Review: Kuck Ruck Zuck! – detective work at the zoo

Kuck Ruck Zuck - packaging

I really enjoy zoos, just like any other child. When we were in the zebra paddock, I wanted to take a picture with these striped runners. But my joy lasted only for a moment. Dad suddenly shouted and camera from his hand disappeared. Far and wide, there was no man. My parents sat me on the bench and went in search of an administrator. It seemed like an eternity, when I had to watch zebras actually stand, lie and do nothing. They did not look as fast as I imagined from the pictures and animated movies.

I was disappointed as well as my parents. When they returned, they helplessly shook their heads. Fortunately just before we walked through exit from the zoo, we were caught up by breathless gentleman with a winning smile. And he handed us the camera! They said, they found it lying on the road. When we looked at it, in addition to our pictures, there were also a number of others, new ones, with different animals photographed. Based on these photos, we can now find the thief!

Nothing but the resulting photographs and layout of animals in their paddocks will be available for small detectives, who begin playing the game Kuck Ruck Zuck. Created by , author of River Dragons (review in Czech) and Joomba (review). This time he connected his ideas with publishing company, from which we have already presented several interesting games. Magical illustrations were prepared by . Game is called Blink Click! In English and it was published in .

Kuck Ruck Zuck - game is ready

Kuck Ruck Zuck comes from a series of box with a yellow background. In the picture, there are animals, all posing for the camera lens. All it takes is to press the shutter and they are remembered for eternity. This time the box is significantly smaller, than with Shadow Magic (review), but it is not so small for you to expect only a card game.

And that is exactly, what this is about in the end. After lifting the lid, player gets a respectable pack of eighty cards and four pieces of zookeepers, who are guarding animals. But you also need an environment, where the photographic adventure will take place throughout. It consists of four puzzled pieces, that easily fit together and form a square board with sixteen paddocks. Each of them contains one smiling zoo creature.

Cards serve here as photographs, as if they came out from a Polaroid. In their foreground, there is one big animal and somewhere in the background is looking to be seen on a picture also another one. Cards are divided by a frame into variants, for which they are intended: basic (dark green) and advanced (light green).

Kuck Ruck Zuck - game in progress

At the beginning of the game, players put together zoo puzzle out of four smaller boards. Each side of the zoo must be guarded by one of four colored zookeepers. Even they can eventually be that surprisingly mysterious photographer, who has taken the new image on your camera. Players remove playing cards with light green frame and set they aside. Only cards with a dark green line around are needed, because we will now play the basic version. These cards are shuffled and each rival gets exactly six of them, but he should not look at them for now. Instead, he puts them on the table face down.

Players take turns to move. Whoever is actual active photographer, reveals one card from his deck, so that all participants (even himself) can easily see it. At that moment a race against time begins. Only the fastest can be winning detective, who finds out that unknown thief and author of image on the card.

Pair on the card determines the exact direction a position, from which photograph had to be taken. First animal or zookeeper in this direction must be the right answer. When its a pet, all it takes to win is to just shout its name. But it is not so simple with zookeepers, because players must catch the correct wooden figure first, to win the round.

Kuck Ruck Zuck - game in progress

In both cases, fastest player takes that photo as his reward. Game continues with revealing card by next player in turn, showing another picture and overlapping the previous one in case noone found answer. Thus opponents take turns until their whole supply of six cards is used. At this time, winner in declared based on a simple count of the collected photos.

It is a great pity, that Kuck Ruck Zuck as a children’s game is not well known. And we’re not talking only in limited dimensions of our Czech market, which lacks many other board games. Even the world does not know this game, even when it definitely deserves much more interest. This is an excellent game, that trains attention and a basic level of deduction. It puts great emphasis on the ability to react quickly and correctly at the same time. Playing rules confuse well, because reactions depend on the type of answers.

Distribution of animals on the board is always the same, otherwise it would be impossible to guarantee, that every card always has a solution. Replayability is therefore seemingly concern. Luckily, there is enough cards to ensure, that even after repeated playing, you do not remember answers to each card, although you react quickly. But this makes the game even more tense and everything strips down to reaction times.

Kuck Ruck Zuck - board detail

Advanced version definitely helps with diversity too. When light green cards are added, not only horizontal and vertical lines are now important, but images can be taken even in a diagonal direction. Number of cards added enriches the game more and makes it variable.

Each round, the most important thing is to locate main object on the board. You should then start to look around him for pet, that is in background on photo. Then you can simply look in the opposite direction and find author of that photo. This procedure is clear and its not easy to make a mistake, even with children and little bit of training. Everything thus depends purely and simply on the speed of the players and their ability to respond.

Kids love action games and this is an action-filled one. In addition, its all dominated by animals, which are additional bonus points for small players. Yet to enjoy entertainment will not be problem even for bigger players. But children will then have hard times to beat their parents or older siblings, so it is better to have them compete with each other.

Kuck Ruck Zuck - cards

Game time is determined by the number of cards dealt. Matches usually do not last longer, than fifteen minutes, but if participants are interested in longer game, they can simply extend the duel by dealing more of available cards. Number of opponents does not alter fun in any way, although in more, there is more tension, as with all similar reaction games.

Kuck Ruck Zuck will please all children and parents, because they can have great fun with it. We like photo idea about this game the most as well as the need to focus on the field of view. Entertaining way to train correct perception of space, yet Kuck Ruck Zuck does not forget, that its primary mission is to provide fun.

DesignerRoberto Fraga
ArtistBarbara Stachuletz
Year Published2012
# of Players2 - 6
Playing Time15
Mfg Suggested Ages6 and up
CategoryAnimals, Card Game, Children's Game, Deduction
Primary Name
Alternate NamesAnimo-Déclic !, Blink Click!, Flash!, Kijk eens naar het vogeltje!, ¡Foto sí, foto no!

Infos courtesy of More Infos.

Review: Kuck Ruck Zuck! – detective work at the zoo
Final word
Kuck Ruck Zuck is through and through a child's game. On the composition of the board, children must find photographer by his captured image. Newly revealed cards determine the direction, from which the picture was taken and players have to react quickly. Sometimes photographer is not an animal, but a zookeeper instead. At that moment, everyone must reach for his figurine instead of shouting names of animal. To determine the correct perpetrator, deduction should be involved. Game revolves around a sufficient number of cards, that provide entertainment as well as a variable experience across a fixed schedule, while allowing for controlled game time. Next level cards add diagonals to the game. But from an adult perspective, there is still no problem to percept correct solution quickly and children will have no chance to defeat them. Kuck Ruck Zuck is child's game to entertain any kid loving animals.
Reader Rating0 Votes
simple and clever mechanism
two possible reactions
number of cards sets the length of the game
fast game that constantly involves all players
two card levels
improves perception and perspective
adults represent too strong opponent for children
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