Bockige Esel (Awkward Donkey)

An entertaining family game for 2 - 6 players from 10 years upwards.

Author: Tom Schoeps, Graphics: FAW ZÅrich, Translation: J Webley

Game Length: 35 - 60 minutes.

Every year, the oranges ripen. In our tiny village all the farmers have been hard at work, harvesting the crop. Then, with the aid of their donkeys, they bring the sacks of oranges to market. The way to the market though is long, stony and bumpy, so it is no surprise that the donkey, struggling along under the hot sun, stomach rumbling with hunger, gets a bit awkward. A mouthful of thistles along the way will do wonders for his temper. The farmer however wants to hurry along, because the first to the market will get the best price. But too much haste may mean losing the load.



The donkey markers should be pressed out from the card and mounted on the base of their own colour. The board is put down in the middle of the table. The players each choose a colour and take the donkey figure, the donkey card and the set of tactic cards in that colour. The tactic cards are laid out face up in front of the player. For each donkey the player puts four orange sacks, (orange stones), and four sacks of fodder, (green stones), onto the donkey card. The rest of the fodder stones and the dice are put down next to the board. Any unwanted donkeys and cards are returned to the box.

The Game


The players decide who starts. Play proceeds in a clockwise direction. All donkeys start in the village square and move 5 spaces forward in their first turn. This may however be modified by using a tactic card, (see section "Tactic Cards"). In the second, and in all subsequent rounds, the leading donkey moves first and subsequent moves are made in order of precedence. If two donkeys have moved an equal number of spaces, then the donkey furthest to the right moves first. The order of turn alters therefore as the game proceeds and positions change.

If donkeys have taken different routes, it may be necessary to count back to the preceeding junction in order to ascertain which donkey has travelled furthest. Again, if they have both moved the same number of spaces, then the one furthest to the right,(when viewed from the direction of travel), moves first.

Types of Movement

There are two possible modes of movement.

Forward Movement

Every move forwards saps the strength of the donkey. For every move forwards, one fodder marker (green stone) must be removed from the donkey card and returned to the pile on the side of the board. How far a donkey moves forward is shown by the dice adjacent to the starting square for that turn. for example, if the donkey is on a space next to a die showing 5 then the donkey moves 5 spaces forward,(subject to the play of any tactic cards).

Backward Movement

In order to obtain more fodder markers, and so move forwards again, the donkey must move one space backwards. For every move backwards one green stone is taken from the reserve pile and added to the store on the donkey card. Donkeys may move backwards as often as they like, but only by one space, and so one stone per round. Movement must be directly backwards, a change of lane during a backwards move is not allowed. Donkeys may not return to the village.

Rules of Movement

Donkeys must move either forwards or backwards every turn. Donkeys may not leap over other donkeys, only one donkey per space. In moving forward, a donkey may move straight ahead or diagonally as long as the space in front is empty, this allows overtaking. If it is not possible for a donkey to move by it's full allowance of spaces then, it must move forward as far as possible. The unused moves are ignored. A curtailed move still costs one fodder marker. If a donkey whose turn it is cannot move either forward or backwards, then it loses its turn. Players should attempt to block their opponents, while moving as far forward themselves as possible.

Special Spaces

Orange Spaces

The first player to reach an orange space rolls a die and places it in the orange box to the side of the space. The score on the die is the amount of forward movement allowed from that space, and remains the same for all players who subsequently land on the space. If the die roll is a six, then the donkey bucks into the air and loses a sack of oranges, ie one orange stone is removed from the donkey card and replaced in the box. Any other donkeys who land on that space lose an orange stone in the same way.

Purple Spaces

Any donkey ending its turn on a purple space bucks into the air and loses an orange sack in the same way as above.

Tactic Cards

Each player receives 5 tactic cards at the beginning of the game, with which he can help his donkey along its way. Only one card may be played per turn. It is shown before the donkey moves, and after the move, is replaced in the box. By the time that the donkey reaches the market, the player should have used all his tactic cards, for every tactic card which he still has in his hand, he loses 5 points from his score.

Plus Cards, (+1 and +3)

A move can be extended by one or three spaces. The plus cards can only be used with a forward movement. The extended move still only costs one fodder marker.

Minus card (-1)

This card allows a move to be reduced by one, so enabling the donkey to finish its turn on a space which will allow a better move in the next turn. It may only be used with a forward movement, and the move costs one green stone as usual.

Double move card, (2x)

This card allows a donkey a second move in the same turn. Each move costs a green stone as per usual. Backwards moves may also be doubled, or a backwards move may be combined with a forward move.

Reroll die (dice card)

This card may be used to reroll one of the dice by an orange space. If the new dice roll is a 6 then the donkey loses an orange sack as normal, but no more than one orange sack may be lost per round. This card may also be discarded along the way, but must be the only tactic card plyed in that round.

Game End

When a donkey reaches the market its orange sacks are placed into the highest scoring free circles. Thus the first donkey to arrive at the market puts his sacks onto the 24, 23 22 and 21 circles providing that he has lost no sacks. The next donkey would then fill the 20, 19, 18 and 17 circles and so on. The total score for each donkey is noted, along with any minus points for unplayed tactic cards. If all 6 players get 4 sacks each to the market then there are no spaces for the last two sacks. They have gone off in the sun and cannot be sold.

The player with the highest total score wins the game.

Recommendations for games with 2 or 3 players

The game plays best with more donkeys. If there are only 2 or 3 players, then each player should take two donkeys. The donkey cards, tactic cards and stones for the two donkeys should be kept strictly apart from one another.

Distributed by The Sumo Rules Bank.

The Game Cabinet - - Ken Tidwell