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DR EUREKA

2-4 Players Aged 6+

Published by BLUE ORANGE

Designed by Stéphane Escapa

The very first thing I want to say about Dr Eureka is that it is brilliant! It’s so simple yet it is so much fun. I have to admit that I have a problem seeing it as playable by 6 year olds because most six year olds aren’t dexterous enough to cope with the mechanics; I think 8 year old and upwards would be a better starting point.

 

The game is about mixing ingredients in test tubes to complete the formulae shown on challenge cards. The game is a race between the players, fellow apprentice scientists, to be the first to create the correct formula.

Each player is given 3 test tubes, for the game these are plastic instead of glass, and the ingredients are coloured plastic balls, Red, Green and Purple, 2 of each being placed in the player’s tubes so that all players begin with the same ingredients and the same number of test tubes.

The Challenge card deck is shuffled and the top card is turned face up. For fairness it is best to have the player turning the card over to count to, perhaps five, before each player, at the same time, picks up their test tubes and begins to move the balls around until they can match the Tubes shown on the card. The first to complete wins the round and the first player to win 5 rounds is the overall winner.

Of course you can play for longer or if only two players then the best of five or seven or any reasonable number of rounds, as long as you select an odd number of rounds to play. The game moves so fast that the best of 11 for example, isn’t going to take that long to play with just 2 or 3 players.

The way the ingredients are mixed is what makes the game so much fun. The players have to move the balls from one test tube to another by tipping the test tubes together at their edges so that the ball or balls slide from one tube to the other. Players may never touch the ingredients with their hands. If a ball drops to the floor they may not pick it up, the player has to resign from the challenge.

Once a player claims success all players stop mixing and the claimant’s tubes are checked. If they are correct that apprentice is awarded the points, but if they are incorrect they are out of the challenge and the other player or players continue until the correct formula is mixed.

After a winning formula is made, the players leave their test tubes as they were at the end of the round and a new Challenge card is turned over so that the next round can begin. Play continues in this fashion until an apprentice gains enough points to be awarded the title “scientist of the year”. Okay I made that up but it sounds good.

 

There is a variation on play which is more for the players who have quick minds as well as dexterous fingers. In turn each player calls out the number of moves (mixes – one test tube to another) they believe the challenge can be completed in. The player who calls out the lowest number then proceeds to mix their ingredients while the other players count each move (nothing like putting on a bit of friendly pressure). If the apprentice is successful they score the point, if they cannot do it in the called number (or lower) then play passes to the next lowest number called and so the game proceeds until someone wins the point or no-one does.

The test tubes are extremely smooth plastic and the ingredient balls are even more slippery. It is very easy to drop the balls, or/and the test tubes, when removing the components from the game – I know I did it first time I opened the box – and those balls are very clever at rolling across wooden floors and under pieces of furniture. The test tubes are quite strong and will usually survive a fall from table to floor, but if you accidentally tread on one it will crack and that will ruin your game for one player at least. I am not complaining about the quality of the components, they are very good in design and manufacture, I just want to impress upon you that the pieces are breakable, so please take care of them as this is a really good game that you will want to play with your children until they are grown up and have children of their own to play it with.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015