I enjoyed introducing my nieces and nephew to the game. They were so fascinated by the giant echidnas on the board.
Theme and What is it?
In Echidna Shuffle, players are shuffling 12 echidnas from leaf to leaf to pickup colored bugs and transport them to their colored stumps.
The first to deliver all three bugs of their color wins the game!
The board is double-sided; Forest and Snow. The Snow side appears slightly more difficult. Place the board in the middle of the table and randomly place the echidnas on the board (the kids and I did this together). Then, place the number board off to the side.
Each player selects a color and takes the three stumps, a pick-up marker, a number marker, and three bugs in that color. Choose a start player and then in reverse order, players choose a pick-up location and place their marker on this leaf. This must be an unoccupied leaf.
To finish setting up, players pass their three stumps to the left, and then all players place those stumps simultaneously. The stumps can go on any leaf (occupied or unoccupied), with the only exception that two stumps of the same color cannot be on the same leaf.
PLAYING THE GAME
On your turn, roll the dice and then place your number marker on the number board on the number you rolled. That was almost a tongue twister! Then, move echidnas on the board following the arrows. You HAVE to take all the moves. This is not a MAY.
Echidnas cannot be on the same leaf. If there is an echidna in the way, you must move it first. You can move ANY echidna even if it is holding a bug of another players color.
On your next turn, instead of rolling, you will move your number marker down on the number board to the next number and move echidnas that many leaves. The number board is to balance out the game. For example, if you rolled a six on the last turn, you only have a 1 for movement on the next turn. Then, on your next turn, you will roll again.
If an echidna lands on your pick-up location ON YOUR TURN, place a bug of your color on the echidna. When that echidna lands on a stump of your color on ANY players turn, the bug hops off onto the stump. This means it is possible to win the game on another player’s turn.
Continue playing this way until one player has all three bugs on their stumps and wins!
For a children’s game, Echidna Shuffle is a very large game. A lot of effort went into the quality of the game. I knew my nephews and nieces would be a fan instantly because of the Echidna miniatures.
Game Build Quality
As I mentioned, the publisher put a lot of effort into quality. All the components are top notch.
The board is thick, robust cardboard. I would say slightly above average. The tokens are all the same.
It comes with six color stumps and bugs that are solid plastic. They are not flimsy. The best feature is the giant echidna miniatures. A lot of thought went into the design and they are sturdy and just simply…. fantastic!
I think we all want quality components in our games but I think it is especially important in children’s games. They usually receive a lot more wear and tear and having something that holds up is good. I like that the publisher went to this effort on the components.
The art is mostly on the boards where it shows the giant leaves. There is a bit of art on the dice board. There is nothing to complain about nor rave about. The art serves its purpose.
The echidna design is perfect. They are just so cute.
This game is a blast and doesn’t take an extended length of time to play. I enjoyed introducing my nieces and nephew to the game. They were so fascinated by the giant echidnas on the board.
Adults will enjoy playing because the game is so cute and not your typical children’s game.
Age Range & Weight
The publisher advertises for age 6+. My 4-year-old niece could play fine with the variant rules which is rolling each turn instead of using the number board. This also can make the game go faster which was good because my nephew can get antsy sometimes.
I do not have any mixed feelings about this one. It is exceptional. I feel like it gains the attention of children and it also has replayability from the double-sided board down to the variant rules.
When we first started, I had to reiterate that the echidnas were not just for one player. They are “shared”. Once they knew that the bugs and stumps were “theirs”, they were ok.
Another positive is it was very easy for my 2-year-old niece to join in without playing. We gave her all the stumps and bugs that were not being used and shuffled them around. She then matched the colored bugs to their correct stumps. This was very educational for her learning her colors and she was happy because she felt apart!
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