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OUTFOX the FOX  

A hand and eye coordination game for 5 year olds and older from Inka & Markus Brand and published by Pegasus Spiele.
This kid's game has a story-book rules booklet with fun illustrations throughout the book and the game components by Anne Pätzke.

 

I have always taught my family (and annoyed a few friends by my insistence_ that you should never putting the base of a game box upturned inside the box lid - if you do this, when you try to put the game away there is a possibility of you tearing the lid's sides. You really do want to keep this game's box intact because the game uses the bottom half of the box and its plastic insert as the playing area, representing the Doors of the Fox's Den. The fox counters are shuffled and randomly placed in the open hutches and then immediately covered with a random hutch door. Hannes the Cockerel (wooden marker) begins on the short track on the space with his likeness (facing forward) on it. There are 8 "Clue" cards, 2 of each Piggy, Doggy, Pussycat and Mousey, each of these has a Positive and a Negative flip side - these "Clue Cards" are placed in a face down stack.

                                     

The Doors of the Fox's Den have either one of Hanne's animal friends on their flip side or one of four tasks - if you select one with a task it applies next round, not when you first get it.

The idea of the game is to identify which is the Fox that is raiding the Hen House. By opening the doors and collecting the Foxes therein the players are trying to build up the identity of the Fox. When they open a door with one of their friends on its flip-side they will eventually discover something about the thief. Opening a Door with a Task means they have to take their next turn doing as the task requires:- Using your opposite hand (ie a Right Handed person uses their Left hand and vice versa), Holding the Red Keyring instead of the Silver Ring, Standing on one leg for their turn or closing one eye for the duration of their turn.

The keys to Fox's Dens (one key actually) is on a silver chain that has two rings, a silver ring and a red ring at the opposite end to the rings (well actually the Red ring is half-way along the chain). The mechanic of the game is fun, a little like 'Fishing for Ducks' at the Fairground. The player on turn has to hold the chain with the silver ring (unless otherwise assigned to the Red ring) slipped over one finger with the "key" hanging loose at the other end. On the command "Catch the Thief" the player begins to try and slip the key into the keyhole of one of the doors - player's choice - and hook the door free before one of the other player's has rolled enough Cockerel Heads on the die to move Hannes from his start space up to the Moon space, each Cockerel rolled moves Hannes one space. This in itself is frantic fun as the die roller has to roll and make sure it's a fair roll, wait for the die to stop, move Hannes if necessary and then roll again etc. etc. If Hannes reaches the Moon before the player can hook a door off then the player loses out and it is the next player's turn. Remember the player on turn may only use the one finger with the ring on it to hook a door.

  

If the player hooks a door that reveals a Task then they place that door face up in front of them along with the Fox from inside the Den. If the door shows an animal friend then the player takes the door, places it face up in front of themself and takes the Fox that was in the Den, also placing it in front of them. Once the four friends have been discovered the game is over and it is time to see if anyone has caught the naughty Fox. The Clue Cards are placed in a display row, remaining animal side face up, then one at a time, any player with an Animal Friend (or more than one) in front of them takes one of the two "Clue Cards" and reveals it. 
The Dog will let the players know if the Fox had a moustache or was clean-shaven.
The Cat will let the players know if the Fox had a pair of spectacles or not.
The Mouse will let the players know if the Fox had a hat on or was bare-headed (not Bear Headed hehehe)
The Pig will let the players know if the Fox had a Tie or a neckerchief or nothing round its neck.

  

As each Animal Friend is flipped over to reveal its secret all Foxes in front of the players that DO NOT have the shown characteristic are removed from the game. So for example if the first Friend flipped over is the Mouse and it shows a Hat then all Foxes without headware are replaced in the box. After the fourth Friend has been flipped the identity, by description, of the Thief will be known. There will only be one Fox that matches all the characteristics and if that Fox is in front of a player (it should be the only Fox left on the tabel) then the Thief has been caught and ONE of the players has won. However if the Foxes in front of the players are all returned to the box then the real culprit Fox has escaped and ALL players have lost. 

Kids simply love playing this game as they totally enjoy the fun of hooking a door off and capturing the Fox in the hole, not knowing until the end if the Fox (or one of the Foxes) they have caught is the real culprit. They also love the idea of covering one eye or standing on one leg, in fact when we play it with our young grandkids we do not always remove the Task after it has been completed because then it may happen (and sometimes does) that one player has to use only one eye whilst standing on one leg. They are not too keen on holding the chain in their "wrong" hand but what they do not always understand that this is teaching them not only hand, eye coordination but it also gets them to use their wrong hand more than they probably would. The significance of the Red Ring is that the chain is a lot shorter and thus surprisingly more difficult to control and guide into a key-hole.

  

OUTFOX the FOX is an extremely well made and pleasant game to play. It is simple in rules and mechanics but also a lot of boisterous fun. The only downfall in my opinion is that for a children's game its €30.00 tag may be just a little pricey, especially for outside of the EU where it will also have Import Tax and a Customs fee placed on it as well as the £pound to €Euro exchange rate. On the other side of that coin players with young children should get way more than €30.00 of play from it in the first week or so of owning it.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015