The COOKIE MARATHON, also known as DER KEKFE MARATHON, comes from the magical imagination of Reiner Knizia, the cutesy artwork of Stephanie Engel and the excellent production team of Pegasus Spiele.
As you would expect from game mogul Reiner Knizia the rules are brief but this time they surpass the brevity of a regular Knizia style of colours and numbers game with a simple fun mechanic of roll the die and move Chubby, that young kids, aged 5 to about 8, can easily understand and will really enjoy.
The game features Chubby, the wonderfully plump Rainbow Unicorn, five of his friends and a whole lot of Chocolate Cookies; surprisingly though for a children's game, the friends aren't named. However that gives the enterprising parents the opportunity to let their kids make up names for them. Another anomaly is that Four of the Friend's cards are the same size and one is quite a bit smaller and I haven't discovered why this is, unless the fifth player was added as an afterthought and there was a mix up at the printers. I've read the rules through several times and can see no mention of it - it doesn't matter though as it has no affect on the game - it's just my gamer's brain-cell kicking in because there is an oddity.
The components are heavy card stand-up characters, a wooden Chubby figure, a deck of 28 Cookie cards and a "special" die with sides marked 1-5, 2, 3, 5, a Circular Arrow and a Black Rectangle. The cards are shuffled and dealt out according to the number of players (there is a chart in the rules to show this) and then all dealt cards are laid out to form a circle with each player's personal cards separated from the next player's cards by one of the Friends so that you have equal segments, the remaining cards are placed in the centre of the circle. The player who has laid out the highest value card with Chubby on it takes the die and the Chubby wooden figure. They place Chubby the Unicorn (the wooden figure) on one of their own cards and make sure he is facing either to the left or the right, then they roll the die. The Friends of Chubby are comprised of a slotted stand/base and a slotted picture card.
Move the wooden Chubby around the circle of cards in the direction he is facing the number shown on the die. With the 1-5 face you can move Chubby 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 spaces, if you roll the Circular Arrow turn Chubby around so he is going the other way now, and if you roll the Rectangle take a face-down card from the centre of the table.
When you move Chubby you will land him on a Cookie card. Saying "Nom Nom" you take this card and place it face down in the centre of the table with the other face down cards. When you roll the Black Rectangle you take one of the centre cards to keep, hoping you have remembered where the card with the highest number of Cookies on it is, the object of the game being to collect the most cookies. The game ends when there are no cards left in one player's section but it is advisable to keep a score on a sheet of paper and play 3 games to even out the luck and random factor.
As for a review it's not an easy game to write a lot about because the rules, as mentioned above, are basically all there is to it. There are no options for players other than when they roll the 1-5 but young kids aren't worried about options, they have much more fun yelling "Nom Nom" than worrying about having options. This is a simple but fun game and, I hate to say it, but it's also educational because it can teach youngsters their colours and numbers. The cards are of a good quality and brightly coloured, with each colour representing a number, all Reds are 8s, all Blues are 4s etc. plus it also teaches youngsters that not all dice have to be regular.
There are two themes that run through this game, Unicorns and Rainbows. All of Chubby's friends except one have a Unicorn horn and Rainbow and all are standing atop a mound of scrumptious chocolate chip cookies. You should be able to pick this up for around $10.00/€10.00 which is a nice price for a nice game.