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.
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!