FARM RESCUE is a 1-5 Player Cooperative 15 minute game for Player's of 4 years of age and upwards
It is published by Brain Games (Ice Cool, Ice Cool 2 and Pyramid of Pengqueen) and designed by Harris Tsagas and charmingly illustrated by Reinis Pëtersons. If you feel you are good at drawing, there are three blank tiles on which you can draw your own versions of three of the animals in the game - obviously you have to draw animals that are on the dice.
This is a great game to play with youngsters. The figures of the Wolf and the Farmer are gorgeous and made of fairly pliable plastic so that unless they are violently treated they will withstand the tiny hands of most kids. The dice are brilliant with each side's face having its result printed on it rather than being stuck on sticker-style, that means a lot to most family players as the kids cannot pick at the stickers. The 25 animal tiles are colourful and feature adorable animal characters, not quite caricatures, as lovable pets; these are generally safe from everything a kid can do to them except perhaps chew on them. The Game board is created from the random placement of those tiles within a four-piece framework. It is important to know that the tiles do not fit tightly into the frame and on your first setting up it is easy to make a mistake when positioning the tiles randomly.
The running track for the Farmer and the Wolf is created by the separating line/spacing on the 4 L-Shaped pieces of the framework. The Farmer begins on the space with the Blue Arrow and what looks like a large Dog-House but is, in fact, the Farmer's Barn (our 6 year old grandson asked why there was a dog-house there), the Wolf begins on the centre space of the North edge.
FARM RESCUE is first and foremost a memory game. All the tiles are randomly placed face-up in a 5x5 grid within the framework. In turn the players roll the two dice and honour the result. If the dice show a colour and an animal of the same colour, such as a Purple Pig, and that tile is face up on the board then it is turned face down. The object of the game is to get all the animals turned face down before the Wolf gets to the Farm Entrance - this being to the right of the Farmer's starting position.
Flipping a tile face down ends the player's turn. When a player rolls the dice and the result is not a face up animal then the animal tile must be face down. All of the players (everyone) then discusses amongst themselves where they believe that tile to be. Once they have decided the player on turn flips the chosen tile back up. If the selection is correct the Farmer figure is moved one space forward, if the choice is wrong the Wolf moves one space forward, either way the tile remains face down.
Two sides of the dice, one on each die, show a special icon, either a Barn or a Target-like symbol. These allow the player the possibility of selecting which tile to turn over. If it is a special icon and an animal then the player may flip any colour of that animal face down. If both special sides are showing the player can flip any tile face down or choose a face down tile and say what it is (before looking at it) and then flip it face up. If they are correct the Farmer moves on a space, if they are wrong then all the other players BOO them very loudly, and then the Wolf moves one space forward. If the Farmer reaches the same space as the Wolf the Farm is saved and the players have won, but if the Wolf reaches the Farm the players have lost and the Farm is at the Wolf's mercy.
There is an easier variant for very young players but as long as there is a 10 year old (or older) present the basic game is easy enough.
It's a fun game, we are fond of it, and thoroughly enjoy playing it with our grandkids who really like to play it. It doesn't take too long from start to end, so they aren't easily distracted by anything else. I found two places online selling FARM RESCUE for a little over £30.00. This is a little more than I thought it should be considering Brain-Games own ICE COOL and ICE COOL 2 are both less expensive and are more complex with stronger playability, but I realise the excellent pieces (cartoon style 3D figures) have added to production costs. I would recommend this if you are looking for a Christmas present for a games-playing family with young children, it would make an ideal joint present for a family with more than one young child.