Chateau Roquefort

Caution, perspective owners of Chateau Roquefort, some assembly is required. Do not attempt to do this by yourself. Why, you ask? Because no one, not even those who buy games just so they can poke things out, can believe how unusually pleasurable it is to everso gently punch the many pieces out of their frame – lovely, thick, two-sided, brightly printed, silk-textured cardboard pieces so well pre-cut that seem to fall out on command. It is an indelible experience of something well-made. Something made for kids and parents and especially people who like to collect things.

And even more especially for parents who like to collect things who also like to play with their kids who also like to collect things.

Chateau Roquefort is another beautifully made, European game from Rio Grand Games. It’s a game of strategy and memory. The board remains mostly covered during play. On your turn, you can uncover part of the board, and you just might reveal images of different kinds of cheeses. Also on your turn (you have 4 moves per turn), you can move one of your mice (you have 4 mice) onto the board, or from the entrance to one of the horizontally or vertically adjacent squares, or from a square to yet another similarly horizontal or vertically adjacent square. You can also slide a row or column of squares, perhaps to reveal new kinds of cheeses, perhaps to reveal an empty hole, perhaps to cause one of your opponent’s mice (as many as 4 players) to fall into said revealed pit.

It is probably true that children as young as six can play the game. However, they would have to be exceptional – given that there are many, many pieces, the loss of which would pretty much significantly impair the replayability of a unique and expensively beautiful game.

The object of the game is to win cheeses. You win a cheese when two of your mice are on squares revealing the same kind of cheese. There are many different kinds of cheeses. And you can only win one of each.

This is an unusually intriguing play principle – trying to position two of your pieces so that they are both rest on the same kind of cheese. On a unique kind of board (sliding tiles, always only partially revealed). Conceptually, it’s probably elegant enough for a six-year-old to understand. But we believe that it is best suited to kids who are old enough to appreciate the beauty of the game, the necessity for taking good care of it, and the complexity of the relationships between all the different kinds of moves you take on one turn. It’s probably a little too cute (wonderfully designed little wooden mice) for most boys of that age. But, given all those caveats, for the right players, kids, adults, and especially families, the game is the kind you may very well treasure, for ever.

There are some concerns about storage – given that there are so many pieces, and that the board is actually integrated into the box. You’ll find a thorough discussion of the ramifications of all this in this review. Our conclusion: despite all the caveats, the game is Major FUN.

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