Haba introduces a bunch of new games coming in 2018, and a new line of games for kids designed to be more active than your typical board games.
First up we have Iquazu from designer Michael Feldkötter and artist Stephanie Böhm. This fantasy game has players carefully managing a hand of cards and trying to hide precious gemstones in a grid behind a waterfall, with the help of the water dragon, Silon. As players place the gems, they score for majorities in rows and columns, and earn tokens that give them bonus actions. Once all the columns are filled a final scoring takes place and the player with the most points wins.
Karuba was published in 2015, and is a well-regarded tile-laying game from Rüdiger Dorn that has 2-4 players (though if you own multiple copies of the game, more can play) simultaneously building paths using the same tiles, racing to make a network on which their adventurers can reach the temples and earn points. In 2017, it gets not one, but two spin-off titles. Karuba: The Card Game has the 2-6 players simultaneously picking and revealing 2 cards from their hand, with whomever plays the cards with the lowest sum losing one of those cards, then using the cards to build a network of paths to connect their adventurers and temples, collecting points and treasures along the way. Karuba Junior is a cooperative family game of tile-laying for 1-4 players in which you and your fellow adventurers race to find the treasures and avoid the tigers before pirates reach the island and nab them out from under you.
Conex is an interesting looking card game for 2-4 players. The cards show a base color, and also have small corners and edges of other colors overlapping onto themselves. Players attempt to overlap those corners with matching cards from their hands, building out a seemingly random mish-mash tableau of cards overlapping at odd angles, all the while carefully planning ahead as they try to earn the most points. The game plays in about 20 minutes and the way the cards are laid appears to be a unique mechanism from designer Prospero Hall.
King of the Dice (how did it take until 2017 for a game with this name to be announced?) pits the players as monarchs in a quest to attract the most desirable citizens to their realms. Each turn they roll dice up to three times, trying to show the potential inhabitants they they have the requirements the inhabitants need to thrive. Their are special cards that can provide you with benefits, but also may hide dragons and village idiots that can bring your kingdom low. This game of press-your-luck dice-rolling comes from designer Nils Nilsson and artist Gus Batts, and takes about 30 minutes to play.
Gold Rush Fever hits the players in the real-time action/party game Boom, Bang, Gold from designer Alexandre Emerit. 2-4 players compete to collect gold nuggets by simultaneously tossing sticks of dynamite (well, wooden facsimiles thereof, at least) into the mine (the game box) in an attempt to blast the gold face-up. They then have one minute and one hand to grab the face-up tiles and put them on their shelf. If they find a special tile (a bat, rat, snake, or ghost) they call “Watch Out!” and other players must put their had on their head and cry out “Help!”. When no face up tile remain, the round ends. There are also special action tiles that give special abilities to players who use them. Twelve rounds of frantic chaos and whoever has collected the most gold wins.
Now we get to Haba’s bread-and-butter, great kids games. My Very First Games: Tidy Up is for 1-3 kids aged 2 and up. It is a cooperative game where the players help Little Tomcat Tiptop put all his toys in the right places so his room is neat and tidy. The game also has matching and competitive modes.
Then we have five new games for kids 3-4 and up. Sleepy Princess: Pile Up (aka, The Princess and the Pea) is for 1-4 kids of at least 3 years old. The players help the Princess stack her bed with many pillows, mattresses, and blankets. Beneath this fluffy menagerie lies the hidden wooden pea. Remove the pieces without falling to win. The game comes with a copy of the classic tale as well. Ben’s Building Site: Dominoes has 2-6 kids aged 3 and up placing cards with 2 images on them end-to-end, matching the symbols at each end to tidy up the worksite and get rid of their cards first. It’s dominoes with pictures and cards to make it easier for kids to play, and a cute theme they should enjoy. Dragon Rapid Fire: Quartets is a card game for 2-6 players of 4 years or more in which they strive to collect 4 matching cards and earn fire crystals. Whoever has the most fire crystals wins. Game play is similar to Go Fish and the card art and components are charming. Wild Animals: Schnipp Schnapp is a speed game where players try to be first to slap down the crocodile when two of the same animal meet at the watering hole. It adds a cute theme and artwork to the classic Schnipp Schnapp game that is popular with kids and parents in Europe. Finderfox for 2-4 kids 4 and up is memory game where you roll a die to move the Felix Finderfox pawn and you have to guess who is hiding behind the bush you arrive at. Good memory and good luck will help you win.
Haba also introduces three new games for kids 5 and up. In The Hearmees the key to the game is the “Clawky-Talky”, a textured pad that the supervisor (each player takes turns being the supervisor) use a stylus on to try to communicate to the other players which tiles are needed to be built this round. Listen carefully and try to deduce what is being drawn so your building builds fastest, because whoever gets done first wins. Dragon’s Breath has up to 4 kids take on the role of adolescent dragons enlisting the aid of Father Dragon and working to melt a column of ice and extract the precious stones encased within. The players start the game by making a structure of “ice rings” filled with precious stones in the middle of the board, as rings are removed by the father dragon, the stones are freed. Players choose each round which stones they will get, trying to predict which will score best each round. Whoever collects the most stones wins. In Floppy Ears you strive to play out all of your floppy ear cards before the others do, but you can only play cards that match the ones hanging on your ears, and you have to remember which colors those are and play them at the right time.
Then we have Dino World for kids six and up. This dexterity game has 2-4 kids trying to capture the most dinosaur cards by pushing new predators from the top of the box onto the prey below. Aim carefully, and make sure you match the symbols so that you go after the right prey! The game has 52 dinosaur cards in 5 different sizes.
Haba is also introducing a new line of active games for young children (the first four games are designed for kids around 4-5 years old, and older), called Active Kids. These games integrate traditional board games ideas like Set Collection and Die Rolling with physical activities that encourage more movement and a less sedentary lifestyle. The line begins with four new titles: Dog Rallye: Active Kids, Hampeltiere: Active Kids, Rhino Hero Action: Active Kids, and Socken zocken: Active Kids.
Dog Rallye plays in about 15 minutes and has a tube-shaped bone that the 2-4 players stuff with treats and roll on the floor. Players have to move around on all fours, like a puppy, scrambling to pick up the treats that come out of the sides of the toy bone, then they sort them into the matching colored holes on their lawn section of the board. The first player to get the right doggie treats collected wins.
Hampeltiere gets the kids out of their chairs to act out animals in funny situations. Each round, a different player acts as judge, and flips over a card, while the other players try to copy the movement of the animal on the card. The judge decides who correctly did it first, with that player moving their scoring marker one space. When one players makes it all the way around the track, they win the game. The game should take about 10 minutes to play.
Rhino Hero Action follows on the popular Rhino Hero and Rhino Hero: Super Battle stacking games. In this 10-15 minute game, the Spider Monkeys are collecting slime balls to throw at the city residents, but the heroes are trying to take them out of the city to keep it safe. 2-4 players take turns with each being the Hero while the others play the Spider Monkey Gang. The Hero has to collect their wits, skill, and courage, to gather and move more and more slime balls out of the city each round, while the Spider Monkey Gang tries to prevent the hero from making a complete circuit.
And last in the line (for now), Socken Zocken has the 2-4 players running about in their socks for 10-15 minutes, dropping off one sock in each laundry basket. Those baskets have directions that tell them which basket to run to next. Once they have dropped off all their socks, they have to return to the box in the center and put their hand on the sock monster to claim the victory.