So Ein Zirkus
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Juggling clowns which have brightly coloured wooden balls inside them move across the board. Every so often they drop into one of the holes where points can be scored.
Bust as the clowns change places, confusion arises. Can you still remember the colour of the last ball in that clown?
WELCOME TO THE CIRCUS is a clever, entertaining game which requires good tactics, good luck, and a good memory. It's a game for children which adults will enjoy playing too!
Players: 2 - 4
Time: 15 minutes
Ages: 6 and up
Weight: 805 grams
Language Requirements: Game components are language-independent. An English translation of the rules is provided.
The game is about moving three clowns on an 8 by 3 wooden, gridded board. The board is about 1 cm in depth and has 6 holes, into which the coloured balls of the players will drop. Each player receives 3 balls in their colour and a throw of the dice determines the colour of the ball to be placed into one of the clowns. These start at the bottom of the board and are designed so that they can hold 3 balls, on top of each other so that only the top ball can be seen. When the die shows a colour that matches the top ball in each clown, a player may move that clown one square forward instead of loading another ball into the clown.
As a clown moves over a hole, the bottom ball drops out and scores a number of points (1 to 6, depending on the hole). The die also has two further options--when black is shown any clown can be moved back one square, while the white side of the die allows any clown to be moved forward. The length of movement allowed depends on the number of balls in the clown, one for each ball. Only orthogonal movement is allowed, so some careful moving can block other clowns. The game ends when the 6 point hole is filled and the player with the most points wins.
The game reminded me of the previous Essen's wooden game, "Boule'', as it also used balls and was a fast game to play. It has a simplicity and clarity that I find appealing. The decision making options--which level do you want to place your balls in a clown, what movements do you want to make--are clever, but uncomplicated. English rules were provided at Essen, which make the job so much easier to get into a game while you are at the fair. The game has a range of optional rules to consider, such as not moving the full distance for clowns that have 2 or 3 balls and there are so many suggestions to make, that the game has potential for expanding the variants while retaining its charm. I'd recommend it as a light game, possibly suitable for two players while you are waiting for the rest of your games group to arrive.