Gently flick stones to make a path for your moose to traverse the river. Just be careful where you send the stones, or you'll end up with a wet moose.
Time: 15 Minutes
Designer: Hermann Huber
Publisher: Mayfair Games
Components: Two wooden riverbank squares (with anti-slip padding), six wooden stepping stones, and two large wooden moose.
Each player takes one color of riverbank and moose, along with three stones. The riverbanks are placed across from each other on a flat surface, roughly 20 inches apart. Each player places their moose atop their riverbank square, facing the opposing riverbank. Three stepping stones are placed to the right of each riverbank, roughly a thumbnail-width apart.
On your turn, you may flick two stones and move your moose. Stones must be flicked with your finger, as you try to get them close enough for your moose to use as stepping stones. You can move your moose as many times as you like during your turn, before or after flicking either stone. When moving the moose, you must always place it such that the moose's back legs are resting on the same spot its front legs were just resting on. This spot can be either a stone, or a riverbank.
If a moose touches the water (playing surface), either due to being knocked off a stone, or simply because someone attempting to move a moose misjudged the distance, a "Wet Moose" is declared. The moose is returned to its last position, the player's turn is immediately over, and the other player gets to flick three stones instead of two.
After many flicked stones and short moose steps, the first player to move their moose onto the opposing riverbank wins the game.
NOTE: This is only a brief summary, with some details omitted.
The Good And Bad
High-quality wooden components. The riverbanks are very solid, with little pads to prevent them from sliding around. The stepping-stones slide along the table easily enough. And the wooden moose are very attractive. I'd go so far as to say the moose may be the main draw of the game, large and chunky satisfying wooden moose that are a joy to play with.
It's something different. In the flat square box that you might expect to hold a complex abstract game, or some strategic card game, you instead get a ridiculous little dexterity game about flicking stones. As an addition to a two-player game shelf, it's a light change of pace from everything else there, and a game that you can play with pretty much anyone.
Silly and fun. You're taking turns flicking stones around, and occasionally shouting "Wet Moose,!, as you play with this oversized wooden moose. The whole game is ridiculous.
I appreciated the attention to detail in the rulebook. It includes a note explaining why the game is named "Elk Fest" but stars two moose.
There's not much here. Aside from the two lovely moose pieces, you're basically getting two starting squares and six little flicky stones. It seems like the kind of game that doesn't necessarily merit a whole box. Maybe just a bag.
No depth to explore. This is a game where you take turns flicking things. It may remind you of games played over a lunchtable in elementary school, flicking a paper triangle back and forth, or flicking pennies between each other. But chances are that if you are no longer in school, after a few plays you won't really have any desire to play again.
Elk Fest is a silly game with some novelty value. The few, and sturdy, wooden pieces make this a game you could easily travel with, although you would need a table to play. Most adults will probably tire of the gameplay after a few runs through, but this seems likely to be fun longer for young children.