How to Play
- Shuffle the trees and randomly place one tree in the forest by each blue spot on the gameboard.
- Each player selects a playing piece and places it on one of the spaces in the village.
- Shuffle the cards and place the top one face up in the castle.
- Roll the dice to determine who starts the game.
Playing the Game
The objective of the Enchanted Forest is to find the objects requested by the King. The face up card on the castle shows what item that the King is looking for. At the beginning of a player’s turn they roll both dice. The player uses both dice separately moving the number of spaces on one die and then the spaces on the other die. While moving a player can move in any direction except that they must move in the same direction for the entirety of each die. A player can move in one direction with one of their dice and in a different direction for the other die they rolled. While moving if a player ever lands on a space occupied by another player by exact count from either dice, that player is sent back to the starting space in the village.
While moving around the board players will land on the blue spaces on the gameboard. By landing on one of these spaces by exact count, the player is able to look under the corresponding tree. The tree is put back onto the space where it was after the player looks at it. Players should keep the identity of the item found secret from the other players.
When a player knows the location of the object the King is looking for, they head towards the castle. In order to guess the location of the item that the King is looking for, the player has to land on the key space by exact count by using one or both of the dice. The player then points towards the tree that they think is hiding the object the King is looking for. The guessing player looks at the tree.
- If the player was right they show the tree to the other players and take the face up card to indicate that they earned a point. The next card is flipped over and the process continues. The player’s piece stays at the castle.
- If the player was wrong they put the tree back and move their piece back to the village.
Whenever a player rolls doubles they have a couple choices on how they would like to use the dice:
- A player can use the numbers rolled like a normal roll and move the corresponding number of spaces.
- A player can move their piece to any unoccupied blue space on the gameboard and look under the tree.
- A player can move to the first space beyond the stone bridge by the castle. If they are already past the stone bridge they can move straight to the key space and make a guess.
- A player can change the face up card. Shuffle up all of the cards (including the card that was face up) and choose a new top card.
Winning the Game
The first player to acquire three cards wins the game.
Enchanted Forest was one of the first winners of the Spiel Des Jahres award back in 1982. Winning the Spiel Des Jahres is a significant accomplishment and usually indicates a good board game that people should check out. The earlier Spiel Des Jahres winners have a tendency to be a little outdated though so I didn’t know how good Enchanted Forest was going to be. Enchanted Forest looks like a children’s game and it probably wouldn’t have been something that I would have tried if it wasn’t for the fact that it won the Spiel Des Jahres. So was Enchanted Forest worthy of the Spiel Des Jahres award that it won? Personally I don’t think so.
Not knowing off the top of my head what board games came out in 1982, due to the fact that I wasn’t alive yet, I can’t necessarily say that the Enchanted Forest didn’t deserve the award but I can confidently say that the game would never have won the award today. It might be a finalist in the Kinderspiel Des Jahres (Children’s Game of the Year), but I don’t think it would win that award either if it was released today. I think that is mostly because while the game did some really interesting things for its’ time, the game feels kind of outdated at this time.
Basically Enchanted Forest is what you would get if you combined a roll and move with a memory game. You roll the dice to move around the gameboard and try to land on the blue spaces to see what is hidden under the trees. You then have to try and remember as many of the items as possible. The game’s memory mechanics are not bad. The roll and move mechanics are better than a lot of games since you can use both dice individually in order to have more choice in how you move your piece around the gameboard. For its’ time period this was probably a pretty innovative mix of genres. The late 1980s and 1990s is when board gaming really started to find its’ grove. Prior to the late 1980s most games were roll and move games that didn’t have a lot of strategy.
Looking at Enchanted Forest you would think that it is a children’s game. The game feels like it was made for children but it can be enjoyed by adults as well. The game is really simple to learn since all there is to the game is remembering the locations of the items and rolling the dice. The game’s theme should appeal to children. Young children should have no trouble playing the game should enjoy it. Young children probably won’t be that good at the game though unless they have a good memory since a good memory is key to winning the game.
