The forest floor is bustling with the traffic of a dozen cute mammals called echidnas. These spiny, anteater looking creatures are trying to pick up bugs and carry them to their matching colored tree stumps. Does all of this sound weird? Well it is. Echidna Shuffle is an odd, cutthroat, family game and we absolutely love it.
While we were at Origins this year, we started to hear buzz about this game Echidna Shuffle that we knew nothing about. The board game is a large forest floor containing leaves and arrows to guide the movement around the board. The board will be filled with 12 very cool plastic echidna toys.
Players choose a color and strategically place their bug token on a leaf while the player to their left places tree stumps that match their color. This setup means that the person next to you will have control of how difficult it will be to reach the 3 tree stumps of your color. The goal is to have an echidna pick up a bug of your color and drop off the bug on your matching stump. The first to complete this task 3 times wins the game.
Do the Shuffle
Echidna Shuffle is incredibly cute. Every component in this game was made for kids to interact with the game. Just picking up and moving the echidnas make you feel like a kid again. What makes the game more than “a kids game” is how cutthroat and tense the game gets every time you play.
Each time we teach Echidna Shuffle, new players ask “So which echidnas are mine?” The answer is simple: All the echidnas are yours! Any player can move any echidna on the board on their turn. It doesn’t matter what color bug it’s carrying.
This leads to mass chaos which is so much fun to watch unfold. Players will target echidnas carrying bugs and move them into a stream of traffic that ruins even the best plan.
Echidna Shuffle has a great system for making sure every player gets the same number of movement, but it’s broken up over two rounds. On your turn your roll a special die that will tell you how many movements you get that round. If you get six movements, that means you’ll get three movements the next round. This system keeps things (relatively) fair because everyone will get to move 9 spaces in total over two rounds.
Players will scheme and plan to get the echidna carrying their bug in just the right spot. Next thing you know, another player will move your target into another stream of traffic that will take you two rounds to get out of.
Echidna’s for the Whole Family
There is a simplicity to Echidna Shuffle that is a perfect match with the game components. It takes me back to a time when it was just fun to play with the board game components on a rainy day, totally ignoring the rules of the game. Even as an adult, this is an experience that I love having!
Before ending this review, I want to acknowledge the insert that makes this game so easy to pack up after play. Everything has a space and it fits just right. Every little echidna has its home and I’m thankful that companies are realizing the value of a good insert when it comes to family games.
While the strategy in the game isn’t incredibly deep, the gameplay is definitely going to appeal to both gamers and non-gamers for different reasons. It’s fun watching people grasp how to navigate the crowded board while messing up other players. Echidna Shuffle is one of the best gaming options for a table of kids, parents and grandparents who want to game together.
You can pick up a copy of Echidna Shuffle at your local game store or purchase the game from the Wattsalpoag website.
- A cute yet very competitive game
- Great game option for kids and adults
- High quality components and excellent table presence
- Plays up to 6 players
- Players can tend to gang up against one another
- Very competitive players can lead to a longer than normal play time