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WOO HOO! 


This is a 2-4 player children's game for ages 3+. It also has "advanced" rules for 5 years old and upwards.
It is published by BRAIN GAMES and is designed by Matthias Kaufmann.
This is a game about Gnomes sliding down an Elephant Slide and running off with the toys that have been left out in the garden.

In the box there are 20 pre-cut out tiles in 4 different colours, each showing a child's toy; such as a Rubber Duck, a Toy Aeroplane, a Ball, a Teddy Bear and a Dinosaur etc. These are printed on just one side which is one of the things I think needs a mention in a moment.

As well as the tiles there are 2 dice, the one with dots has 2 x 1s,  2 x 2s and 2 x 3s  and the other showing numbers is marked 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 and instead of the 6 it has two arrows (one pointing right the other pointing left). Finally there are 4 large wooden Meeples, nice solid pieces in full colour  Red, Blue, Yellow and Green.

Lastly there is the Elephant slide. This is made up of two sides of an elephant head with its trunk facing down, a joining piece that makes the sliding part, and 5 steps, each slightly larger than the previous. Fixing the slide together isn't difficult but it is a case of making a tight fit with average thickness cardboard sliding into slots cut out of similar cardboard. One can see that any rough handling, assembling or dismantling will destroy this, thus it is always necessary to have an adult around to watch the youngsters play (making sure they don't stamp on or thump their fists down on the slide) and to assemble/dismantle it when it is time to put it away - it cannot be put back in its box assembled.

  

This is bright and colourful and attractive to youngsters although I cannot see a 3 year old managing it without supervision. We played with a 4 year old and he had a whale (or an elephant) of a time but we still had to stop him being silly and bouncing the Meeples too hard up the steps.

The game has two dice as I said and in the 3-5 year old basic game only the die with the pips on is used. In turn the players roll the die and move their colour Gnome up the steps until it reaches the top where it dives off headfirst or bottom first just as kids do on the slides in playgrounds all over the world. Our four-year old grandson thought this was hilarious and he soon picked up the basics of the game. The Gnome slides down into the garden and collects one toy. If the Gnome lands on the same step as another Gnome then it walks on past by one step, and if you roll the two arrows then your Gnome swaps places with a Gnother Gnome; and that is just about the rules in a Gnutshell!

 
See the Green Gnome Slide from Top to Garden

Then there are the advanced rules. These bring the other die into play and change the collecting of the toys and the movement of the Gnomes (the English translation of the rules also makes no sense when explaining the use of the two dice but we will address that in the same moment as the previously mentioned moment). 

The players roll Both dice and then use only the dice with numbers on for moving their Gnomes. If they roll a Zero their Gnome doesn't move and if they land on the same step as another Gnome they send that Gnome down one step, which may in a 3 and 4 player game have a Gnock on effect. Also when their Gnome slides into the garden the player rolls the die with pips again (no idea why they rolled it in the first place) and that is the number of toys they pick up. The first to collect all five of the same colour wins, otherwise it is the same rule as in the basic game where the player with the highest number of toys when the garden is cleared is the winner. In a 2 player game it is fairly easy to collect Five toys of the same colour.

  
As you can see, the assembled Elephant Slide doesn't quite fit into the box.

Now for those promised "moments":

1. The tiles being printed one side. This makes me think that originally the designer wanted the tiles to be face down in the garden so that there was an element of memory (elephant of memory ?) in the game - by having to remember what shape each toy was. Whether the designer did think of this or not it doesn't matter as I have just given you another idea on how to change the game for slightly older kids (ie those 5 year olds an upwards).  For example, and as already mentioned, in a 2 player game it is fairly easy to collect Five toys of the same colour, but not if you have to choose them when they are face down.

2. The publishers missed a trick by not providing a sheet of stickers so that the Meeples could have pictures of Gnomes stuck on them. I know it's for 3 year olds and up but there are plenty of kids toys that have laminated stickers on their wooden pieces and they would look a lot better and more fun for the kids.

3. In the Advanced game when you roll the two dice you move as the rules state for the "special" dice and when your Gnome slides down you use the result of the other die (with the pips) to determine how many toys are collected. It now makes sense to roll both dice on your turn.

The Gnomes at GGO are renown for taking simple children's games and turning them into hard core strategy games but not in the case of WOO HOO! This is strictly a game for kids. Play it a couple of times through in the morning for about 15 minutes, put it away and play it again for another 15 minutes at night. Do that once or twice a week and your youngsters will think you are even greater Parents, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles etc than they already do.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015