Basically success in the game comes down to two things: luck and memory. Like all roll and moves, luck is a driving factor in who wins the game. While being able to use the dice independent of each other reduces some of the luck (a great addition in my opinion), the player who rolls best has the best chance in the game. You could have great memory but if you don’t roll the right numbers you won’t win. You need to roll well to land on the blue spaces as well as the key space. You could know where the current item is located and yet not get the card if another player reaches the key space before you. Another area where luck comes into play is with the item card that is flipped over. Since you have no idea where the items are going to be located you pretty much just need to guess. Some players will end up getting lucky by finding the items that are being asked for right away. This gives that player an advantage over the other players that searched a different section of the forest. While good memory and strategy can help you in the game, luck will regularly decide who ends up winning.
Other than luck, memory plays a big role in who ends up winning the game. Unless you are extremely lucky, you need a good memory to win the game. Basically whoever can remember the most items from the forest has a big advantage in the game. There are essentially two different ways that you can play Enchanted Forest. You could play the game where you look through the trees hoping to find the item that the King wants and then heading to the castle. This strategy doesn’t really work since it tips off the other players to the location of the item that the King is currently looking for.
Your other option is to take a more systematic approach to the game. In this approach you systematically visit all/most of the trees hoping to remember the locations of the different items. If you have a decent memory you should be able to remember at least one side of the forest which will give you an advantage in the game. This means that you will be able correctly guess over half of the cards. Knowing half the forest give you an advantage for items you don’t know since you know that they must be on the other side of the forest. You then either know where to search or you can end up making an educated guess.
This educated guess idea actually kind of ruins the game in some ways. I ended up winning the game because I knew one half of the forest and then made a lucky educated guess. I got two cards because they were cards from the side of the forest that I checked. After getting the second card I was still at the castle so I decided that I might as well guess the location of the next card since I knew it was on the other side of the forest. On my first guess I just so happened to guess the location of the other item. This illustrates a problem with the game in that there is not a large enough punishment for incorrectly guessing the location of an item. Your only punishment is being sent back to the start space which could be seen as a positive if you were headed to that side of the board anyway. The game should have made you lose a turn(s) or possibly lose a card that was already won for each incorrect guess.
While the game has some flaws and doesn’t seem that innovative today, I have to commend the game on doing a good job combining a memory and a roll and move game. Two genres that I didn’t think would work well together actually do and make for a semi enjoyable game. I am generally not a big fan of either genre and yet I thought they worked better together than they do separately. Even though I am not a big fan of memory games, Enchanted Forest is probably one of the better memory games that I have played.
Despite being an older game, it didn’t surprise me that the component quality for Enchanted Forest was quite good. I am always a sucker for interesting Meeple designs and the little adventurer Meeples are a nice addition to the game. The plastic trees are also pretty nice. The cards are made of thick cardboard instead of thin cardstock that most games would have used. To top it all of the game’s artwork is really nice.
Even though I don’t think it deserved the Spiel Des Jahres that it ended up winning, Enchanted Forest did some interesting things with the roll and move and memory genre. The game seems a little outdated as I am guessing that there is another game that has expanded on what the Enchanted Forest did. The game also relies heavily on luck and memory. Despite not being a big fan of roll and move games or memory games I have to say that the Enchanted Forest is probably one of the better memory games that I have played.
While it is not exclusively a children’s game and adults can have fun with it, I think Enchanted Forest is more of a game to play in a family setting. I don’t really see Enchanted Forest being the type of game that hardcore gamers are going to want to play. If you hate memory games I don’t see you enjoying Enchanted Forest. If you like or at least don’t mind memory games though and you can find Enchanted Forest for cheap, it might be worth picking up.
If you would like to purchase Enchanted Forest you can purchase it on Amazon, here.