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As anyone who has read Games Gazette over the years (paper magazine or Online) will know, I have long been a fan of games published by ZOCH.

So many of them look like, and indeed were published for, young children, and yet in the hands of regular board games players strategies have been found that have turned so many of them into games with more substance than they appear to have at first sighting. In fact just last night we were playing the Donkey-Poo game LOS MAMPFOS, introducing three grand-children to it. It is still one of our very favourite fun games, every where I have taken it to play people have asked where they can get it. It is a great ice-breaker, a great family game, and has great components (wooden Donkeys that eat wafers at one end and pop them out on request at the other end).

Here is the Zoch Story. It appears that Los Mampfos didn't make as much of an impact with stores and yet it is a truly enkoyable game; in my opinion one of, if not THE, the Best games published for kids and families by any games company.

1987: "Bausack," by Klaus Zoch, comes onto the market and, in 1988, makes it onto the "Spiel des Jahres" (Game of the Year) recommendation list.
1990's
1998: "Zicke Zacke Hühnerkacke" enjoys a double success: The game is awarded the "Spiel des Jahres Sonderpreis Kinderspiel" (Children's Games Special Award) by the jury, and the "Deutschen Kinderspielpreis" (German Children's Games Award).
2000's
2001: The family game "Zapp Zerapp" is the first Zoch game to be nominated for the "Spiel des Jahres" main prize. Plus, the game is awarded the "Deutschen Kinderspielpreis."
2002: The dexterity game "Villa Paletti" wins the "Spiel des Jahres" award. More than 300,000 copies are sold in shops.
2004: For the third time within seven years, a Zoch game wins the "Deutschen Kinderspielpreis." The vampire spectacle "Dicke Luft in der Gruft" is also nominated for "Spiel des Jahres."
2005: With "Niagara," Zoch is awarded the "Spiel des Jahres" main prize for the second time. Additionally, "Niagara" comes in second for the "Deutschen Spielepreis." In the same year, the bestseller "Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck"makes its debut at the Nuremberg Toy Fair.
2007: "Burg Appenzell" receives the "Deutschen Kinderspielpreis." With this, this award goes to Zoch for the fourth time.
2008: Again, a Zoch game is nominated for "Spiel des Jahres": "Suleika."
2010's
2010: NORIS-SPIELE takes over the Zoch company. The international bestseller "Geistesblitz" is released.
2011: "Da ist der Wurm drin" becomes the "Kinderspiel des Jahres."
2015: "Spinderella" enjoys a double success: The three-dimensional spider spectacle is awarded "Kinderspiel des Jahres" and "Deutscher Kinderspielpreis."
 
If you haven't played Los Mampfos or any of the other Zoch games (and you like fun family games with possibly hidden strategies) I honestly think you should start looking for some of them.
 
© Chris Baylis 2011-2015