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Enchanted Forest

Possibly one of the meanest children's games ever made - but fun!

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating

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Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest

Image courtesy of Ravensburger
Oooo, kids! Look at the cute plastic trees and all the fairy tale story art. What a sweet game...

Well, no. It's not. Enchanted Forest is possibly one of the meanest children's games ever made -- and, boy howdy, is it fun to play! (If you and your children can handle the meanness, I would give Enchanted Forest four stars rather than three.)

Enchanted Forest Looks Simple... But It's Not

The basic idea is simple enough -- an item from the tales (Puss in Boots' boot, Sleeping Beauty's spindle, etc.) must be located. You can tell which one to seek by the face-up card on the castle (chosen randomly at the beginning of the game).

Players roll two dice and maneuver their "knights" (pawns) in order to peer beneath the plastic trees and find the object of their quest. When they do, they race to the castle to tell the king where it is.

Of course, it's not that simple. (It never is, is it?) If you roll doubles, you can change the top card at the castle, magically transport yourself halfway across the board, or even jump to a tree. Better yet, if you finish either part of your move on top of another player, you send them back to the village (start space).

So, by now the savvier members of my reading audience have figured it out: Enchanted Forest is an evil combination of Aggravation and a memory game. Stomping on other players is an integral part of the fun!

Two Skills to Succeed at Enchanted Forest

To succeed at Enchanted Forest you need two basic skills:

(1) Memory. There are 13 trees, and you'll need to remember all of them that you can without getting to pick the order you see them in.

(2) Ability to juggle small numbers. Each turn, you get two "turns" -- each die is a separate movement. Playing quickly depends on your personal ability to figure out the best possible way to use your die rolls.

It's the second of these skills that make this game almost unplayable with younger kids -- they can do the memory part (in fact, they're downright scary how good they are at the memory part). But they have great difficulty figuring out the movement. I'd set the minimum age for Enchanted Forest at seven.

There are some simplified rules available on BoardGameGeek.com for younger kids -- and one crazy group who has created rules to make the game harder. (These people scare me, by the way.)

Details

Enchanted Forest is for 2 to 6 players, ages 6 and up. It was designed by Alex Randolph and Michael Matschoss, and published by Ravensburger.

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