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Oh, Fox!

 24,99

Op voorraad

Nog maar een paar stapjes en dan zijn die zoetsappige besjes van jou. Daar liggen ze, pak ze dan! Maar je aarzelt, want is het wel wat het lijkt? Wat was die schaduw die je eerder weg zag glippen, en waar is het nu? Het zou een van je bosvriendjes kunnen zijn, op zoek naar voedsel, zoals altijd. Maar misschien is het iets gevaarlijks dat op de loer ligt, wachtend op het perfecte moment om toe te slaan…

In Oh, Fox! kruipen spelers in de rol van dieren in het bos, ieder met zijn eigen speciale vaardigheid. Bosdiertjes zijn op zoek naar voedsel terwijl zij opgejaagd worden door het roofdier. Iedereen beweegt tegelijkertijd over het bord door het spelen van bewegingskaarten die voor iedereen zichtbaar zijn. Maar wie is wie, en waar is iedereen? Kun jij je identiteit verborgen houden en uitvogelen waar de anderen zijn voordat het te laat is?

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2 – 4

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8+

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20 min

The Dice Tower logo

“It’s a very funky weird style game. It’s small, light and feels different.”
– Tom Vasel, The Dice Tower

Oh, Fox! haalde #7 in The Dice Tower’s top 10 kleine spellen van 2019:

Oh, Fox!

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 24,99

Nog maar een paar stapjes en dan zijn die zoetsappige besjes van jou. Daar liggen ze, pak ze dan! Maar je aarzelt, want is het wel wat het lijkt? Wat was die schaduw die je eerder weg zag glippen, en waar is het nu? Het zou een van je bosvriendjes kunnen zijn, op zoek naar voedsel, zoals altijd. Maar misschien is het iets gevaarlijks dat op de loer ligt, wachtend op het perfecte moment om toe te slaan…

In Oh, Fox! kruipen spelers in de rol van dieren in het bos, ieder met zijn eigen speciale vaardigheid. Bosdiertjes zijn op zoek naar voedsel terwijl zij opgejaagd worden door het roofdier. Iedereen beweegt tegelijkertijd over het bord door het spelen van bewegingskaarten die voor iedereen zichtbaar zijn. Maar wie is wie, en waar is iedereen? Kun jij je identiteit verborgen houden en uitvogelen waar de anderen zijn voordat het te laat is?

blank

2 – 4

blank

8+

blank

20 min

The Dice Tower logo

“It’s a very funky weird style game. It’s small, light and feels different.”
– Tom Vasel, The Dice Tower

Oh, Fox! haalde #7 in The Dice Towers top 10 kleine spellen van 2019:

52 actiekaarten
10 dierkaarten
10 identiteitskaarten
6 missiekaarten
1 scorekaart
4 pionnenblank
4 thuisfiches
30 hartfiches
1 roofdierfiche
1 speelbord
1 handleiding

Uitgever: Cinnamon Games
Ontwerper: Hurby Donkers
Illustrator: Michel Baudoin
EAN: 8719326611198
Gewicht: 
Afmetingen: 20 x 20 x 4 cm
Uitgeefdatum: 2019
Taal: Engels

Het spel zelf is volledig taal-onafhankelijk. In de doos zit een geprinte Engelse handleiding. Handleidingen in andere talen zijn digitaal beschikbaar als download.

The Dice Tower logo

“It’s a very funky weird style game. It’s small, light and feels different.”
– Tom Vasel, The Dice Tower

Oh, Fox! kreeg de 7e plaats in de Top 10 Small Games of 2019 van de Dice Tower:

Nox' Spellenzolder logo“Een simpel, vermakelijk en tegelijkertijd aangenaam uitdagend spelletje wat deugdig in elkaar zit en wat ook nog eens een keer lekker snel speelt.”
– Bastiaan Nox, Nox’ Spellenzolder

Download de regels van het spel hier:

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Download de regels van de promo-uitbreiding de kraai hier

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Nuts to the dumb fox

“I want to watch Peter Rabbit!”, my two-year-old son requests. For the hundredth time. Full of excitement, my son immerses himself in the woodland world yet again. At the edge of his seat, he wonders: Will the fox capture the rabbit this time? The obvious answer is no, of course he won’t. As was the case in the 99 times before this, because the dumb fox never learns. It’s a story with a fixed outcome, and once you know what’s going to happen, it’s not exciting anymore. But boardgames are different.

