April 15, 2024

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The Needle in the Haystack – Children's Game Review, Test, Criticism

The Needle in the Haystack – Children's Game Review, Test, Criticism

The children's game The Needle in the Haystack by Thomas Sellner (Schmidt Spell) is just the way I like it: it's quick to set up, it's quick to read, and everyone can start playing. The game is available for 2 to 4 players in a practical travel game size. The animal illustrations on the cards are very cute and invite you to play.

Rules: How to play The Needle in the Haystack

The game principle is simple: using a pitchfork card, players try to find the proverbial needle in the haystack. As the game progresses, the haystacks grow and it becomes more and more confusing for everyone as to where to find the needle.

When the needle (a card with a hamster and a needle) is found, the other players take another turn. Then the points are calculated. A needle card counts three points and each animal counts one point. Animals are attracted throughout the game by using the appropriate food cards.

Fun game, pitchfork card and rule modifications

The Needle in the Haystack - Playing Cards - Photography by Schmidt Spiel

There are specific rules for flipping haystacks using the Pitchfork card, but we changed them after the first game. I tested the game with a ten-year-old girl. Turning the cards over caused her some difficulty. So we've expanded the rule that cards can't be moved too much.

As the game progresses, the haystacks become larger and more confusing. Despite playing many games, I haven't been able to figure out exactly what tactics will help me in this game. I have the impression that the luck factor in this game is very high. In the course of various tests, we applied the professional straw picker rule. To do this, we did not take the food cards we found in the haystacks out of the game, but rather set them aside in our display to keep them ready as attractants for later animals. This led to at least a little more tactics and immediately increased enjoyment of the game.

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Opportunities for the needle in the haystack game

Children's game

The Needle in the Haystack is a game for children ages 5 and up. It will be a game for me at work that I will use as a fill-in for a break, where I only have to briefly explain the rules and I can easily limit the game to 15 minutes. I also find it suitable as a travel or souvenir toy.

Information about the needle in the haystack

  • Title: Needle in a Haystack
  • Publisher: Schmidt Spiel
  • Author: Thomas Sellner
  • Number of players (from to): 2-4
  • Age (from or to in years): 5
  • Duration in minutes: 15
  • Vintage: 2023