Game On! #3: HABA’s Grubs Up, Who’s Grumbling!

It’s a Great Beast Feast!

And if you think you’ve figured out the answer to ‘who likes what’, think again. The rules to this game are ever-changing; and the quickest to adapt to these changes will be the one who triumphs over the rest.

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6 animal cards
1 wooden Fex figurine
6 plates
25 lion coins
18 food tiles
1 die

Recommended Age
2 – 4 players, aged 4 and above.

Good for Developing…
– Observation
– Speed (Quickness of Reaction)
– Various aspects of cognitive thinking, including (but not limited to) attention, memory, visual processing, and the ability to adapt quickly to changes

Before We Begin…
Randomly press the six plates into the animal cards. There is no fixed order for the animals to be laid out in, and the plates can go randomly into any animal card.

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The Storyline (Game Objective & Rules)
The lion and his friends are having a huge banquet tonight. It’s a party of picky eaters, and each animal prefers a different meal from the rest.

Your purpose in this game is to serve up the right dish to the right animal; and whoever is the quickest at recognizing which animal prefers what, will be rewarded with a precious gold coin from the lion.

How do we know what they like to eat? Well, simple really. The favourite dish of each animal is the biggest piece of food shown on their plates. Therefore, with reference to the picture above, the lion’s favorite dish would be the lollipop, the bear his fish, the elephant his chicken drumstick, the dog his cupcake, the alligator his banana, and the penguin, his jell-o.

Remember that these plates were pressed into the animal cards at random during the prep round. There is no one specific plate for any of the animals.

Keeping that in mind, the basic rule to remember throughout the entire game is that, the bigger the food on the animal’s plate, the better the animal likes it.

(i) Let’s kick off the game! Decide who starts first, and then roll the die! You will notice that the  die shows six different food items, all of which are reflected across the 6 plates on the animals cards. For purpose of explanation, let’s imagine that the first roll lands on the Cupcake.

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(ii) When the die settles, all players simultaneously search for the animal which likes Cupcake the most. Referring to the same animal cards above, you will realize that this would be the dog (how aptly so!).  The first player who spots this quickly places his hand on top of the dog card, and then fills out a corresponding food tile into one of the three empty circles.

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He then gets rewarded with a gold lion coin for his quick reaction.

(iii) As the game continues, you will encounter situations where the largest food symbol has already been filled out. When this happens, you can’t feed the animal with the same food again. Instead, look for the animal with the next biggest food symbol and fill him up.

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Taking the same game above as an example, if we were to throw a ‘cupcake’ again, which animal do you think should be fed with the next cupcake food tile?

If you said the lion, you are correct!

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After the dog, the lion is the animal with the next biggest cupcake on his plate; and therefore, the second cupcake food tile will go to him.

And of course, as the game progresses, if the die lands on the cupcake symbol again for the third time , the next animal to place the cupcake food tile in would be the elephant.

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(iv) What happens when all three animals with a particular food symbol have already been fed? Based on the example above, if the die symbol were to land on the cupcake again for the fourth time, there would be no more animals to place the cupcake food tile in. So then what happens?

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In instances where all three animals with the food symbol have already been fed, the first player to grab the wooden Fex figurine in the middle of the board wins a gold lion coin.

(v) The first player to collect five gold Lion coins will be considered to have won the entire game.

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What is this term ‘FEX Effect’, and why does it keep appearing in the game?

FEX is an innovative learning concept developed by the game experts at HABA, and is designed to fosters children’s executive functions. To put it simply, Executive Functions control our thinking and behavior, and are vital for successful learning and the controlling of one’s emotions.

HABA Games that have been branded with the ‘FEX Effect’ label are typically more challenging and intellectually stimulating. The developmental skills honed are more advanced and abstract, and can range from impulse control, risk management, quickness of adaptability, critical thinking, and problem solving, to even strategic and tactical thinking.

The FEX effect in this game contains a number of variations that changes the rules of play considerably. Each time this happens, players have to be quick in adapting their mind to the new rules and adhere to them accordingly. By doing this over and over, players will be sharpening their reaction to changes and ability to adapt to new situations, therefore enhancing their executive system on an overall.

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You’ll probably realize by now that some of the lion coins are printed on both sides. The FEX variation is where the more, colorful, side comes to play. Start a FEX-effect game of Grubs Up by stacking the gold coins with the lion facing up.

With the FEX effect,  the player flips over the topmost coin before throwing the die, to find out the special rule that will govern the rules of that particular round.

Here’s a brief rundown of how the rules change with each type of FEX variation:

 photo G9_zpsnexzn1dq.jpgSize Swap
Big becomes small with the Size Swap effect. Therefore, with the above game as an example again – instead of looking for the biggest cupcake, you now look for the animal with the smallest cupcake on his plate. Which,  in this case, is the elephant.

 photo G92_zpsfkp62tuv.jpgFood Swap
With the ‘Food Swap’ rule, you now have to interchange the food as shown on the tile. Let’s use the previous play as an example again: Instead of looking for the animal that likes cupcake the most,we now have look for the animal that likes lollipops the most. And in this case,  that would be the lion himself!

 photo G91_zpssaklzgx2.jpgAnimal Swap
Just like the Food Swap, but a tad trickier. With this rule, you have to interchange the animals as shown on the tile. Assuming that our dice is reflecting a ‘cupcake’, we now have to look for the original animal that likes cupcake the most (which is the dog), and then swap it around for the… bear!

 photo G93_zps3ajsyxf2.jpgNeutral Lion Coin
Lucky you! Some gold lion coins are identical front and back. In such cases, nothing changes, and the round is played as per normal.

Things to Take Note
– Grubs can get pretty confusing once the Fex effect comes into play and the game progresses.

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Using the game above again for easier illustration, what happens if the die lands on the ‘cupcake’ symbol for the second time under that same ‘Food Swap’ variation?

 photo G92_zpsfkp62tuv.jpgThe lion would already have been filled out from the first throw, so what next?

If you guessed the bear, you’re absolutely correct!

Since the largest lollipop has already been filled out, you look for the animal with the next biggest lollipop, which, in this case, is the bear.

. X .

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The same applies for the Animal Swap variation, although the thought process for this is considerably more challenging.

The first ‘cupcake’ symbol die throw would have directed us to the bear (a direct animal swap with the dog, who has the biggest cupcake),  but what happens when we throw a ‘cupcake’ again?

In this case, you’d have to look for the animal with the second biggest cupcake (the lion), and then do an animal swap with him (which will land you on the crocodile).

Do you realize the additional cognitive steps players will have to go through just to get to their intended animal, under this variation?

That is what the Fex effect is essentially all about; to push the players’ thinking capacity beyond their usual comfort zones .

The Better Team Recommends
 If the FEX effect sounds exciting but is all too confusing to implement at once, why not ease the variations into the game bit by bit? For instance, you could play a couple of rounds with one specific variation until everyone is comfortable with it, before moving on to experiment with the next. Take note that the swaps are different from one Animal Swap coin to the next (same goes for the Food Swap coins too), so don’t worry that things will get too boring!

(ii) For advanced Grubs players (and we really do mean advanced), try the Memory Variation on for size! After flipping over a tile, give yourselves 10-15 seconds (or even 5, if you’re a bunch of memory maestros!) to memorize the swap partners reflected on the tiles. This is really quite a challenge, so don’t say we didn’t warn you!


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