Dexterity games are tough with kids. They like the chunky bits and the whole "stack stuff and watch it fall over" aspect -- but younger kids just do not have the proper fine motor skills to compete with adults successfully. The oddly (but correctly) named Gulo Gulo is an exception to that rule... a dexterity game in which the smaller the hand, the better the player. That's right: the younger kids have an advantage here. (By the way, "gulo" is the genus name for wolverine -- told you it was correctly named.)
Rescuing the Baby Gulo
Seems the wolverines are miffed that the swamp vulture has kidnapped the baby gulo... so, in order to obtain his release, they begin stealing eggs from his nest. (Does this sound like a weird Jack Bauer-ish hallucination... or have I just been watching too much 24
?) The first player to find the gulo and steal a purple egg wins the game.
The board is made up of a number of hefty cardboard hexes which are shuffled and placed face down. At the center of the table sits a wooden bowl filled with polished wooden eggs and the Egg Alarm, a thin stick with a bulbous egg-shaped weight on the top of it. The Egg Alarm is placed in the middle of the bowl of eggs.
In turn, players flip over tiles and attempt to steal the matching egg color. (There's actually more to it than that -- but this isn't a detailed review.) You must point out the egg you are attempting to steal and then do so, one-handed, without knocking other eggs out of the nest or allowing the Egg Alarm to hit the table.
Success moves you forward, failure moves you back. The baby gulo tile is mixed into the final six tiles, so you're working to get there so you can take a crack at the baby first.
Why Gulo Gulo is Good for Small Children
The game works with smaller kids (and mixed age groups) for a trio of reasons:
- There are not a lot of difficult decisions. It's pretty easy to figure out your best move, even for younger kids.
- The penalty for failure is not too severe. In fact, the layout of the tiles can make it very easy to catch up.
- The tiny fingers of small kids have a much easier time getting out the eggs than adult-sized fingers.
I've seen kids as young as 3 play this game, though I'd probably recommend 4-and-up due to the "please don't bump the table" factor.
Gulo Gulo is for 2 to 6 players, ages 5 and up. It was designed by Hans Raggan, Jurgen P. Granau, and Wolfgang Kramer, and published by Rio Grande Games