Earlier this summer Brian Turtle of Endless Games emailed me after I posted my backgammon review (see here) and wanted to know if I had ever played their kid’s game Quackgammon. I’ll admit, I’d walked passed it at Toy Fair but I didn’t stop to play. Maybe it was because their booth was so busy or because my pal Mary Couzin’s booth was right down the way and I heard a rumor that she was bringing wine or maybe it was because I love backgammon and I wasn’t really sure anyone could improve upon it. Don’t really know, but I’m definitely glad Brian sent a sample my way.
Quackgammon is a great way to teach a kid how to play backgammon, partly because you don’t play with dull disc-shaped movers, but instead each player gets three super-cute mini rubber ducks! While it’s not exactly backgammon with duckies, it definitely provides a kid-friendly stepping-stone to real backgammon.
The goal of the game is to get your ducks around the board from home to finish and then off the board before your opponent does. And just like in backgammon, you’re both going different directions on the board. On a turn, you roll your die and you can move any of your ducks toward finish. Your duck can only land on a vacant space or a space occupied by your opponent’s duck, provided there aren’t two of their ducks in a row. Two ducks in a row is like having two backgammon checkers on the same space, they’re safe from your opponent. BUT if there is a lonesome duck hanging out by itself, you can move your duck onto that space and “bump” your opponent’s duck back to start. (Think of it like sending your opponent to “the bar” in backgammon). Ducks that are sent back to start must be moved onto the board before any other duck can be moved which makes “bumping” a duck very advantageous.
When your ducks gets close to the finish, you’ll need to get them off the board with an exact roll. First player to get all three ducks off the board first wins.
If you’re a backgammon junkie like me, I’m sure you’ll see lots of similarities between the two games. And if you’re not, it doesn’t really matter because Quackgammon still stands on it’s own and is lots of fun even if you know NOTHING of backgammon…..but you might want to learn after you play Quackgammon a zillion times with your kids.
**As a quick note, the image above is pulled directly from the Endless Games catalog which are handed out during Toy Fair. The Endless guys are known for doing something crazy for their catalogs every year and in this picture is Kevin McNulty their VP of Sales. You can see some of their other catalog covers at their website: http://www.endlessgames.com/ns-Catalogs.html 2009 is my personal fave …pervy ping pong. Hilarious!
~$12-15 at Amazon and some specialty/local game retailers
Ages 6 and up