While the English rules translate this game as Hedgehogs in
a Hurry, a more accurate translation might be Hedgehogs
in a Huff. Regardless of what you call it, Igel
Ärgern is a fun little game of racing hedgehogs for
2-6 players, best with 3-5 in the basic game.
Doris & Frank are a very good team - a married couple, Frank
writes the rules and Doris supplies the art and graphics. I love
Doris' artwork, so the board's hedgehogs are quite charming to me.
I have the second edition, which includes hedgehogs drawn on the
pieces, so you can distinguish them. Some of the variants supplied
with the game require you to be able to distinguish hedgehogs, and
this is a very nice way to do it.
The basic game is quite simple, and plays in under an hour, usually.
Each player has four hedgehogs which start distributed among six
lanes, in the first column of a racetrack. Some of the hedgehogs
are stacked on top of others, of course, since there are only six
lanes, and all have to start in the first column - six spaces.
Each player's turn is divided into three phases, one of which is optional:
That's basically it: roll a die, possibly move a hedgehog one space
sideways, move a hedgehog one space forwards. The first player to
get three of their four hedgehogs in the final row wins the game.
- Roll a d6, note the number.
- Optionally, you may move one of your hedgehogs sideways
one lane. You may not move a hedgehog that is covered by another
hedgehog. You may not move an opponent's hedgehog in this phase.
- Move one hedgehog in the lane corresponding to the number rolled
on the d6 in step one, one space. This can be any hedgehog (even
an opponent's) not covered by another piece. A hedgehog must
be moved forward if possible - though it's legal to move your
hedgehog sideways out of a lane, emptying the lane, so there are
no hedgehogs to move forward in a given turn. If there are multiple
hedgehogs which can be moved, the player whose turn it is has the
choice of which one moves - it does not have to be his/her own.
There is a catch, however: each lane has one black space in it,
staggered throughout the board. If a hedgehog moves into a black
space, it can't move out of the black space until every hedgehog
is in the same or a more advanced column! Thus if you move your
hedgehog up to the space just before a black space, you'll find it
in the black space if anyone else rolls that lane before
your next turn. Sometimes it's worth taking the risk, however.
The game has lots of subtleties you wouldn't expect from such a
simple system. For example, you might think you're clever by moving
yourself forward, but if someone can jump on top of you, and then
someone else on top of them, and so on, you'll find it's a long
time before you can move again! These hedgehogs definitely work
on the "first in, last out" principle ... or "Pig pile on yellow!"
as one of my players put it ...
Sometimes it pays to move sideways, sometimes it doesn't - and
sometimes you'll have to take a chance one way or the other. Learning
the nuances of the sideways move is a big part of the tactics in this
One of the more amazing things about Igel Ärgern
is the additional rulebook with 40(!) variants included. I only
like just over a third of these variants, but that's still 15
different ways to play the game! Nicely done - my congratulations
to Doris & Frank for including that. I love variations on
games, and wish more games came with lots of variants. Some
of the variants change the way the die is read, or how many dice
to roll, or the use of the black spaces, or a scoring system, or
ways to make the game better with fewer players or with more players,
or change the movement rules slightly, etc., etc.
All in all, a fun, light game I recommend - very suitable for
families as well as an all-adult group.
My own contributions to the variants:
The Mud Variant
When moving a piece onto a black space, turn it face down. (The
second edition set has drawings on one side of the markers - you'd
need to add something to one side of the markers in the first
edition set.) When a face-down piece is chosen to "move"
forward, it doesn't actually move out of the space - instead,
flip it face up. (A face-down piece cannot be chosen to
move sideways, and only the top-most face-down piece in a stack
may be chosen for forward movement, of course.) A face-up piece
on a black space can move normally - either sideways or forward.
Thus the black spaces act like mud, to slow pieces down - much less
fierce than the standard rules, which means mud actually makes for
a lighter, quicker game.
The Slinky Variant
When moving forward, if you choose a space which has more
than one hedgehog on it, you may move the top piece as normal,
or you may "slinky" the whole pile. To slinky a pile, take
the top hedgehog in a pile and move it one space forward, then the
second hedgehog in the same pile and move it on top of the one
which just moved, and the third to the top of the pile just formed,
and so on, until the whole pile has moved one space forward, but
is now in reverse order! Once you start to slinky a pile, you have
to go all the way to the bottom - it's either only the top hedgehog
moves as normal, or the whole pile moves forward, reversing order
Of course, if you move a pile onto another pile, that bigger pile can
be slinkied forward the next time the column moves.
The 270-degree Variant on the Slinky Variant
You can slinky
a pile when moving sideways or forward in this variant. As
above, you can choose to slinky a pile or simply move the top piece
when moving sideways, and if you decide to slinky, you must slinky
the entire pile.
The Grimpen Mire Variant
"... like that great Grimpen Mire, with little green patches
everywhere into which one may sink and with no guide to point the
If, at the beginning of your turn, all of your hedgehogs are covered
by other players' hedgehogs (hey, it's happened to me!), you may
change one black space after moving a hedgehog forward. Take a
movable yellow-space piece (supplied in the second edition) and
cover up one black space. Then take a movable black-space piece
and place it on any yellow space. Exception: you may not change
any space which has one or more hedgehogs on it.
- Dr. John Watson, in The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Quicksand variant of the Grimpen Mire variant:
You can place the yellow and black spaces on spaces containing
hedgehogs, but: both spaces have to have at least one
hedgehog of the same color. That is, if you convert a black
space with a blue hedgehog on it to a yellow space, then you must
also convert a yellow space with a blue hedgehog on it to a black
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