Designer: Brian Weinstock
Artist: Cyril Bouquet
Publisher: Blue Orange Games
Price: $19.28 Amazon.com
Tricky Trunks is a speed/dexterity game from Blue Orange Games. Using elephant pieces with hollow trunks, players race to pick up sets of colored balls. This an excellent kids game, and its “toy factor” makes it enjoyable for adults as well.
I have a strange love for marble games. Potion Explosion, Dimension, and Dr. Eureka are all regular staples of my game nights. Tricky Trunks is as much as toy as it is a game, but it’s very fun.
To play this game, everyone receives a really cool, plastic elephant piece. Using its long, tubular trunk, players race to pick up certain colored marbles, as indicated by an upturned card. Each elephant can hold up to eleven.
To start a round, a card is turned over, which indicates one of three challenges:
- Gather all the marbles shown on the card (the total number varies)
- Gather all the marbles of your own elephant’s color
- Gather any eleven marbles
The marbles are all placed in the game box, which is lined with a high-quality, neoprene mousepad-like material. In real time, players try to “suck up” the correct marbles, and the first person to do so wins the round and takes the card (worth one point). All players then empty the marbles from their elephants to reset the field, and another round occurs. The first person to earn ten points wins.
Tricky Trunks is basically a better version of Hungry, Hungry Hippos. Though it’s little more than a children’s game of color recognition, there is something weirdly fun about it. It’s the kind of game that, if played in a public setting, will make people stop and watch.
The production quality is very high, with delightfully cheery art and sturdy, attractive components. The “toy factor” is off the charts; those elephants are irresistible. They make a satisfying “thunk” sound when picking up a marble, and a spring-loaded latch on their tops allows the marbles to be dumped out. The material lining of the box is a nice touch, and it provides some give for overeager players.
Of the three Blue Orange titles I’ve reviewed recently, Tricky Trunks is my favorite. It’s just as much fun to PLAY the game as it is to play WITH the game. Little kids will have an absolute blast scrambling to pick up the marbles, and grown-up kids like myself will have an embarrassing amount of fun playing with the toys. (Seriously, when I first opened this box, I spent the first fifteen minutes giggling stupidly and “thunk”-ing marbles. My wife is a lucky woman.)
This game is a no-brainer for children. In my opinion, it ranks up there with Loopin’ Louie, Coconuts, and Animal Upon Animal as one of the best kids games there is. (And, at age 27, I technically fall within the “5+” age group listed on the box, so that’s how I’m justifying my enjoyment of this game.)
A review copy was provided by Blue Orange Games.
The Bottom Line
Tricky Trunks is an excellent children's game with amazing components and amusing gameplay.