Spiel des Jahres Quest/Challenge/Tournament/Project*…

Last night we played the second game in the Spiel des Jahres (I’m going to abbreviate this to SdJ from now on folks) quest*.  We decided during the last game that we’d play the oldest game that we have, and very randomly Mr.P’s family have the very first winner from 1979 – Hare and Tortoise.

The aim of the game is to finish first, but to be able to finish you must have got rid of your lettuces and have fewer than 10 carrots for the winner. It took a little while to go through the rules as none of us had played this before and there are different instructions/rules for each of the different squares you can land on.

Carrots are the currency used to move along the board.  You can choose how many spaces to move, as long as you have enough carrots to pay.  Landing on one of the four lettuce squares on the board allows you to get rid of a lettuce (although it’s not quite as straightforward as that), whilst landing on a carrot square gets you 10 carrots.  There are also squares with numbers on, and if at the start of your turn the number you’re on corresponds to your position in the race then you receive 10 times that position in carrots, so if you’re in 3rd and on a square with 3 on you’d get 30 carrots.  Simples.

The other two types of square are hares and tortoises.  You can only move backwards to a tortoise square, with each step back gaining you 10 carrots.  For the hare squares, you roll a dice and add your current position to the dice roll and then do whatever it says on the card according to the roll +position number.  For example, getting a 7 gives you a free turn but an 8 meant you had to give up half your carrots.

I have to say I didn’t fully listen to all the instructions and I didn’t attempt to plan out my strategy at all; I just winged it and if we’d have played beyond the winner I think I’d have come last.  There were two tactics applied in the game though; hanging back and collecting a lot of carrots or speeding ahead.  The hanging back strategy worked for Mr.P who was able to get rid of his lettuces – this did seem like a big issue for most of us due to the limited number of opportunities to do this – and finish with few enough carrots in hand – therefore taking a second win in the quest.

We rated the game using our newly devised scoring system which is as follows:

  • Strategic elements – out of 15
  • Repeatability – out of 15
  • Duration of play – out of 5
  • Pick up and playability** – out of 5
  • Lack of ambiguity in rules – out of 5
  • Build quality/aesthetics – out of 5
  • Lack of sensitivity to luck – out of 5

** this was added on the evening as the original system was out of 50 but it’s now out of 55.  Although, I think there was concern about the lack of granularity available in some of the scoring categories so we might double up the “out of” ranges to allow for greater separation.

But, back to the point, Hare and Tortoise scored 38 out of 55 – so 69%.


This all got replaced again and the new system is now out of 80 and the final breakdown of the scores  went like this:

Hare and Tortoise Scores

This was quite controversial as Mr.J certainly did not think it warranted such a high score but Mr.P and Mr.S championed this as a fine exaample and worthy SdJ winner.  We also scored Enchanted Forest and it came out with a score of 30 out of 55 – which equates to just 55%. and re-did this one under the new system, scores here.  Mrs.P was a bit disappointed with this score so perhaps if we revisit the system it might fair a little bit better.  Once it’s all decided I’m going to create a new page on here which lists allm the games and give s abreakdown of their scores so watch this space…

Tonight we’re watching the film Senna.  We missed it when it was out in cinemas and it’s been out on DVD for a while but it’s been tricky to organise a date so that Mr.P could watch it too.  I have high expectations and anticipate that I’ll be crying for a large part of it too.

* Finally, there is some debate as to what we are calling this whole shebang. I prefer quest but Mr.J is calling it a challenge, Mrs.P a tournament and Mr.S a Project.  I’m sticking with quest on here but thought I’d be nice for once and incorporate all the options in the title!



    1. I’m not ashamed at all of my geekery. I think quests and spreadsheets go together hand in hand. Google quest and spreadsheet together and you will be inundated with geeky stuff that seems to mostly relate to games. Admittedly I think they’re RPGs and other computer games but I think that’s further proof of the compatibility of quests and spreadsheets.

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