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[Review] Elchfest

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Joined: 03/23/2011

Elchfest (Kosmos, Hermann Huber - 1999) is probably the most simple game of the Kosmos two-player series. In fact, it’s probably one of the simplest games I own. The game consists solely of ten pieces and can be played on any countertop or table. It’s a dexterity game, an unusual offering in the prestigious Kosmos line. The strategies are few, and the game is short as is my review. It’s a fun little dexterity game, but you can take it or leave it.

The theme of the game is two elk trying to cross a river. Each player is given an elk (about two square inches), a wooden figurine with two legs to easily stand it up. The elk is place on a “riverbank”, a wooden platform upon which the two elk are faced with the platforms a certain distance apart (basically as far as the players want it to be.) Each player places three gray wooden discs next to their riverbank, and the first player takes their turn.

On a turn, a player can flick two of these stepping stones (except the first turn - that player flicks only one.) The player must start by flicking the three discs on their side, after this they can flip any stone on the table. Players are trying to maneuver the discs to the front of their elk. On a players turn, during/after/before flicking, they may move their elk, putting its front feet on a stone; as long as both feet of the elk are supported by stones or the riverbank. If the Elk falls down either because the player set it precariously or a player accidentally shoots it off its footing, then the player who caused the fall has their turn end immediately; and the next player gets three shots! As soon as one player’s elk can set their front feet on the opponent’s riverbank, they win the game!

That’s the game in a nutshell. Here’s my opinion: the game is simple, quite easy to store and even the Kosmos two-player box seems large for it. One could easily get a small pouch for the pieces and voila - a travel game! The wooden bits are chunky and quite easy to handle with little rubber pads included. Everything is sturdy - the way it should be for a flicking game. The rules are in German (you don’t really need them after one play), but a translation is available at

If you like flicking games, such as Carabande, there is a good chance that this one will be up your alley as well. If you don’t like dexterity games such as those, there’s nothing that this one will do to change your mind. For a mindless exercise in flicking skill, this game is quick, easy to set up, and plays in a very short time. It’s a neat thing to carry around with you when you only have a few minutes to both explain and play a game. Other than that, however, there’s not much here. Elchfest is a fun game, but the fun lasts a short time and can be repetitive after a game or so. I think of it as a novelty item, a game that catches the eye but grows old after a couple playings. Is it worth buying? - I’m not sure, I would get it if I saw it on sale but not worry about it otherwise. If I want a great flicking experience, I want to play Carabande or Crokinole. This is like the poor man’s version of those fantastic games.

Tom Vasel
“Real men play board games.”

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