Review: Gary Gouda – the quest for cheese

Gary Gouda - packaging

It seems there is no end to this maze. But my nose would not deceive me. Somewhere in the narrow corridors and many rooms, there is hiding yellow sweet surprise… I do not think about the danger, but just listen to my whiskers. I am increasingly closer, I could almost touch it.. But what is that? In the next room, there are sharp claws waiting for me! I was not paying attention and now I might be on the menu! Quickly away!

Such a surprise can wait for you in board game from . It was created by already in , while illustration were prepared by . It adds to ranks of other yellow HABA games as for example Shadow Magic (review).

The entire game is hiding in a huge yellow box, on whose cover title mouse Gary is waiting. It is not afraid of us and vice versa we should not be afraid of it. It cheerfully invites us inside, so we can also taste the sweet cheese and above all fun, which is located inside.

Gary Gouda - game is ready

The bottom of the box comes finished and shows us rooms, where players will be able to look for cheese with one mouse. In one of them is hidden wooden Gary the Mouse even with a mouse tail made of string. Meanwhile, enclosed in a bag, there is his archenemy – cat Kiki. Game also includes pieces of cheese, which belong to different rooms as shown by picture on their side. If you look carefully, you will notice, that they have the same size as Gary, with hole in one and dot on the other side, so they can be easily stacked.

You also need 24 plastic pieces of holes to play. Players insert these always at the beginning of the game into cracks between two cardboard panels, which make up each wall. By doing this, differently sized doors appear and mouse can squeeze only through some of them, base on how full belly it has. Last waiting to be discovered is a wooden dice, that is actually rather stick, which can bring four color results.

We have already preparing for beginning of the game by making random holes between rooms. Purple pieces always have to be placed near corners and guarantee access of mouse into their home. The rest of the orange plates need to be always shuffled and randomly distributed. This ensures, that no one knows, where can he pass and where not at the beginning of the match. All cheese tokens to collect are placed next to the board, while cat Kiki begins in front of any orange hole.

Gary Gouda - game in progress

Each player in his turn first deploys chunks of cheese to corresponding rooms based on image shown on those tiles. He does that, until there are four pieces hidden inside the house. Dice is used to determine the starting corner for Gary and then rolled for a second time. This color, on the contrary, indicates the corner, where mouse must return with its prey.

The number of turns a player can do with Gary is not limited. He can run around with the mouse and pick up every piece of cheese lying on the ground. This means, that player takes cheese tile and slides it under mouse figure. At the same time, he must be very careful not to be too greedy. The more cheese a mouse has in its womb, the greater it becomes and the less holes are large enough for it to squeeze through. But player obtains cheeses only at the moment, when Gary arrives safely to his home in a corner, which was identified by dice. Otherwise, he all cheese crumbs are discarded and nothing is gained.

Another player can fill the rooms with four cheese tiles. All mice must also pay close attention to cat, when moving. They may not pass through hole, where Kiki is guarding, under no circumstances. But the player, who fails in his escape with cheese, he may move the cat to watch another hole instead. Thus creates a possible path for the next time. The game ends, when players run out of pieces of cheese. Winner is the one, who gathered the most of them.

Gary Gouda - game in progress

Gary Gouda game is great not only for children, but for all who love cats or mice. At first glance, it is more of a pun, but inside hides a really sophisticated and challenging game, that rewards not only memory, but also proper planning.

Players must find the path across sixteen rooms in the maze and accrue as many pieces of cheese. This is not easy, because all doors look the same at first glance. In doing so, however, mouse can fit into some of them only with empty stomach, while it can run through others even with swallowed all four pieces of cheese.

Each combination does not have solution and chance to collect all four cheese tiles is an exception. You also have to take into account, which room you need to finish in, because you must move your mouse accordingly. Sometimes, it is better not to risk and be content with less.

Gary Gouda - game in progress

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage is in the fact, that with every mistake, numbers of pieces significantly decreases and match gets shorter. It means, that players chances are impacted by accident. Therefore, it is not wrong to use a variant, in which players put failed pieces back face down. Next time, someone can pull it intentionally or not. You will be playing with it a little longer, which is good.

Children from the age of four can now embark on fun with a mouse. Large pieces, dice and especially interesting mice pawn is very easy to attract small players. However, the very mechanism of squeezing through holes is, what makes this into a keeper. Beautiful processing is yet another thing, where Gary Gouda really excels.

Gary Gouda - tiles

Gary Gouda is excellent children game, which brings the totally unique way of playing. Mice size progressively increases, which guarantees absolutely great overall impression. Game puts emphasis on memory and ability to plan well, when it does not last for very long and its over within a quarter of an hour. This makes it ideal for the little ones. But Gary Gouda holds challenge even to parents, who will gladly return to cheese cottage with their offspring.

DesignerGuido Hoffmann
ArtistMichael Schober
Year Published2011
# of Players2 - 4
User Suggested # of Players Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players
(4 voters)
Playing Time10
Mfg Suggested Ages4 and up
User Suggested Ages3 and up
(3 voters)
Language DependenceNo necessary in-game text
(1 voters)
CategoryAnimals, Children's Game, Memory
MechanicMemory, Pick-up and Deliver, Push Your Luck
FamilyAnimals: Cats, Animals: Mice
Primary NameGary Gouda

Infos courtesy of More Infos.

Review: Gary Gouda – the quest for cheese
Final word
Gary Gouda is a unique children game. Mouse can move only between rooms, where it fits with its belly. Players collect pieces of cheese, which are placed under its pawn. Some of the holes are bigger than others and a mouse can be trapped without a chance to escape. In this case, it loses all the accumulated cheese. Games are fast and quality pieces ensure, that you will fully enjoy the game even with the smallest children. And parents will also have fun, because they know, that their children train memory and door is changing with every game. Chances are indeed partly dependent on luck, but all this is offset to an excellent idea. Gary Gouda is another beautiful game, that belongs to every family.
Reader Rating0 Votes
luxury processing
unique idea of filling mouse belly
trains memory and planning
each match is different
four years up
chance to gain cheese is dependent on luck
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