Gen Con 2023 – HABA

As always, HABA was in full force displaying those kids titles that the powers that be decided to bring over to the US. In addition to a very cool mega-sized Animal Upon Animal setup there was an unusual breadth of games. There were the almost-a-game Wiggle Waggle Geese and The Duck Game and the more advanced puzzle-guessing Key series. What you may not have expected was Capt’N Pepe: Treasure Ahoy!, a legacy game aimed at ages 6+.

The Duck Game

The Duck Game is an activity for very young players. Each player starts with a playmat colored cutouts and flips up circles (they’re really duck hats) to see if they match spots on their play area. Meanwhile, some of the circles are star circles. When flipped they are attached to the central star field. The cooperative goal is to match up all 6 hats before all the stars are revealed. The “competitive” game is won by being the first to capture their own three hats.

Capt’n Pepe: Treasure Ahoy!

Legacy games hit a new low… in age limit with Capt’n Pepe: Treasure Ahoy! Rated at ages 6+, This cooperative game has players trying to solve the puzzle of rearranging colorful pirate tokens on top of their pirate ship in order to match the colors of the oars on the side. A handy little red ball indicates the active player, who is able to move one of the pirates a single space before passing the ball on to the next player. In the center of the ship is a sand timer that is ticking down time, the pirates must match their oars before time runs out.

At first, this is not much of a challenge. However, it is a legacy game. Later versions add in complexities such as boxes that must be moved out of the way of the pirate figures. One cannot have a legacy game without stickers and envelopes (cool little paper pirate chests in this case) and the game comes with several options to explore. In addition to following along in the 25 chapter storybook, there are rewards for excellent play. A typical game consists of three attempts at arranging the pirates, with “thumbs up” awards provided for each successful match. Depending on how many thumbs-up tokens are earned over the three games, players can earn even more reward stickers.

Finally, there is a nifty little gridded map and players will be able to add stickers to locations to see where they’ve “been.”

The Key: Royal Star Casino Burglary and The Key: Escape from Strongwall Prison

The Key series of games has players exchanging information while trying to hold some back in order to be the first player to sort out the mystery. Importantly, it isn’t the first player to solve the mystery but the player who manages it using the fewest clues. There were two on display, The Key: Royal Star Casino Burglary and The Key: Escape from Strongwall Prison. According to its blurb, the prison is a bit harder than previous ones.

Wiggle Waggle Geese

Wiggle Waggle Geese is another cooperative game of flipping items. A card is flipped showing a silly action (like shaking your tail or flapping your wings) and then everyone must do the action. Among the eight different types of actions are some fox cards, do all eight actions at least once before all three foxes are revealed in order to win the game.

Water Dragons

The next yellow box headed your way is Water Dragons, out in October. It has players trying to put together the body, head, and tail of a sea monster in a race. The body can “expand” or “shrink” (I think you just spread the parts “above the water” apart as play goes on. A shark can disrupt things by causing a sea monster to contract. This is good if you contract forward, bad if you contract backwards.

About Matt J Carlson

Dad, Gamer, Science Teacher, Youth Pastor... oh and I have green hair. To see me "in action" check out Dr. Carlson's Science Theater up on Youtube...
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