fun game, but the fun lasts a short time and can be repetitive after a game or so. I think of it as a novelty item, a game that catches the eye but grows old after a couple playings. Is it worth buying? - I’m not sure, I would get it if I saw it on sale but not worry about it otherwise. If I want a great flicking experience, I want to play Carabande or Crokinole. This is like the poor man’s version of those fantastic games.
“Real men play board games.”
Years ago, I took some heat for describing Crokinole as a "flicking” game. I admit I was being flippant, as the game undeniably involves considerable skill and a decent amount of strategy. Still, at its heart, it is a game of flicking a disk, and that requires a different type of skill than is present in most board games I tend to play. Much the same can be said of Elk Fest, a fun, but very light dexterity game from designer Hermann Huber.
The goal of Elkfest is quite simple: strategically place stones so you can safely guide your wooden elk across a raging river. This is accomplished by flicking wooden disks into proper position, which then serve as stepping stones for the elk. As long as the front legs of the elk figure can reach the next stone, it can move onto it. The idea is to position the stones at just the right increments so the elk can move from stone-to-stone without falling into the river.
The elk tokens begin on opposite sides of the table, each resting on a riverbank piece. Three wooden "stones" are set beside each elk, and the game begins. Players alternate flicking two stones per turn, then moving their elk, if possible. On the first two turns, players must only flick their own stones, but thereafter may flick any stone that does not contain an elk. After flicking stones, the player may attempt to move his elk. To move, the front legs of the elk must be able to reach a stone. In other words, it must be within leg-length of the elk's existing location. After moving, the back legs of the elk must rest upon the stone upon which its front legs previously rested. A player may move the elk as far as possible as long as these conditions are met.
If a player attempts to move the elk, but the distance proves too far, the elk falls into the water, and returns to its last dry position. The stones are also returned to their previous positions. This same consequence is suffered if an elk is knocked over by a sliding stone. As a penalty, the player's turn ends immediately and his opponent gets to flick three stones on his turn. Likewise, if a player flicks a stone off the table, their opponent also gets to flick three stones on their next turn. Flick carefully!
The game concludes when one player successfully moves his elk onto the opposite riverbank tile. Generally, this takes from ten-to-fifteen minutes, but it can be shorter or longer based on the skill of the players.
Elk Fest does require some skill when flicking the stones, but it isn't a deep, highly refined skill. It is more on the order of the skill required to play paper football well. Size-up the shot, flick the disk, and hope it comes to rest at the desired position. Since there are only six stones in play, and four of them will generally be occupied by the legs of the elks, that leaves only two disks to flick on each turn. Often, these are way out of position, so it takes some skill to maneuver them where you desire. The more you flick, the better you will get, and the quicker the game will play to conclusion.
Elk Fest is a cute diversion, but little more. It is light fun, but with adults, it runs its course quickly. It is a good choice while in a restaurant or waiting for other gamers to arrive, but after a few playings, I'm done with it. But I'm probably not the target audience. The audience is likely a younger group – the same group that still enjoys a rousing game of paper football. I used to be one of those folks, and fondly remember wiling away many a recess hour flicking a paper football along a wooden bench, attempting to rise to glory and best my boyhood friends. Those days are long past, however, and the amusement derived from such pastimes no longer keeps my attention for long. However, for those who are still in that age group, Elk Fest should be a welcome alternative.
After playing this game a few times, I feel like something is missing. There just doesn't seem to be much tension or strategy in the game. Perhaps I was expecting more from the game after playing the other Kosmos two-player games. The idea of being able to flick your opponent's disks sounds like it would add a lot of player interaction, but the vast majority of the time it just makes more sense to use your own disk. This makes the game more like two solitare games being played at the same time, with a race to see who finishes first.
The game components are nice, but it seems a bit overpriced for what you get: 10 small pieces of painted wood.
Each player starts with a hardwood "riverbank" on which a moose stands, and three paradoxically movable stepping stones. Turns consist of flicking stones and, if possible, inching your moose across the raging waters; you must flick close enough to allow its front hooves to reach the next stone. The object is to get your moose to the enemy bank first. You may harass the opponent by flicking his stones, and even using them, once they leave their starting spaces, but be careful: Sending one of his stones off the table or striking his moose allows him extra shots. The farther apart the riverbanks begin on the table, the longer the game lasts. Arguably the most quirky of our Games 100 selections, Elchfest still requires a high level of digital dexterity and is delightfully intriguing.
This could be described in less than a paragraph, but I'm not repeating the mistake I made with Buffalo.
So, more than one paragraph it is.
And this is the third one. If you can flick a Subbuteo player, or a Carom striker, you will immediately assume the mantle of Elchfest Grandmaster, because this little offering from Kosmos is no more than an exercise in digital dexterity.
Each player lines up an island piece, an Elk figure and two discs (all the components are wooden) and proceeds to manipulate the discs in such a way that the Elk can hotfoot it to the opposite island. Once the discs have left their starting berths, they enter the public domain and can be flicked into position by either player. This allows a degree of subterfuge, and can leave an Elk stranded for a turn.
Ultimately, Elchfest will earn a merit mark if the technique appeals. I liked it, and my youngest son has become reasonably proficient. That, I think, is where the narrow market lies.