Die Ritter von der Haselnuß
The Knights of the Hazelnut

Published by Gold Sieber
Copyright 1997 Simba Toys
Designed by Klaus Teuber
Illustrated by Gabriella Silveira
Reviewed by C.Soubeyrand, May 1997

15 - 20 DM
3 - 4 players
20 to 30 minutes

This game is classified as a game for children (at least 6 years old to play) but it should also interest adults. There is a small path in a forest with a line of eight hazel trees along it where you, the knight squirrel, may find either hazelnuts or thieves. In the upper left corner and in the bottom right corner there are two hiding places where collected hazelnuts can be stored. The aim of the game is to be the first to reach the coat of arms at the top of the scale of mark by collecting hazelnuts or shouting at thieves.

Over the last while, the squirrels have been mollested several times by three thieves, Max the Marten, Fritz the Fox and Leo the Lynx, while collecting hazelnuts. But they have decided to defend themselves and have made armor out of the fruits of the forest: helmets from nutshells and armor from fir cones. They have armed themselves under the name "Knights of the Hazelnut".

The game includes a gameboard, 4 pawns (knight squirrel), 1 special die, 4 score-keepers, and 56 cards (24 thieves and 32 hazelnuts). At the beginning of the game the cards are well shuffled and put in 8 stacks of 7 cards each on a hazel tree (face down). Each player puts his knight squirrel on an empty square and all the score markers are placed on the arrow square of the scale of mark. Then the game begins. Movement is determined by the special die showing one to three footprints.

When reaching an hazel tree, the player takes the first card at the top of the stack. If it is an hazelnut, he puts it in front of him. If it is one of the three thieves he tries to memorize it and he puts the card back on the stack. When another player draws the thief card, he should shout the name of the thief drawn on the card "It is Max the Marten" or "Leo the Lynx". If he is right, he moves his score marker two squares further, and the player who has drawn the card from the stack loses all the hazelnuts he has in front of him. But if he is wrong he moves his score marker two squares back.

Gathering hazelnuts is a risky business but it is the best way to advance. When a squirrel brings collected hazelnuts to the hiding place, he wins one square with one nut, three squares with two nuts, six squares with three nuts, and ten squares with four or more. The risk is to lose all the hazelnuts by meeting a thief already encountered by another player.

A few excellent hints given in the rules:

It is very hard to memorize the contents of all the squares, so it is easier to concentrate oneself on two or three squares where thieves are hidden and, when a player goes there, trap him. It's a good exercise to train the memory! The game is also finished when two of the stacks are empty. In that case, the player whose score marker is the furthest up the scale of mark wins. We usually end the game this way.

Pleasant game (strong gameboard, nice knight squirrel pawns) with a good mechanism, quickly learned but requiring good concentration. A challenge is to try to memorize more and more squares...

Enjoy, have fun!

The Game Cabinet - editor@gamecabinet.com - C.Soubeyrand