Die Maulwurf Company
Mole in the Hole

Published by Ravensubrger 1995
Designed by Virginia Charves and Bertram Kaes
Reviewed by C.Soubeyrand, May 1997

45 - 50 DM / $30
2 - 4 players
about 30 minutes

A fierce competition between mole teams to dig tunnels and be the first to reach the golden shovel. The gameboard is rather special: it is composed of five boards stacked one on top of the other. The first one shows the grass with 13 molehills. The second, the third and the fourth represent various types of earth. The last one is the goal: the golden shovel. Each board has six possible positions so the complete gameboard is hardly ever the same (6x6x6x6 = 1296 combinations allowed).

Each player has a team of moles - 10 with two players, 7 with three players and six with four players. The pawns are nicely carved tiny moles with a cap, a long shirt and of course a pair of goggles!

The movements are determined by a set of discs with the values 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, and 4. Each player takes a set in their color. The discs are turned face down, well shuffled and for each move a disc is chosen by the player. When all the discs have been used they are turned down and shuffled, again.

At the beginning of the game, the players place their moles one by one on the grassy board. It is forbidden to put moles in the holes. Once all the moles are on the board, the game begins. Each player moves one of their moles, according to the number on the disc and following a certain number of rules: move in a straight line, reach a free square, never jump over a colleague or an opponent mole. The goal is to place as many moles as possible in the holes, because when all the holes on a board are occupied, it is removed with all the moles on top of it! So the players have fewer and fewer moles to play as the proceeds. A player without moles is eliminated. There are 13 holes on the first board, 8 on the second, just three on the third and only one on the fourth.

Bigger squares (not available on the first board) give players a second move for one of their moles. For a harder game, it is possible to consider the big squares and the holes as normal squares, so moles are allowed to jump over them.

Each move is mandatory, so it may happen that a player has to move one of his moles which is already in a hole. This is somewhat frustrating. Exception to this rule : if all the moles of a player are in holes, he does not have to play anymore until the board is removed.

The game material is pleasant, thick boards and discs, nice pawns with a rather original gameboard. So after a first game you will enjoy playing again with a different position of the boards. The placement of the moles at the beginning is important; you have to take care, otherwise some players may quickly occupy the holes once the move phase has started. Usually, we prefer to play without allowing jumps above the holes. The move with the discs is interesting because when all the discs have nearly been used for a player, it gives a good idea of what his next move may be.

The game can be easily played with young children.

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