Oh, I’m sorry, who am I again? My name is Hurby Donkers (yep, that’s my name), and I’m a Dutch boardgame designer. I like all the good stuff in a boardgame: Challenge, depth, player interaction, and most of all, suspense.

The latter is something the woodland theme has plenty of. It must be thrilling to have to go out there in the woods looking for food, not knowing what dangers might lurk behind the trees. So I set out to translate this excitement into a boardgame, to have players feel what it’s like to be that scared tiny animal. But make no mistake: In a boardgame with player-controlled animals, the fox does learn. So next time you set out to eat that nut, be sure that he’ll be awaiting you. You’ll be screaming “Oh, Fox!” before you know it.

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The box.

 

A tough nut in a soft shell

My goal was to create a game that draws you in and keeps you immersed into the world it presents. In other words, I aimed to have all mechanics be as elegant as possible, as to not subtract from the experience. To bring the concept of the hunter and the hunted to life, I wanted players to really have to crawl into eachother’s minds, in order to not merely guess but actually predict their actions. So a game that is soft on the outside and tough on the inside, if you will. Or, you know, easy to learn, hard to master. With that in mind, the first draft was made about a year ago.

A fox in squirrel-clothing

There was always going to be one predator animal hunting down multiple prey animals. I didn’t want players working together, as holding hands would have made the prey animal players feel too safe. So they were all going to play for themselves, only looking to save their own skin. Each player would be receiving one face-down role card, of which one is the predator. The predator player then shows him-/herself by taking the predator token, so that others know whom to watch out for. In older versions of the game, any player could be the predator, which is heaps of fun but turned out to be a bit too hardcore for most players. Don’t worry though, it is still included in the game as an expert variant.

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The progression of the animal card. Each animal could use its trigger ability a different number of times in the first version on the left, but this was quickly discarded. While the general concept of the animal card largely stayed the same, their abilities did not, and we tested tens of ability ideas before settling on the ones you can find in the final version of the game.
 

The forest for the trees

To have a sense of environment and adventure, I felt that the game needed a spatial element. So I created a board with different locations in a forest that players could move to. These locations would hold the different food types that the prey animals were after, to give the players a sense of direction as well as valuable information to deduce eachother’s identity with.

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The progression of the board. Since creating the first version on the left, I must have tried over 50 different configurations. Artwork aside, it is ironic that the board is almost exactly the same. Sometimes the first idea really is the best idea.
 

Foxing around

Prey animals would need to be able to hide themselves, so the movement over the board was going to be hidden. I guess the obvious first thing that would come to mind is hidden movement with pen and paper, with players secretly writing down their location. However, I wanted none of that. It’s been done before, but more importantly, I think it’s fiddly and not pretty to look at. Furthermore, the movement should not be completely hidden, as there is no suspense if you don’t have the faintest clue about where everyone is and you just give up trying to find out. That would just be random.

Hang on, let me just interrupt myself again here by stating something that is important to me personally in game design: I generally don’t like it when lots of random stuff happens to you. Event cards and dice rolls that determine an outcome are common perpetrators of this. I love to get outplayed by another player, but having aspects of a game determined by randomness keeps me from feeling invested in it.

Right, sorry, moving on. Because my goal was to have players be as scared as possible, they needed to feel the possibility that they were figured out, while also entertaining the thought that they were not. You know, suspense. For the predator to figure out anything, as much information as possible should be out in the open. I felt that simultaneous action selection was especially important for this game, because the last I want is downtime inbetween turns taking away from the immersion I so carefully tried to craft. So players were to have a hand of movement cards, from which they would simultaneously play one face-up card each round for all players to see. The cards were square and could be played in four directions. All cards that are played remain on the table for the remainder of the game, so that players can always look back to see what others played in previous rounds.

