Tag Archives: 2012

There’s A Ghost In My House – Schnappt Hubi! review


Sometimes I wish I’d paid more attention in school during that single year I studied German. If I’d had a crystal ball and knew in advance just how much I’d enjoy playing games I would definitely have sacked off the three years of French (which ended up in a not so great grade, if I’m honest) and gone for The Official Language Of Gaming (TM) instead. Thankfully, I’m still always up for learning and am trying – slowly but surely – to pick up as much of the language as possible. Playing games helps a lot, of course, and it’s even better when the game actually talks back.

Now, I admit that I’m starting at a low(ish) level – Schnappt Hubi! from Ravensburger is a kids game, after all – but you still need to pay plenty of attention. It helps that it’s actually a very fun little blast that happened to pick up the 2012 Kinderspiel des Jahres; a worthy winner, in my opinion. Like a lot of games that seem to come out only in Germany that are aimed at the children’s market, it’s highly unlikely that this will ever see a release overseas but if you can find a copy I’d recommend you at least investigate it.

Between two and four can play this co-op where you have a two-fold objective, both of which involve hunting down a ghost called Hubi. First of all, players must explore the board using the included Magic Compass. This is a nice little device that talks to you during the game, letting you know whether or not your path is blocked and telling you what kind of walls are in your way. As you’re either moving mice or rabbits around Hubi’s house, different walls will affect you in different ways; rabbits can’t go through mouseholes, mice can’t hop over the much higher rabbit holes, for example. What you’re really looking for is to get two characters on either side of the magic doors that are hidden in the house – discover the right one and you’ll find the ghost.

How could you not want to play this? I mean, look at it! It's brilliant!

How could you not want to play this? I mean, look at it! It’s brilliant!

Now comes the second part of the game. On finding Hubi he’ll ask what you’re doing in his house medium of the Compass) then quickly run away, meaning that you need to find him all over again. This is a slightly different challenge though, as animals who are dotted around the floor of the house will give you hints on where he is. Get two of your pieces to the correct location before time runs out and you win the game. Simple!

It’s a very lovely thing indeed, and surprisingly challenging considering it’s a children’s game. Being a Ravensburger product you would expect incredibly high quality and Schnappt Hubi! really doesn’t disappoint. Little details like the mice being able to fit through the mouseholes are a mark of a great product. The art is charming, the various pieces are incredibly well made (the walls that make up the rooms are nice and chunky in particular) and the rules – from what I can make out at least – are nice and clear. Hell, if I can make them out with my limited grasp of the language, you can.

I’m delighted to have this as part of my collection. Sure, it’s far from the most complex game in the world but it’s an ideal way to cleanse the palate after a day of more hardcore stuff. Play this with a couple of kids and it comes into it’s own, promoting the idea of working together in order to achieve a common goal while simultaneously being a pile of fun to get into. I know that very few of you readers will actually get a chance to try this one out but should the opportunity ever arise, take it. I’ll definitely be bringing it along to some events to show it off and who knows? Maybe it’ll one day replace Loopin’ Louie as the Odd Convention Game of Choice! And hey, it’s helping me improve myself too – what more could you want?

Schnappt Hubi! was designed by Steffen Bogen and originally released by Ravensburger in Germany back in 2011. Between two and four can play and games will generally take you about 20-30 minutes. If you want to grab a copy, head on over to amazon.de where it’ll set you back around 30 Euros – well worth it, I reckon!


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Episode 49 – Essen 2012, Day Four

And so we come to the end of The Little Metal Dog Show’s coverage of Essen Spiel 2012! This episode covers the fourth and final day of the show with interviews with some big names in gaming as well as some new faces. From Stronghold Games’ Stephen Buonocore to Joost Das from brand new company Fablesmith, you’ll feel just like you were there. Or it’ll sound like it anyway… In order, prepare to hear the voices of the following:

Christopher Badell from Greater Than Games, creators of Sentinels of the Multiverse – http://sentinelsofthemultiverse.com/

Gordon Lamont (the ‘Gor’ in Fragor Games) talks Spellbound – http://www.fragorgames.com/

Simon and Tak from Japon Brand – http://japonbrand.gamers-jp.com/

Battlefoam’s Romeo Filip discusses their insane level of expansion in the past couple of years – http://www.battlefoam.com/

Andrei from NSKN Legendary Games – http://www.nskn.net/en2/ 

Wrong Chemistry designer Tony Cimino gets scientific – http://www.magecompany.com/

