Wednesday, 16 July 2008


Barbarossa is something different from what I usually play. It's a game with clay. And I guess you can call this a party game. It is definitely a family game too.

In this game, every player makes some sculptures using clay, and then tries to guess what the sculptures of the other players are. The most interesting part is you need to make your sculptures not too hard to guess, and at the same time also not too easy to guess. If your sculptures are guessed correctly too early, you get penalised. If they are guessed too late, or never guessed correctly, you are penalised too. If they are guessed just at the right time, then you actually earn points. Also, you earn points from guessing others' sculptures correctly.

This is one game played that made all of us laugh. There is some strategy involved, and of course strong general knowledge and good vocabulary helps. But this is pretty much simple fun. We laughed at the too easy ones (especially Chong Sean's) and also at the too difficult ones (especially Michelle's). At game end, there were still sculptures that no one had guessed, and it was funny to finally learn what they were, and to laugh again at how poorly made they were.

I think Barbarossa is a nice game that can be brought out now and then for a change from the regular strategy games. I think this is a good game to play with children too. It encourages creativity and imagination.

The game board. Your pawn moves in a circle at the center of the board, each space telling you to do something, like asking questions, asking for a letter, earning crystals (which can be used to move your pawn in lieu of throwing the die). On the right is the track for tracking how many crystals you have, and around the board is the score track. The game ends when someone reaches the last space. However that player may not be the winner, because there is one big scoring round (actually, more of a penalty round) at the end.

The sculptures that we made. Would you have been able to guess these? Green (mine): salmon, crayon, biscuit. Red (Michelle): I actually forgot what that cube was, the other two are cheese and DVONN. None of us would have guessed DVONN, although we being gamers all know what DVONN is. Blue (Chong Sean): watch, television, bread. Yellow (Han): Submarine, morningstar (I was the only one able to guess this, after having tried "mace" and "machette", because neither Michelle nor Chong Sean are familiar with medieval weapon names), spaceshuttle.

The sculptures guessed correctly get an arrow. Chong Sean's were the first to be guessed.

Han's spaceshuttle and submarine. Now I have never seen a submarine with such big propellers and such a small bridge. I even thought it was a carrot, the propeller being the leaves and... I couldn't explain what that tiny bulge was.

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