The story of a brother and sister stumbling upon a gingerbread house in the woods may be more than two centuries old, but Foxmind delivers a decidedly fresh take on the German fairytale with its Hansel and Gretel board game.
The game is cooperative, meaning players must work together rather than against one another. Playable with two, three, or four players the game begins with the familiar premise: Hansel and Gretel must flee from the evil witch, Baba Yaga, and her gingerbread house without getting caught. This Hansel and Gretel are a little extra naughty, however, aiming to snatch five pieces of gingerbread (tokens) on their way out.
To escape, players have to place and connect candy tiles to try to complete images of candy canes, chocolates, ice cream, and more while moving the siblings and the witch along the 3D gameboard. Because it’s cooperative, all the participants essentially play as both Hansel and Gretel.
This game, intended for kids ages 6 and up, isn’t monumentally challenging, but it certainly isn’t the easiest tabletop game to tangle with at first glance. Set up and the game’s logic take a moment or two to grasp; after a few minutes of gameplay, the flow comes together nicely.
With that said, this game will lend itself best to a mixed group, i.e., 6 year olds can play and enjoy it, but it will help if there is an older player or two, even if only by a year or so, who are willing and able to help them through the initial learning process. Older kids can also utilize some of the included ways to up the difficulty level, like playing “crumb” tiles that advance Baba Yaga’s hunt more quickly.
The major draw here is the opportunity Hansel and Gretel provides for kids to put teamwork into practice, and even to encourage sympathy development, given that all players are represented by both Hansel and Gretel. The game also benefits players with the light math and strategy learning it provides.
The visual component of this game stands out as well: it’s beautifully illustrated in cartoonish Bavarian style that will delight kids (and parents with aesthetics on the brain). Plus, the game comes in a compact box which lets you know the game, minus its outer wrap, is plastic-free. Talk about sweet.
HANSEL & GRETEL
Designed for 2-4 players, this game features a 3D gameboard complete with Baba Yaga’s Gingerbread house. Players take turns selecting a candy tile and connecting it to the grid, then moving the pawns along the edge while avoiding Baba Yaga at all costs.