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Of all the games at UKGE that we’ve played so far, this one surprised and charmed me the most.
Echidna Shuffle by Wattsalpoag and designer Kris Gould is a family game in which you move echidnas through a sort of echidna traffic jam to collect and deliver bugs. It’s simple enough for young children to play and has lots of useful components to help out, like optional movement tokens to count how far they’ve went already. But more importantly, it’s fun enough that even two people in their mid-twenties have repeatedly bust it out. And I can’t think of a better endorsement than that.
During set-up you each place echidnas at random, preferably creating as much of a jam as possible. Then, you place your colour pick-up marker on the board and pass your delivery stumps to the player on your left to place. Set-up is very quick and simple, which may have something to do with why we bust it out so often.
At the start of your turn, you roll the movement dice and place your colour marker on the number board above the number you rolled. This is partially to remind younger players what they rolled and also because Echidna Shuffle uses a clever rubber banding mechanic. After you roll and place your number, the number board tells you what number of moves you’ll have on your next turn. Roll a 7 this turn, move 2 next turn.
Echidnas can’t move past each other and you can move whichever echidnas you like which creates a fun strategic layer. With adult players you’ll be planning several moves ahead, positioning echidnas so that your opponent has to move yours into advantageous positions to get theirs out.
From a manufacturing point of view, Echidna Shuffle is incredible for its price. With 12 big plastic echidnas, 18 insects, 18 stumps, a double sided board and just generally high quality components, it’s surprising that it’s only £20.
If you’re looking for something to play with the little ones or are just young at heart, Echidna Shuffle is a great choice. The only negative point I have is that the rulebook exclusively uses “he” which earns it the gatekeeper medal.