Monday, September 12, 2016


I've reviewed a fair number of board games here on the blog. Friends and longtime readers will know that I tend to prefer the more involved strategy games. I've written about some simpler games, and I often put them in a category of "filler" -- something you play when you don't have enough time for one of the deep thinking games. But occasionally, something fast and fun comes along that doesn't feel to me like a "second choice" on game night.

The latest for me in that category is a dexterity game called Dr. Eureka. Each player gets three plastic test tubes that start half full, each holding two small balls of a matching color -- pink, purple, and green. A deck of cards is shuffled, and then revealed one at a time. Each card is a puzzle, a particular configuration of the six total balls divvied up somehow across the three tubes. Players race to pour their balls from tube to tube, trying to be the first to match the card, shout "Eureka!", and score a point.

A few rules govern this frenzied race. You can never touch a ball directly with your fingers -- you can only pour from tube to tube. If any of your balls spill out onto the table, you're out of the round. If you're looking to up the difficulty (for one player, or all), you can require that you must hold all three of your test tubes simultaneously, only placing them on the table when you're ready to declare "Eureka!"

Each round takes only a few seconds to play. A "first to 5 points" game takes only 5 to 10 minutes. There's definitely no strategic itch being scratched here at all, but I felt that was to the game's advantage. This isn't watered-down Agricola, it's juiced-up Jenga.

I'd give Dr. Eureka a B+. It's the sort of game that you probably wouldn't spend a whole night playing, but that you could squeeze into every game night at some point if you wanted.

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