Zappenduster – Leuchtmemo – Review

Theme and What is it?

No one likes to be deprived of their senses, in fact we don’t even like to be partially deprived. I remember as a kid, a teacher put grease on glasses to show all of the students, what it is like to have cataracts. It was not something I liked, but I will always remember that day, and that feeling.

Alexander has created that moment of discomfort, and expanded it, and gamified it, this is Zappenduster (Pitch Black).

Gameplay Mechanics

Largely a game of memory Zappenduster has two sided glow in the dark disks, that are NOT radioactive, as I was told at Essen Spiel. In fact this glow in the dark paint is food grade. 

The designer has taken the time to really make something special out of a game of memory. If you get the lightning, you are supposed to turn the lights on, and recharge the glow in the dark paint, and you must do both sides of the disk, so we rearranged disks once both sides were charged. We also used a spotlight to give them as much charge as possible. 

Initial Impressions

As I walked to their booth at Spiel, it had a pitch black tent. I thought it odd that someone was camping in the meddle of Spiel. Once I realized that game was dark based, it piqued my interest. 

Though I have to admit, I was not walking into a tent with strangers at a convention in Germany… 

Game Build Quality

As I jokingly said earlier, the glow in the dark is not nuclear. The designer have taken great lengths to ensure that it is food grade, so that kids could feasibly put the disks in their mouths, like they like to do. 

For this reason alone, I would said this game is painstakingly crafted to be at home with your family.

Artistic Direction

The art is simplistic in its form, as it is necessary, so you can see the ideas in the dark. This is precisely as it should be.

The box art is nice and halloween-y (a technical term).

Fun Factor

This will highly depend on who you play with. 

My 6 year old daughter loves this game, and is excited about the fact that she can win this game, with no help. It is after all, basically memory.

Adults, will likely see this as the first step in a more engaging game. Memory is fine by itself, it has stood the test of time, but what’s next?

Age Range & Weight

4+. I would likely agree. 

Memory is a simple game, with simple rules that even toddlers play. You can almost make out my daughter’s arm in the photo above, playing the game. She is 6, and adores the idea.

Conclusions

The only problem I had with the game mechanically is as you can see above, the paint seems to fade unevenly at times, which will make guessing easier once you know which disks do that.

I have to admit, I am fairly enamored with the idea of Zappenduster. I think the system is pretty cool as is. I also think the same idea, and transcend a simple memory game, for something that will be engaging to adults when they yearn for a more immersive game. Could a strategy game be designed that plays differently in the dark than in the light? Only time will tell.