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A full setup of the game.
Your identity is one of a composed set of 5 animals above the board, so immediately you can see the possible identities and abilities of other players. The action cards you play form a face-up row in front of you, which allows you to easily track the actions of each player.
 

So that’s how it works. But how does it feel? By analysing a player’s movement cards, you could deduce that player’s identity:

“That player is visiting a lot of locations with nuts, he must surely be the squirrel!”

However, you can also put your opponents on the wrong track:

“Even though I’m not the squirrel, I’m visiting a lot of locations with nuts, so they’ll surely think that I am!”
 
And most importantly, it creates suspense:


“Do I have the nuts to eat that nut over there, or is the predator onto me?”

As sly as a squirrel

Still, the game needed more, and I haven’t yet explained the most important part. To allow for true mindgames, I gave each animal a special ability that would only be triggered by playing a trigger movement card. Others don’t know your identity, so when playing such a card, they also don’t know which special ability you just activated. On one hand, this made deduction a fair bit tougher because it wasn’t as straight-forward, but on the other, it made deduction deeper because it gave away more information. Furthermore, by giving each animal a special ability, the animals each had their own feel, further increasing the sense of immersion. Also, I really really wanted to include special powers just because, so there’s that. Anyway, the addition of trigger cards meant that the player pawns don’t move, as that would immediately give away their positions on the board. When explaining the game, most players looks at me funny when I say that the pawns don’t move until the very end of the game. They don’t move. They don’t. Nope.

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The trigger card.
 

That Dutch nut with the French name

Up until last year, I designed games as a hobby. Sure, I entertained the dream that one day I would see my games published, but it felt like a mountain to climb so I procrastinated, repeatedly choosing to start a new project over seeing a finished one to the end. I did go to gaming clubs though, where this lifesaving guy named Michel Baudoin took an interest in my prototypes. When I showed him Oh, Fox!, he thought it was the mutt’s nuts. As a boardgame designer turned graphics designer with an ambition for marketing, he suggested we publish it together. Yeah, let’s do it! Cinnamon Games was a fact, and I never looked back.

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And with that, I knew that Oh, Fox! was going to make it. Oh, by the way: The game wasn’t to be called Oh, Fox! back then. “Froschlest Faschlad” I had as the title, or “Forest Facade” when properly pronounced, but as you can see we imagined it a tad difficult to pronounce well, especially for non-native speakers like ourselves. I leave it up to you to imagine what sparked the idea of “Oh, Fox!” as the title, okay?

The nutcracker

Together, we proceeded to polish the game. We playtested as much as we could, visiting friends, boardgame clubs, and boardgame conventions. While Michel was busy illustrating the game and getting it out there into the world, I worked on processing feedback and nutting out mechanical problems.

In a nutshell: The core mechanics felt very much carved in wood and held up to the very end, but getting everything else just right appeared to be quite the tough nut to crack. As I imagine it often is with a lot of game designs. In the case of Oh, Fox!: For the majority of its development, the game was too difficult. Not so much to learn the rules, but to play the game succesfully. So the biggest challenge was to have the game be more accessible without sacrificing any of the deeper gameplay that I love so much about it. So we tested and tweaked and tweaked and tested and tested and tweaked the game, making sure to gather as much feedback from as many people as possible in the process. To any of you reading this: Thank you! Eventually, after having turned everything about the game inside-out, everything magically fell into place. Looking back, I fully believe that we crafted the best version of Oh, Fox! that we possibly could, and I’m very proud of the result.

So, what’s next? At the time of writing, Oh, Fox! is in press and will be available on SPIEL ’19, ready to kick nuts. I very much hope to see you there. Thank you for reading!

Hurby Donkers

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Promo uitbreiding: De Kraai

Deze promo voegt een extra bosdiertje toe aan je spel. Op = op! Voor de regels van deze uitbreiding, zie downloads op deze pagina.

€ 2.00