Who wants to make some potions in the magic cauldron?
Magician’s Kitchen from Playroom Entertainment is a marble and memory game designed for children aged 5 and up. Players must each move four marbles to the appropriately-coloured “cauldron”, then move one final marble — the “fireball” — to the fireplace in the centre of the game board. The first one to deliver all his ingredients, and successfully “light” the fire by placing the final marble, wins the game! Easy, right?
Well, not really. There are a few snags along the way.
The players must move the marbles to the various cauldrons and to the central fireplace using cute wooden pawns that represent the Magician’s apprentices. The pawns have an indentation in the top (where the marble is placed) and a rocker bottom with a magnet embedded in the front. It is these magnets that provide the challenge in the game.
The game board sits right inside the bottom half of the box, and before each game the board is shaken gently, so that four ball-bearings trapped inside (underneath the bottom of the playing surface) roll around and come to rest at random locations. These are invisible to the players, but their force will be felt by the Magician’s apprentices!
Taking turns, players grasp the “magic wand” (a wooden dowel with a ball on the end) and steer their apprentices and marbles (usually one marble per turn) towards the appropriately-coloured cauldron. If the apprentice makes it safely to the cauldron and stops at the proper place before it (helpfully marked by a star on the “kitchen floor”), the magnet in the pawn’s rocker foot is pulled downwards (presumably by a bit of metal under the game board), and the marble is launched into the cauldron. Success!
All too often, however, the apprentice might clumsily “trip” as the hidden ball-bearings beneath the floor attract the pawn’s magnet, the marble is spilled, and the turn passes to the next player. Players must watch carefully to learn the locations of the hidden obstacles, and steer carefully to avoid them, as they ferry their four marbles to the various cauldrons.
The first player to deliver all four marbles will win the game if he or she can then launch the fire-ball marble into the fireplace at the centre of the board. This requires some practice: the marble must land just right in order not to roll or bounce back out.
The game calls upon memory and fine-motor skills, and the fact that the board’s hidden obstacles change location from one game to the next adds extra challenge. It is recommended for ages 5 and up, as the small marbles would pose a choking hazard for younger players. Magician’s Kitchen was a 2011 Spiel des Jahres Kinderspiel (Game of the Year – Children’s Game) nominee. Designed by Thomas Daum and Violetta Leitner, and originally published in Germany by Drei Magier Spiele.
In stock as of this writing.