Joost Das from Fablesmith talks about his brand new game, Oh No! Invasion! – http://www.fablesmith.nl/

Ignacy Trzewik gets excited about his new stuff from Portal – http://www.portalpublishing.eu/

Nate Hayden from Blast City discusses Mayan prophecy – http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgamepublisher/7052/blast-city-games

Stronghold Games’ very own Stephen Buonocore (of course!) talks about everything – http://strongholdgames.com/

If you’d like to download the show directly, click this here link: http://littlemetaldog.podbean.com/mf/web/i3rgcw/LMD_Episode49.mp3

Back Keep Running! now on Kickstarter! Have a look at the KS page here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/108292040/keep-running-a-quick-and-nasty-card-game-by-michae

Josh Mannon’s excellent looking Skies Over Danbury is here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jbmannon/the-skies-over-danbury-dungeon-world-adventures?ref=live

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Episode 48 – Essen 2012, Day Three

Welcome to Day Three of The Little Metal Dog Show’s coverage of the Essen 2012 Fair. It’s another long one, clocking in at just under 100 minutes of interviews straight from the show floor with some of the biggest movers and shakers in the industry as well as newcomers aplenty. In this episode I get to talk to the following luminaries…

Seth from Mayday Games – http://maydaygames.com/

Editions du Matagot’s very own Fabien – http://www.matagot.com/

Doug Garrett of Garrett’s Games and Geekiness – http://www.garrettsgames.com/

Todd Rowland from AEG – http://www.alderac.com

Kuznia Gier’s Piotr – http://www.kuzniagier.pl/english.html

Thomas from Repos Production – http://rprod.com/index.php?page=news

Feuerland’s Frank only had a few minutes – http://www.feuerland-spiele.de/

Travis from Indie Boards and Cards – http://www.indieboardsandcards.com/

Days of Wonder’s Adrien – http://www.daysofwonder.com/en/

Revision Games’ Juha talked Iron Sky and Arctic Union – http://www.revision-games.com/

Sander and Tim from Sandtimer Games – http://www.sandtimer.be/home.html

If you want a direct download of the episode, it’s here – http://littlemetaldog.podbean.com/mf/web/wtt9dp/LMD_Episode48.mp3

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Episode 47 – Essen 2012, Day Two!

So, here’s the second of four episodes from The Little Metal Dog Show covering Spiel 2012! This one is massive, clocking in at over 100 minutes of interviews direct from the show floor. Check out the list below for everyone involved in this episode as well as links to their many and various projects and companies. As always, thanks for listening and supporting the show!

Direct Download: http://littlemetaldog.podbean.com/mf/web/ffv2f6/LMD_Episode47.mp3

Tony Boydell from Surprised Stare Games, designer of Snowdoniahttp://www.surprisedstaregames.co.uk

Gil dOrey runs MESAboardgames: http://www.mesaboardgames.pt/en

Flatlined Games’ Eric Hanuise: http://www.flatlinedgames.com/

Alban Viard, creator of Card City and Town Centerhttp://www.ludibay.net/

The Guys from The Roskilde Festival talk about The Roskilde Festival Gamehttp://roskilde-festival.dk/

Follow Backspindle Games (makers of Guards! Guards! and Codinca): https://twitter.com/GuardsGuards

Pierre-Yves from Helvetia discusses Shafausa and Helvetia Cuphttp://www.helvetia-games.ch/en/

Stragoo Games presented Mafia City: http://www.stragoo.cz/

The wonderful Piotr from Locworks had a massive amount of games available: http://www.locworks.pl/

Il Vecchio from Hall Games was a cracking Euro: http://www.hallgames.de/ilvecchio.php5?lang=EN

Klemenz Franz from Lookout Games talked about Agricola, Le Havre and so much more: http://lookout-spiele.de

Sunrise Tornado’s Ta-Te Wu had a whole bunch of new games: http://sunrisetornado.com/ as well as a Kickstarter for his new title: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tatewu/glory-of-the-three-kingdoms-guandu-core-set

Legendary designer Mike Fitzgerald talked about Hooyah! The Navy SEALS Card Game: http://www.usgamesinc.com/product.php?productid=1166

Right – now to get on with putting together the third part of the Essen coverage…

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International Velvet – Snowdonia review

I’ve been thinking a lot (dangerous, I know) about Spiel 2012 – and more specifically, the games that were released there. Since I got back on Monday I’ve had a LOT of emails asking the usual stuff; did I have fun (yes), how many interviews did I do (just about fifty) and – the biggest question of all – what was my Game of the Show?

