When someone is waving a wand, it still does not make him a wizard. I have tasted this firsthand, when I found myself alone in the backyard. When I saw Mr. Professor Merlin coming, I felt joy. Naively, I thought, he is going to help me. But instead, he told me to go underground to the cellar. Time of my final exam has come. Now I will see, what a mage am I.
How to test new young disciples? Prepare them for the unexpected! Exactly this was decision of designer duo Stine & Kis (Christine Basler and Alix-Kis Bouguerra), that prepared new children game Kleine Magier (Little Magicians). Game was released in production of HABA, that has prepared it for all playful children already in 2009. Illustrations were contributed to the overall impression by Antje Flad.
Big yellow box hides game board. Players unfold it, place it on the table between himself and inserted three gears into empty holes. Each of them has its own color, three positions and cork underneath to hold it in place. Individual rounds engage teeth and they rotate together, whenever player turns one of them. Merlin figure is placed on the starting box with an arrow, round animals tokens are prepared next to the board, as well as hats and magic wands. The magic can begin.
Player chooses any stone with animal picture on it and places it on one of the empty boxes on the gears. Everyone may look at it, inspect and memorize its location. Active player then covers it with one of the hats and now it is another small wizard’s turn. These efforts continue until all the animals are spread over the gears and last hat is used. It is necessary to ensure, that every gear has three hats, each with different tip (yellow, green and red).
First little magician then takes dice and rolls with it. When they get a few dots (two or three), a player moves Merlin pawn on stone circle in the direction of the arrows. In the event, that dice shows a magical symbol after stopping, it is time to cast spells. Active player rotates wheels by one tooth in the direction of the arrow. Now player has the task to take magic wand and conjure up correct animal out of his hat.
Goal animal is provided by box, where Merlin figure has stopped its movement. Player must remember and have overview to know, where this particular token is hidden. But he does not use hand. Only with wand he touches side of the hat and lifts it up as if he really was casting a spell. If his guess is correct, player gets a reward token in form of one star from the pile, we have not yet mentioned. In the event, that the little wizard messed up and picked up incorrect hat, no star is waiting for him this time.
Game continues by sliding Merlin until he does whole circuit around the board. Once he gets to the target box, players can recalculate their acquired stars. Whoever has collected most of them and was therefore the most successful magician, is the winner.
Kleine Magier is a beautiful memory game, that turns any small child into a real magician. Well, none of your kids, who grew up with Harry Potter books or movies could resist such an opportunity. The package provides a real wooden magic wand, that has a star on its tip and do not forget the magnet!
Whole game is about memory and attention. These are two elements, that players must prove they have to compete for victory. The latter feature refers mainly to spinning gears. As the position of hats varies, it can confuse smaller players. And this is very nice to train their memory.
But the main attraction remains magic itself. Magnetic hats magically attach to the wand, when wizard wants to reveal its secret. Actually, it does not matter, if right animal hides there or if it was a mistake. A child enjoys it immensely anyway. But after a while, even success becomes important, because there is never enough stars to get. Game may in exceptional circumstances even end by depletion of stars sooner, if really clever wizards participate.
Dice controls wizard’s motion, but spaces on the board represent only task. Much greater influence of luck is, that player may seek animal only as a consequence of the correct roll (only when magical symbol is rolled). Here, parents and players themselves might slightly modify the rules and set up some regular intervals, in which everyone will gradually seek, each in his turn, and therefore with a different position of wizard. But the dice roll will have no effect on it.
Game is quick. This is for children’s games very important not to lose interest. It takes ten to fifteen minutes to complete and opponent are amused for the whole time. And it does not matter, which number of allowed players is present. In addition to memory, they all practice also coordination. And according to that, you can also easily deduce, that the game is recommended for small kids, even from four years of age. And it really fits to their skills and interests.
Little Magicians is truly magical game. And here’s the pun definitely in place. The game is beautifully crafted, simple, but very interesting. Moreover, it is really about magic and as such uses real magic – magnets. Little Magicians is wish come true for every small player and even parents, who will have to hard to resist not to join them in their spell casting.
+ magical magnetic wand
+ spinning meters
+ coaches memory
+ a quickie
+ suitable for four kids
- luck decides, who looks for hidden animals
- change to break meters