Speedy Eddy: Beyond Chutes & Ladders

Speedy Eddy is just enough like Chutes and Ladders so that you almost don’t have to learn anything at all in order to play it. If you’re a kid, and you have trouble with the whole winning and losing thing, you probably shouldn’t be playing either game.

On the other hand, if you’re a Chutes & Ladders (et. al.) kind of kid, Speedy Eddy is very interesting, in deed. Much more interesting, in fact, than either Chutes or Ladders.

As we have come to expect of games made by Blue Orange, Speedy Eddy is what you might easily call “lovely.” Made of wood, intricately illustrated and carefully themed. In this case, we have a game about racing snails, so the board is a snail-likishly spiral race track, the pieces look like snails and shells, even the pips on the big wooden dice look like snails.

But here is the really interesting part, wherein the nigh-unto Major fun is to be found: your snail (your piece) is wearing a shell that is actually anybody’s piece. As long as your snail has a shell, it moves the total of both dice. If your shell is blown off (by landing on a space whereupon shell-blowing-off forces abide), you can only use one of the dice to determine how far your actual snail goes. And, with the other die, you can move any shell. Any shell, see.

Very interesting. As game-wrinkles go, this one is subtle and rife with strategic implications. It’s also a little difficult to understand, a little frame-braking. Especially for little kids who play games where your piece is your piece and that’s all you can do anything about. Especially since at the beginning of the game, each snail starts with a shell of the matching color. A shell, like all shells, delightfully magnetically attached. Making the losing and replacing of shells part of the whole, shall we say, attraction.

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