In all honesty, this is a very difficult one to answer. As I was running around like a mad thing for most of the show I didn’t actually get a huge amount of time to do much in the way of playing during the four days of Spiel. Sure, there was a fair few games in the evening at the hotel but it’s only really now, post event, that I get to sit around the table with friends and play all those boxes I dragged home. Suburbia is certainly up there on my hotlist, as are Tzolk’in, Space Cadets and the very lovely new version of Sentinels of the Multiverse, but I think I’ve finally decided.

Snowdonia by Tony Boydell is, in a word, wonderful. A middleweight Euro for between one and five players, the premise sees you building a railway up the side of Wales’ finest, foggiest mountainside. Rubble must be cleared, stations need to be built and… well, that’s about it for the story. However, the game itself is packed out with a depth that is rarely so easy to get your teeth into.

Each turn you’ll be able to take a couple of actions (potentially three if you’ve planned ahead well) that will help you in your quest to get that railway constructed. If you boil it down, Snowdonia is essentially a race for points, but the theme is reflected in the opportunities available to you. With only seven different possibilities, you may initially think that the game is somewhat limiting but the realisation kicks in soon that it’s all about building the most efficient engine as quickly as possible. Iron ore is changed into steel bars that can be used to lay track or get your hands on a train (more on that shortly) while rubble can be compressed into stone then used to build stations. Almost everything you do in Snowdonia can score you points, but you’re not going to win this game without some rather lucrative contracts.

These cards set out precisely what you need in order to get some very hefty bonuses. Whether it’s collecting a huge pile of rubble or making sure that you’ve built a decent amount of tracks and buildings, completing them often sets you on the path to victory. As well as points, they also offer you the chance to bend the rules each turn – many can be triggered during certain action phases and will bestow benefits on you and your opposition, so choosing the right time to use them is a major part of the game.

Another way to turn things in your favour is to pick up a train card. They’re costly – most will set you back a couple of steel bars so they can eat into your resources – but will give you a permanent bonus. Whether it’s getting an extra resource each turn or simply more points at the end of the game, choosing the right one is hugely influential. They also allow you to spend a coal cube before each turn in order to get a third worker out of the pub – a great way to get more and more stuff done and work your way along the stations.

Snowdonia in all its cube-driven glory! Click to embiggen.

Of course, this being Wales, you’re going to be slaves to its ‘glorious’ weather. An ingenious little system shows what’s happening meteorologically and this does actually effect how the game plays out. The backs of the contract cards show whether it’s sunny, wet or foggy and by seeing what’s coming up you’ll be able to hopefully plan ahead. Work can progress when it’s bright or raining but should the fog descend everything grinds to a halt – the perfect time to stock up on resources or send your surveyor further up towards the summit; the higher the better as he can again pull in some decent points at the end of play.

Once track has been laid to the final station, the game draws to a close, points are tallied and a winner is declared. Play steams along at a decent pace, especially when you get into gear and start putting your plans for domination into place. A system has also been built in where the game will start laying track and finishing off stations by itself, so hoarding resources and turtling up will do you no favours! You’re forced to get on with it, spend freely from the very beginning and get your presence on the board sooner rather than later, especially in a game of four or five players.

It’s well known that Tony is a fan of Agricola (just look at his slightly deranged blog right here) and you can certainly see Uwe Rosenberg’s influence on Snowdonia – both have a simplicity and straightforward manner of play, and fans of medieval farming will easily slip into the ways of mountainous railway construction. While there’s a lot of information going on in the game, everything is clearly presented and you’ll never get overloaded with detail; another sign of an excellent design.

Also included in the box is a whole new scenario which switches up the gameplay and adds yet more replay value to the package – work is also apparently going on by certain other designers to produce new card sets too, so it looks like Snowdonia is going to be well supported for some time to come. I’d suggest you get in early, grab a copy and get playing before this one starts picking up awards and it becomes hard to find. Who’d have thought that hard labour could be so entertaining? It’s bloody marvellous.

Snowdonia was designed by Tony Boydell and is published by Surprised Stare, Lookout Games and uplay.it. Between two and five can play, with a slightly different set of rules available if you fancy some solo action. It’ll cost you around £32 for a copy, but Gameslore have it available for £26.99. GET IT. NOW.

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