Designed by Kalivas Co.
Published by Chris Kalivas
Review by Ken Tidwell
Ages 8 and up
Every summer the same question comes up on rec.games.board: "What games can I play at the beach?" Chris Kalivas has a great answer. He has developed a series of beach games. Three of them are classics: Beach Chess, Beach Checkers, and Beach Backgammon. Each game comes self-contained in a two foot long canvas bag. The pieces assemble into a low table with the canvas board stretched between two dowels serving as the table top. Pawns are wooden and of good quality. I suspect the whole thing would shrug off a sizable dowsing just fine and is sturdy enough to survive several summers of play.
The fourth game in the series is Beach Maze, a game designed by Chris and previously published in a wooden tabletop/non-beach edition. He has done a good job of adding a light beach theme to the game in the new edition. On the surface the game looks like every other light (dare I say boring?) kids' game involving dice and froofy animals moving around a board. When we finally dug into it we discovered a game that was indeed light but very entertaining and definitely far from boring.
Each player starts out with four turtles lined up along the edge of their side of the board sitting atop the cracked egg that they have presumably recently exited. The turtles are trying to make their way to the center of the board and, from there, out to sea. Turtles move according to a die roll each turn. The board is a grid with the turtles moving both at the intersection of lines and onto an extra space lying between each intersection. These extra spaces may contain dune pieces which hinder the movement of the turtles. In order to move through a dune, a turtle must land on the dune piece with an exact roll. That dune piece can then be moved to any dune space on the board. As the dune pieces move around the players try to form mazes to hinder the progress of the opposing turtles.
The turtles start out surrounded by dune pieces, an arrangment that consumes all the dunes. To jump start things, both players start off with a move of one - they get to move one dune right off the bat.
Finally, the turtles are a tad aggressive. If you manage to drop one of your turtles onto one of your opponents turtles with an exact die roll then you can send that turtle back to any vacant cracked egg on the board.
Strategy is not deep - just about the right level for the kids or for a couple of beach goers that have been sipping Mai Tais! It is important to move your turtles such that you can make productive use of any die roll that might come up. If you have the upper hand on your opponent - say you have one of his turtles surrounded - then you may want to move a few dunes to surround a cracked egg. But beware! You may find one of your own turtles cooling his heals in the dune dungeon!
Beach Maze is good fun and the Beach series is a great idea! Check it out before your next trip to the shore. And don't forget the sun screen!
Kalivas Co. is located one block south of Main Street USA. You can also reach them at their head office at:
29 Norton St
Patchogue, NY 11772
Beach Games are $19.95 each US mail order (contact Chris for orders to rest of the world). Wholesale and distributor pricing is also available.
The Game Cabinet - email@example.com - Ken Tidwell