SCHUMMEL HUMMEL (CHEATING BUMBLEBEE)
A Cheerful Family fun card game about Happy 'Cheating & Cunning' Bees, Worms and other insects for 3–5 Players Aged: 7+ taking 20–25 Minutes Playing Time
Yes you read that right! Cheating is allowed, in fact it is not just allowed, it is heartily encouraged.
The front cover of the box is a super illustration of a scheming Bee, just one look at those eyes and you are mesmerised. The components of the game are a deck of 82 Playing cards, Bumble Bees (10), Flowers (38), Spiders (7), Spider's Webs (5), Wasps (6), Grasshoppers (5), Pollinator Bees (4), Butterflies (5), 1 Watchman Worm and 1 Pollen Card, all with eye-catching cartoony illustrations designed to whet the visual appetite of all who gaze upon them and discover the magical, mystical world of insects.
This is a variation on the Matching Cards genre of games.
Children love this game because it is simple and it allows them to cheat without being told off for doing so. For adults it is a game that needs the presence of kids. It also allows youngsters to have a giggle at their peers as the 'oldest' player begins with the Watchman Worm card - this never fails to raise a chuckle when Grandad (me) is given this card by a cheekily smiling young 6 year old (yes our 6 year old Grandson can play even though it's aimed at 7 year olds and upwards).
As the object of the game is to be the first to get rid of all cards in your hand, you begin with 8 dealt face down to you, 'Cheating' involves any and every nefarious means you can think of (except tearing cards up or destroying them in other ways). Dropping them on the floor, sticking them up your sleeves, hiding them in your socks, sitting on them, all of these are legitimate 'legal' forms of cheating (one of the easiest ways of getting rid of cards is discarding more than one card and hoping no-one notices). Be aware that it is the specific job of the player with the 'Watchman Worm' card to look out for potential cheaters. Getting 'Caught' isn't too bad though as you only get your 'cheating' card back plus one from the Watchman Worm holder, from their hand, and you also get the Watchman Worm card itself. The 'Cheating Bee' card may only be removed from a player's hand by cheating or by the use of a Butterfly card, it cannot be played in the normal run of the game.
Adults caught cheating, especially by the children playing gives the game a sort of pantomime effect. "Oh no I didn't cheat!" brings the expected response chorus of "Oh yes you did!"
There are certain fun actions, such as 'Squishing a Wasp' (slamming your hand down on a Wasp card quickly when it is played) but you have to be watchful and careful to only squish a Wasp without a Stinger.
When playing cards from your hand you have to follow the rules of the Flowers, playing your card with at least of the colours seen on the previously played card. Each insect card has its own speciality and once you can remember what they each do the fun multiplies; you have to help younger players to begin with, at least give them a little time to connect the insect with the ability. If they are used to playing games they will soon get the hang of it.
The majority of the cards have different actions and call outs where you have to be the quickest to react, but you also have to be correct in your actions. Players have to be quick to react to call-outs, being last to react has consequences that can see you gaining additional cards that you then have to try extra specially hard to get rid of, mainly through Cheating, and of course if you have a large hand of cards you distract the other players as they will all be watching and waiting for you to cheat - this is where the clever player has their best opportunity, when all eyes are on someone else.
It's all about seeing what is in front of you and acting on it. The Grasshoppers sit between the players (one Grasshopper between each pair, to the left and to the right) and its only job is to be stolen by one of the players it sits between without the other one noticing. The Watchman Worm is there to prevent thefts (and also depending on which of its sides is visible change the rule for playing matching flowers), the Spider's Web forces players to play cards showing spiders (or pick up a card from the deck), the Butterfly player receives a random card from the opponent of their choice (hoping not to be given the Cheating Bee) and the Pollen card sits in the centre of the table until the Pollinator Bee is revealed. The player of the Pollinator Bee quickly picks up the Pollen card and flicks it at an opponent, hitting another player forces them to pick up 2 cards from the Discard pile - no penalty for missing when flipping the card.
Note: the rules say the player of the Pollinator card has to 'grab' the Pollen card. The problem of doing this is that the Pollen card is likely to quickly get damaged. Play 'pick and flick' and you can pick up the card and flip it towards someone in the same motion, keeping the card in good condition for future games.
There is also a rule that says no cheating is allowed during the Pollen card phase. In a game where cheating is allowed it seems funny that there is a rule that prevents cheating.
SCHUMMEL HUMMEL is a reasonable enough game, helped into production by the Brand name (and for once I mean the name 'Brand' rather than a brand name (such as Schmidt Spiel) )
Several online game selling sites list SCHUMMEL HUMMEL as an £11.99 game. I think it is probably a little over-priced (but only by a couple of quid) for the gameplay involved, but the number of pieces of amusingly good artwork created exclusively for it explain why it has the price that it does.
Very good for introducing young players to the world of family card games and excellent for a game's playing family (or family + friends) where there is a decent age selection, probably 12 years old to adult being the best.
Some children's games lend themselves to being rip-roaring gut-busters for adults with a strange sense of humour (like myself) with or without a small libation of alcoholic beverage, but this one doesn't seem to have the strength or appeal, though I have to say those spiders look really mean and have been known to put shudders down the spines of easily shaken youngsters. The biggest giggles we have had are always at someone else's expense (it's a kids game so this is to be accepted) and that is when someone slams down their hand on a Wasp with a stinger - yowieeee!!
Amusing and with the staying power/re-playability for kids as other Drei Magier children's games.