Party in the Milky Way! All the extraterrestrial creatures have let their body parts whirl around
and crisscross in outer space. When the head, body and legs of the same creature have been revealed,
the quickest player catches hold of it. Vaca Loca is a high-speed reaction game for a super-terrestrial
rush of adrenaline!
Regular readers of Games Gazette and hopefully now of this website know how much I enjoy ZOCH
family and Kids games. VACA LOCA is a family game that looks like it should be for very young
children as you can see from the picture below left. The box says it's for 8 year olds and upwards but I
think that 7 year olds who play boardgames with their family would not be too young.
Adults with a sense of humour will have a blast playing VACA LOCA. It uses a simple mechanic,
based on pelmanism aka "Pairs" (matching tiles/cards) and begins in a similar way with all of the tiles
spread face down on the table and shuffled; however unlike "Pairs" there are three tiles to every match.
Vaca Loca means "mad cow" in Spanish - seeing as this is about alien creatures I am not sure about how
the theme and title actually match up, not that it matters as it's the game you play not the name of the game.
The components are 60 square tiles, with each tile showing the head, body or legs of one of twenty different
alien animals. One by one, each player reveals a single tile. Whoever ends up with the most points wins!
Also different from regular memory games is that when you turn over a tile it stays face up. The idea is
that no matter whose turn it is, once all three parts of a creature show up the first person to put their finger
on the HEAD piece takes all three pieces and places them in front of themselves to count towards the end
If a player puts his finger on the mid-section or the legs (ie not the HEAD) then they are given a Token.
This gives negative points which are subtracted from their final score. The only way to lose these Tokens
is when the pool of them is exhausted anyone who has to take one must take it from another player.
The game is so simple it is silly, but what is more silly is playing with grown ups (okay games players)
and watching them jump excitedly when the third piece is turned up. It's also great fun to watch all
player's reactions on the turning of the tile as they stab their finger down on the wrong piece - it's just a
natural reaction to jump for the third piece that is turned up, even if it isn't the HEAD.
Games last 15-20 minutes. VACA LOCA is for 3-6 players, and is designed and illustrated by by Iris
Rossbach. It is the sister game to MUCCA PAZZA also designed and illustrated by Iris Rossbach and
published by Zoch. MUCCA PAZZA is, as far as I can ascertain from the description on BoardGameGeek,
very similar mechanically but with a few twists. MUCCA PAZZA (which incidentally means "Mad Cow"
in Italian ) is for 2-4 players rather than 3-6.
Quality in production, excellent illustrations and clear rules make this a good fun family game well worth
having for when children need some light entertainment or adults want a good laugh.