BrettSpiel is a blog about board game design, written by game designer Brett J. Gilbert.


Out of the Hat: A first look at Karnickel


The wraps are off — and the rabbits have emerged from their proverbial hideaway! — on my new game from Lookout Spiele. Karnickel will be available at SPIEL in Essen in just a few short weeks, and here’s the low-down!


Every bunny knows that rabbits love the countryside — and carrots, of course! The best carrots of all grow between the train tracks — but you have to keep an eye out for trains! Roll the dice and hop your rabbit to the best carrot patch; as long as you don’t need to flee out of the path of the train, you can happily nibble away.

Karnickel is a fast-playing, devious little family game for 2–4 players, ages 6+, that plays in a snappy 15 minutes and has always been (although I would say this, wouldn’t I?) one of my favourite designs. I am absolutely thrilled that Hanno, Klemens and the crew at Lookout loved the game as much as I did — and specifically loved it enough to publish!

The game first appeared on these pages almost 3 years ago when I posted photos of the very first prototype. In truth, 90% of the game was already there — the trickiest part was working out exactly how the dice play that drives the heart of the game should work. That only emerged through plenty of playtesting with my family over the following Christmas.

The game travelled around in my metaphorical back pocket for the next year or so, and in 2012 went with me to Granollers for the Fira Jugar X Jugar, and to the UK Games Expo in Birmingham.

It was in Birmingham that Hanno Girke of Lookout just happened to be passing through the Playtest Zone during a particularly riotous playtest of the game with four young gamers. He came over, intrigued by the ruckus, and introduced himself. The rest, as they say, is history!


The game in full flow in Birmingham. Do you know these boys? If so, I would love to send them a copy!

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