HABA Special: Pirates, Dragons and Unicorns…Oh My!

HABA Special: Pirates, Dragons and Unicorns…Oh My!

February 18, 2019 0 By Ryan Sanders

Reviews of HABA games Dragon’s Breath and Karuba Jr. along with a mini mini review of Unicorn Glitterluck


Karuba Jr.

Published By: HABA

Ages: 4+ (We recommend 3-6, though adults can still enjoy)

Player Count: 1-4

Designers: Rüdiger Dorn & Tim Rogasch

Game Type: Cooperative, Tile Laying

Skills Learned: Working together

Note: HABA provided a free review copy for an honest review.

In Karuba Jr, everyone works together to try to get the three adventures to the three treasure chests before the pirates get to shore and take the treasure. Players take turns drawing face down tiles that show either a path, a treasure chest, or something dangerous. If a path is drawn, players connect them together in hopes of making a path to a treasure chest. If a treasure chest is drawn, players connect them to a path and move an adventurer on top of the tile. The two dangerous tiles are a tiger and a pirate ship. If a tiger is drawn, players put the tiger on the end of a path creating a dead end. If a pirate ship is drawn, players move the pirate ship closer to the shore. If they ever make it to the shore (or all your paths are dead-ends) you lose the game.

Parent’s Take: Karuba Jr is a very simple cooperative game, you draw a tile and either place the tile or move the pirate ship. It’s 100% luck based, you can do everything right but still lose the game due to pirate tiles moving the ship closer to shore.  This isn’t a game that would crossover as an adult filler but it works great for its age level (3 ½ to 6 years old would be my suggestion). The game progresses extremely fast and is fun to play with your little one as you see their reaction to various tiles like the pirate ship or tiger. It should also be noted that Karuba Jr. can be played solo. Out of all the young children co-op games I have played thus far, Karuba Jr. is on the shortlist for one of the best ones, due to its fast play, amazing art, quality components, and the small amount of tension you get with drawing those tiles that could have dangers on them. It’s a good step up for My First Orchard, which is a good co-op game (and another HABA game) for 2-3-year-olds. If you have a 4 or 5-year-old, this is a good one for them and they will have lots of fun searching for treasure, trying to outrun the pirates and hoping they don’t run into any tigers! 

Olivia Meeple’s (Preschooler) Take: It’s awesome!  I like drawing the tiles, the art of the three adventurers, and the exciting pirate ship. One part I like about the game is that creating the paths is kind of like a puzzle you put together to lead you to the treasure. The most fun part of the game is getting to the treasure chest before the pirates.

Readers can find Karbua Jr. on Amazon, by clicking on this link.


Dragon’s Breath

Published By: HABA

Ages: 5+ (We recommend 4-7, though adults can still enjoy)

Player Count: 2-4

Designers: Lena & Gunter Burkhardt

Game Type: Action, Drafting

Skills Learned: Dexterity, Colors, Counting, Predicting

Note: HABA provided a free review copy for an honest review.

The story behind HABA’s Dragon’s Breath really sets the stage for the gameplay. A few dragon children were outside playing when they found a column of ice filled with beautiful gems. They needed Daddy dragons help to melt the ice in order to get the gems. In the game, players take turns melting a ring of ice off the column allowing gems to spill out onto the board (and sometimes under the board as the board as 3 holes in it). Whose gems are whose? Well before Daddy does his fire-breathing magic, players take turns drafting the color gem they think will net them the most gems this round with the player who is closest to dear old Dad drafts last. Gems that fall on board and match the players drafted color are placed in the players’ dragon cave, (holes in each corner of the box and drop down to that player’s section under the board). Then a new Daddy dragon is selected and a new round of drafting takes place. This goes on turning all the ice rings in the column are “melted” and then the player with the most gems wins.

Parents Take: Dragon’s Breath is a winner from HABA! I will say that upfront.  It is easy to see why this game won the Kinderspiel des Jahres (German Children’s Game of the Year)  in 2018. The components work wonderfully together and it’s a satisfying feeling dropping those won gems into your dragon cave, instead of just leaving them in front of you. It’s a nice 3d set up with the rings, you take off to the top of the board being able to be taken off to reveal the dragon’s lair/caves.  There are some notes on the components though – blue and green may be hard to tell apart in darker room settings. Also, the yellow gem token is orange, which may confuse some younger children learning their colors. That said, this game is great and works well with all player counts. This is a HABA game that can be enjoyed by multiple ages at once and isn’t stuck to only a certain age, the game will grow with your child. The box recommends ages 5+, but 4-year-olds should be able to play along as long as they understand the idea of not touching the gems when you pick up a ring and they aren’t prone to stick things (like the gems) in their mouths. This is a not only a pretty good one that, but adults can also enjoy it along with their children and older kids can play along with their younger siblings without feeling like the gameplay is too babyish.  Due to its uniqueness and fun factor we are awarding it our Young Meeple Award.

Olivia Meeple’s (Preschooler) Take: I like there are dragons in this game and that you can pretend to make the daddy dragon breathe fire when it’s your turn to melt the ice. I like the art of the little children dragons, and that you can tell they are little kids. I like that in 2-player Dragon’s Breath you can pick two jewel colors instead of one. I also like the pretty shiny jewels and putting them in my own dragon cave. I don’t just like this game… I love this game! It’s verrrrry fun.

Readers can find Dragon’s Breath on Amazon, by clicking on this link.


Unicorn Glitterluck: Cloud Crystals

Published By: HABA

Ages: 3+ (We recommend 3-6)

Designers: Kristin Mückel

Game Type: Roll and Move

Skills Learned: Taking Turns, Counting

This isn’t a game HABA sent for me to review, it’s one that we have had in our collection for the last couple of years. It’s also not one we are giving a full review, we instead wanted to give it a quick write up and give it our Young Meeple Award. With a simple roll and move, it has a lot of charm packed in its small pink box (you read right, this one comes in a pink box instead of HABA yellow). From its unicorn meeples to its bright colorful board and chuck dice to its oversize pink gems that the little ones love to collect, it just oozes charm. Unicorn Glitterluck is one that we recommend all the time to friends with children 3 to preschool age (Kindergarten would work as well) and if someone comes over with their child around that age, we seem to always bust it out to introduce to the child.  Not only does Olivia Meeple love this game, but her cousin whose the same age loves it as well. When she comes over to the house, one of the first things she wants to do in play the “unicorn game” and has caused her to want to play more and more board games. If your young child is into unicorns, this is a perfect gateway game to introduce them to board games.

Readers can find Unicorn Glitterluck on Amazon, by clicking here. 


 

Mini Meeple-Sized Summary:

All three of these games are excellent games. We have played quite a number of HABA games over the years (Olivia is our 5th child), and yet all three of these games are actually on the better side of what HABA offers. Karuba Jr. is a great introduction to co-op games. Dragon’s Breath  has very good and unique gameplay. Unicorn Glitterluck may not be unique in gameplay as a roll-and-move, yet it has such charm and can get young children intersted in board games.

We are awarding two of the games today our Young Meeple Award – both Dragon’s Breath and Unicorn Glitterluck. Karuba Jr. though not getting the award, came close to it and is nothing to sneeze at (and I am reserving the right to come back and give it the award at a later date) – it’s just the other two may have a slightly longer staying power.