Elchfest is a fun and funny addition to the Kosmos 2-player series. But
I found the rules translation currently at the Gaming Dumpster to be
unclear and bablefishy, sometimes amusingly so. ("With its first stride
the elk of his shore-piece must land with the front-hooves on a rock.") Besides that, it omits the funniest passage, and gets a couple of
So I've taken a shot at doing an alternate translation. Since the game
is simple and the rules are brief, I've attached my version below.
Please note that this is not a literal translation and does not track precisely line-for-line with the German rules. What I've tried to do is capture the whimsical spirit of both the German text and of the game
itself. Also I've tried to be unambiguous. I'd welcome any
A beastly duel of dexterity for 2 players, ages 8-up
Game designed by Hermann Huber, published by Kosmos.
Non-literal rules translation by Richard Grant <email@example.com>; corrections appreciated.
THE GAME IDEA
Two elks, Jule and Ole, stand on opposite sides of a fast-moving
river. (There's no game board, so you've got to imagine this river for yourself.) Each wants to get to the other side. Each wants also to
keep his hooves dry. To accomplish this, Jule and Ole will try to
balance themselves on stepping-stones conveniently located in the icy
water. The players will flick these stones around with their fingers,
so as to help their own elks across.
The first player to reach the opposite riverbank with his or her elk
is the winner.
€ 2 elks (Jule, light, and Ole, dark)
€ 2 riverbanks (light and dark)
€ 6 gray stepping-stones
€ 8 rubber tabs
€ Before the first game, stick 4 of the rubber tabs on the bottom of each riverbank. This will keep it from slipping around on the table.
€ The players sit on opposite sides of a smooth playing surface.
One takes Jule, the light-colored elk; the other takes Ole. Each takes
the matching riverbank and 3 stepping-stones.
€ Both players lay their riverbanks on the table. The farther apart these lie, the longer the game lasts. The publisher recommends a
spacing of about 50 cm/18 inches.
€ Elks are placed on the riverbanks. It doesn't matter which way
€ Each player lays 3 stepping-stones in a row to the RIGHT of the riverbank, as shown in the German rulebook. Space them so they can be flicked without colliding.
€ Before the game, the contestants should agree on whether to allow
a player, during his or her turn, to cross to the other side of the
table so as to flick stepping-stones from any direction.
Game play consists of flicking the stones and moving the elks. This can
be done in any order, as outlined below.
1. FLICK THE STEPPING-STONES
€ The youngest player begins by flicking, with a finger, ONE stepping-stone from his/her side of the board. The idea is to flick the stone close enough to the riverbank that the elk can reach it with his
€ The second player now flicks TWO stepping stones from his/her
side. From now on, each player will continue making two flicks per
turn. (Except in the case of certain Disastrous Occurrences, noted
below.) A player can flick the same stone twice, or two different
stones one time apiece.
€ In the opening turns, each player must flick all 3 stones from
their starting place beside his/her riverbank. From then on, a player
may flick ANY free stone (that is, a stone without an elk's hooves on
it), including stones that originally belonged to the other player.
2. MOVE THE ELK
€ At any time during his/her turn -- before, in the middle of, or after flicking stones -- a player can move an elk. The elk's front and
rear hooves must always rest on stones or on the riverbank.
€ Movement must always be stone-to-stone -- no "jumping" allowed --
as illustrated in the German rule book. (In other words, after a move,
the elk's rear hooves must rest where previously the front hooves lay.)
€ An elk can move as many times during a turn as possible, as long
as its hooves can reach a neighboring stone.
€ At the end of a move, the elk must be firmly balanced with his hooves out of the water. (Otherwise, see "Elk gets wet" below.)
3. DISASTROUS OCCURRENCES
€ ELK GETS WET. If a player causes either elk to fall down, his/her turn ends immediately. This applies also if the player knocks a stepping-stone from under an elk's hooves, so that the creature is
standing with his feet in the icy river. In such cases, the elk is
returned to its previous position, as nearly as possible. The next
player may make THREE stone flicks.
€ STONE CRASHES TO THE FLOOR. If a player flicks so powerfully that
a stone falls off the table, his/her turn ends immediately. The stone
is returned to the right-hand side of the riverbank of the player who
caused this disaster. The other player may make THREE flicks on the following turn. (If the players have agreed beforehand, he/she may
cross to the other side to flick the stone just returned to the table.)
The game ends as soon as an elk can set his front hooves firmly on
the opposite riverbank.
A MODEST SUGGESTION
When you feel like playing a number of rounds in succession, try
this variant using victory points. The starting player moves
continuously -- flicking stones and moving his or her elk, as usual --
for as long as it takes to reach the opposite riverbank. Every flick
costs one point. The expenditure of points is recorded. Then the
second player begins from the other side, and the game continues through
as many rounds as desired. At the end, whoever has spent the fewest
points in crossing and recrossing the river is the winner, and he or she should give some serious thought as to whether a career-change to Elchführer might not be in order.
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