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Mayfair Games Karnickel

By Fred Jandt
Published: April 25, 2014
Mayfair Games Karnickel
Stock No.: MFG3503
MSRP: $20
Availability: Mayfair Games
Target Consumer: Families, especially those with younger children.

First Impression: In Lookout Spiele’s Karnickel, players take control of a bunny looking for its latest meal — unfortunately the carrot patch is located in the path of an oncoming train!

The game is simple in design: Track pieces comprise the board, forming a ring when laid out, with a pile of carrots to collect placed in its center. Karnickel also includes seven dice, a train piece and six bunny figures with multi-colored bases. Although setup mainly consists of laying out the track pieces, the initial setup also requires placing the faces on the included white dice. My only complaint with the game: The dice faces are matte stickers that tend to get dirty with continued playing.

Players roll the dice and move a bunny a number of spaces matching the results’ color. Every time the dice are rolled, any white arrows mean that die gets removed. When no dice are left, it’s time for the train to steam along the tracks knocking any bunnies out of its way! Lucky bunnies dodging the locomotive gain carrots to add to their pile.

Gameplay is easy. My 7-year-old daughter was able to play with minor instructions. However, by not restricting movement to a player’s own piece, the game can become deceptively complex. Moving an opponent’s piece with locomotive doom a hair’s breadth away can mean the difference between winning and losing.

Why you should stock it: Karnickel is a fun game for kids of various ages. (I tested it with ages 7, 12 and 15.) And it’s simple enough that these kids were able to play it by themselves. With its small package size and 15-minute average playing time, it also makes a great game for trips!