Translation by Mike Schloth and Alan R. Moon



Give each player the clay of one color, a pad of paper, a pencil, and three Curse Tokens .

Place all the pawns on the Elf Space with the letters E & K. Place ail the Cones on the space marked 'Start' on the Scoring Track (the track that runs around three sides of the board). Place all the Tokens on space '12' of the Jewel Scale.

If there are tour players, each player must make two objects from his clay. If there are three players, each player must make three objects. All objects are placed in the middle of the board. Players must then write down what their objects are and place these pieces of paper under the board. Each object must be a single word.

Sequence of Play

Each player rolls the die and the player with the highest roll goes first. Play then proceeds clockwise around the table, each player taking one turn at a time in order.

During his turn, a player may move in one of two possible ways.

  1. He can simply roll the die and move his Pawn that number of spaces.

  2. He can move his Pawn a specific number of spaces without rolling the die by spending Jewels, recording this expenditure by moving his Token down the Jewel Scale. A player may never spend more Jewels than he has, and a player who has no Jewels must roll the die to move.

There are five different types of spaces on the board.

  1. Stairs - You receive a Jewel, recording this by moving your Token up the Jewel Scale.

  2. Dragon - Every other player moves his Cone forward one space on the Scoring Track.

  3. Ghosts - Every other player moves his Cone forward two spaces on the Scoring Track.

  4. Elf - You may ask one opponent for one letter of one of his objects. The opponent must give you a letter for that specific object, and the letter may not be one he has already given you. Exception: If a word has two (or more) of the same letter, this letter may be given that number of times. The opponent writes the letter down and shows it to you secretly.

  5. ? - You may ask two rounds of questions about opponents objects. During the first round you can ask any player any question about one of his objects. The opponent must answer YES, NO, POSSIBLY, or I DON'T KNOW, and must answer truthfully. You may continue to ask questions about this same object or any other objects until you get a NO answer. You can, however, end your first round of questions at any time, even if you have not gotten a NO answer. During the second round, you may guess one object by writing it down and showing it to the opponent secretly. The opponent must tell you if you are right or not by saying YES or NO. you do not necessarily have to guess an object about which you were asking questions.


Whenever you guess an object correctly, you stick an arrow in the object. It you guessed wrong, no action is taken. You may never guess your own objects!

If you are the first player to guess an object, you score 5 points. If you are the second player to guess an object, you score 3 points.

The opponent who made the guessed object also scores points. Count all the arrows in all the objects on the board (including the one just placed). If there are 1-2 arrows, the opponent scores -2 points. If there are 3-4 arrows, he scores -1 point. If there are 5-6 arrows, he scores 1 point. If there are 7-9 arrows, he scores 2 points. If there are 10 arrows, he scores 1 point. It there are 11-12 arrows, he scores -1 point. If there are 13 arrows, he scores -2 points.

Scores are recorded by moving the player's Cones forward or back on the Scoring Track.

Curse Tokens

Curse tokens allow you to do one of two things. 1) You may spend one to ask a player for a letter (as if you were on an Elf Space. 2) You may guess an object.

You may use Curse Tokens at any time during the game, except when another plaster declares he has finished his first round of questions on a ? space and is about to guess an object during the second round. You may use more than one Curse Token at a time.

Game End

The game can end in one of two ways.

  1. If one player's Cone reaches the Ziel space, he is the winner.

  2. If the 13th arrow is placed, the game also ends. In this case, players score points for each of their objects which do not have two arrows in them. A player scores -5 points for each object with no arrows in it, and -2 points for each object with one arrow in it. The player closest to the Ziel space wins.

The pieces of paper under the board are revealed. If any player has given a false letter or a wrong answer, don't play with him again.

Ken's Notes

At Alan's urging we bought a copy of Barbarossa while we were at Essen. After several phone calls and a lot of cajoling, he finally sent us these rules. And the game didn't really work. It certainly wasn't worthy of Alan's strong recommendations. So I called him, again. "Oh," says he, "didn't I mention the Blob Rules?"

The Blob Rules ala Moon

The prinicpal problem the basic game has is that it encourages you to make absolutely unrecognizable sculptures. If anyone screws up and actually makes a recognizable sculpture then you'll get to scoot ahead while they're stumped by your lump. The 13th arrow rule is meant to penalize sculptures that are too difficult or too easy but I have yet to play a game where the 13th arrow became lodged in a sculpture before someone reached Ziel. Even if everyone is equally clueless about the identity of the offered sculptures, eventually the ghost and dragon spaces will put someone on the Ziel space and, mercifully, end the game.

The Blob Rules patch up this hole in the game.

No Blobs

Sculptures must have some semi-recognizable and distinguishing featurs. Spheres, cubes, or other featureless lumps of clay that could be one of hundreds of objects that have these generic shapes are not allowed.

A Blob is in the Eye of the Beholder

Start a spare blob of clay on the Ziel space. Whoever starts the game is responsible for moving the blob one space backwards along the outside track at the start of each of their turns. When the blob meets or passes the first player token, move each player's token back two spaces for each of their sculptures that has no arrows in it.

This rule more or less implements the game mechanics that the 13th arrow rule attempted. Folks that build wildly obscure sculptures will be pushed back and have a harder time finishing. Folks that build pushover sculpture that actually look like what they're supposed to be have a built in punishment: the other players scoot ahead.

Two Wrongs, etc.

Alan also mentioned that they allow two NO responses before making a guess on a question mark space. This would speed up the game quite a bit but we've never tried it. We enjoy some amount of floundering around trying to guess what the sculptures are.


Beware of sculptures with a built-in cultural bias. During one game my friend, Danfuzz, built a pretty good sculpture of a calzone and it completely stumped me. We didn't have calzone in Texas when I was growing up and I still don't eat them out here. I did guess fried pie, taco, and even pot sticker but calzone never occurred to me.

If you stump the whole crowd then the creeping blob will come for you and rob you of certain victory!

Most players stick to concrete nouns but sculptures that represent more abstract concepts can be fun. I've had reasonable success with a scream and greed, among others. Usually one player will look at them and get it immediately. The other two players spend the rest of the game trying to figure it out and getting stuck on the literal representation. Great fun!

Alan likes to stick to a theme for both of his sculptures. This can be fun and if a player gets one then they have a built-in clue about the other. This is a good way to make sure that you don't get stuck with an empty sculpture without making your sculptures pushovers.

The Game Cabinet - - Ken Tidwell