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StegegetS Moomin

Tove Jansson's Moomins surely need little introduction. Most of us will have read the enchanting Moomintroll books growing up and we've probably seen at least some of the countless animated TV series. There have been a handful of Moomin games in the past but the oddly titled StegegetS Moomin has become a firm family favourite. It's a simple but charming roll & write game but it's played on an epicly large sheet - not quite the size of those in Pegasus Spiele's MicroMacro series but certainly running them a close second.

We'd best address the Hemulen in the room, however: what's the deal with the StegegetS title? It doesn't come from any of Tove Jansson's creations. It's described by the game's designer Jon Manker as a palindrome, which it is, but it's only a palindrome because the word is artificially generated. Apparently it was created from stege, the Swedish word for ladder. Given that the Moomins are Finnish rather than Swedish creations, perhaps tikapuut would've been a more appropriate choice for the root of the palindrome. In fact, tho', StegegetS Moomin is a follow-up to Jon Manker's first StegegetS game, which was a space-themed roll & write. The Swedish of course relates to both games' publisher Ion Game Design; best known for their much heavier games, including science-themed games where we've joked that you don't need a PhD in biochemistry to play but it helps.

The StegegetS games then mark a definite departure for Ion Game Design from quite niche titles to games with a much broader appeal. And StegegetS Moomin is very much at the lighter end of the roll & write subsection of games, so it's a game that even quite young children can play. The 2-6 players each take a coloured pencil and they roll the six red dice. For any strawberries they've coloured in and not yet marked off (and everyone starts off with two strawberries) you can re-roll any of your dice. In order to visit any of the Moomin characters on the sheet, you need to match their dice requirements - which will either be specific numbers or symbols that simply indicate whether they require matching or different dice: for younger children this will be an early but simple introduction to algebra. Meet the requirements and you colour round the character to show you've visited them and you take their 'gift', which will be what you're scoring at the end of the game. If someone has already visited that character (ie: it's already been coloured in) you instead gain a single-use purple die which you can add to your roll on your next turn.

That's the game at its simplest but you can scale it up to unlock each character's special abilities. You can even make it something of a Legacy-style campaign game where the winner of a game chooses the character whose special abilities will be unlocked on the next game.

StegegetS Moomin is a charming game that all the family can play, and those giant sheets won't go to waste after each game: you'll find children eager to more comprehensively colour them in after you've finished playing. We should flag tho' that the game doesn't come with the Moomin minis you can spy in our 360º Board's Eye View: those are interested onlookers that came from a Moomin Advent Calendar.

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Vincent Verrinoldi
Vincent Verrinoldi
21 déc. 2023

Thank you! I just went to the publisher's site and ordered a copy. We get the advent calendar every year & looking forward to playing this one.

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