Echidna Shuffle: A 'Kid Series' Board Game Review

Game: Echidna Shuffle
Publisher: Wattsalpoag Games

 

Players: 2-6

Duration: 10-20 minutes
Age: 6+
Time to Learn: 10 minutes

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Overview/Gameplay

"Alexa! What is an Echidna?" "Sorry, I'm not sure." Okay. Wikipedia it is. Turns our these cute little guys are native to Australia and New Guinea. Echidnas are also the only living mammals that lay eggs. And in an editorial note, they happen to fall into the "so ugly they're cute" category of animals. True to form, the Echidnas in this game are stinking cute. 

Isn't she cute? 

Isn't she cute? 

In Echidna Shuffle, the friendly little Echidnas shuffle around the board, helping players return their bugs home. Sounds easy, right? Well each turn your roll of the die tells you how many spaces you may move.  Oh, and Echnida may only move onto open spaces, following the direction arrows on the board. 

Everyone is shuffling 

Everyone is shuffling 

Learning and playing the game is simple. Each player chooses a color of bugs and their corresponding bug tokens and tree stumps are spread out across the board. On their turn, players roll the die to determine the number of spaces to move. They may move any Echidna on the board attempting to land on a space with their bug token. This allows the Echidna to pick up the bug. You are not done yet though!  Players must then move that Echidna to a space with one of their tree stumps. Once on a space containing a tree stump, the player may transfer their bug from the Echidna to the stump and remove it from the board. The first player to collect all three of their bugs and deliver them to their stumps wins the game.

Friendly Echidnas delivering your bugs. 

Friendly Echidnas delivering your bugs. 

All cute and fun so far, but there are some mechanics to spice up this game. Echidnas belong to no one, and can be moved by all players. Even if they are holding another player's bug. This allows for defensive plays. The standard rules also have a mechanism for balancing out each die roll. Players only roll the die every other turn and take a corresponding number of moves the following turn. For example, if you roll a seven your first turn, you will move two the following turn. If you roll a three your first turn, you will move six the following turn.  The rule book also suggests several variants of game play, allowing families to choose rules which work well for them. 

Keep track of your rolls and the spaces you move the next turn

Keep track of your rolls and the spaces you move the next turn

Verdict

A fun, quick and easy way to introduce your younger children to pick-up and deliver style games.  You can back Echidna Shuffle on Kickstarter through November 4, 2017. 

Pros

  • Custom made, adorable components
  • Fun and easy game to introduce the whole family to pick-up and deliver games

Cons

  • We are not ones to let the kiddo win, and in most plays of this game we easily out played her. However, there might have been one game where we were trying so hard to screw each other, she snuck up and beat us.

Gateway Game Score: 10/10
Overall Rating: 7/10