Prairie of Beetles

Updated: Oct 24, 2020

This is a snappy speed recognition game designed by Ming Zhe Chen and published by MoZi.

Essentially it's a Snap! variant. A deck of 25 cards is shuffled and scattered face down in a pile in the centre of the table. The cards comprise 5 different types of beetle, each in 5 different colours. Each player has two 'tool' cards: a card showing a net and one showing a cage. Players take turns to flip a beetle card until a card appears that can be matched with another either because it is the same colour or the same species (shape). When that occurs, there's a scramble to be the first player to place one hand on the matching beetle (not the card just turned over) and one card on the tool that shows how it matches. If a card is turn that matches two beetles (one for colour and another for shape) then there's the possibility of winning both cards if both tools are touched; albeit that it's very difficult to simultaneously cover two beetle cards and two tool cards with just two hands(!)

Players take the card they've matched and the winner is the player who catches the most beetles. As you'd expect, previously caught cards are lost as a penalty when a player makes a mistake and covers the wrong beetle and/or the wrong tool.

The rules set out options for up to six players but this is a game that is best with two, three or four players. The game comes with just three pairs of tool cards so, when playing with more than three, the tools are placed alternately to the side of each player. This means that everyone shares a tool with the players to their left and right.

Despite its simplicity, Prairie of Beetles is a game that demands a certain mental agility as well as spatial awareness. It is certainly a step up from Snap!: think of it rather as being at a similar level to North Star's Happy Salmon. Prairie of Beetles is playable by quite young children but just be warned that it can be frustrating for them if their physical dexterity lags noticeably behind the speed at which they recognise matches.

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