Gulo Gulo

  • Designer: Wolfgang Kramer, Jurgen Grunau, Hans Raggan
  • Publisher: Rio Grande Games
  • Plays 2–6
  • Ages: 5+ (in reality, more like 3+)
  • Playing Time: 15–20 minutes
  • Initial Release: 2003
  • Elevator Pitch: Kids dexterity game in which you have to pull a colorful egg from a bowl without knocking over a precariously placed stick.
  • Roar Score: 4/5

It almost doesn’t seem fair to review this game. It’s long out of print and incredibly hard to find. But, if you somehow find a copy for a reasonable price, GRAB IT. Wolfgang Kramer is one of my favorite board game designers, and this one is a real gem.

It’s a simple enough dexterity game. You set up a series of tiles leading toward a smallish wooden bowl filled with colorful jellybeans. Those jellybeans are actually wooden eggs of various colors and sizes.

“The Wolverine, also known as Gulo Gulo, is the most prominent member of the marten family. This is why he is so hungry and when he sees a nest full of eggs, he is unable to keep his paws off them. Junior Gulos are just as keen on lady swamp vultures’ eggs. Unfortunately for Gulo junior, he was caught by the lady herself while attempting to steal one of her eggs and has now been detained.”

You play as a gulo trying to save this captive baby gulo. Flip over a tile, reveal a color. You then have to remove an egg of that color without knocking over the (top-heavy) stick standing up within the nest of eggs. Ostensibly, this stick is the “alarm” that will alert the vulture to your thievery, which should send you running.

Succeed and move your gulo to that tile. Fail, and move backward. Keep going until you reach the end. The last tile space is a stack of five. One of those tiles is a purple egg. Flip that tile, remove the purple egg (without knocking over the stick), and you win!

I didn’t think this game would be as big a hit as it’s turned out to be. Zoey loves it and whenever we have game time, she asks to play this first. Maybe it’s because she always wins?

Little fingers excel at this game. They’re a definite asset. Big, fat adult fingers are far too clumsy to really be of much use. Pretty much every turn, Zoey pulls out her egg without a hitch—even if it’s at the bottom of the pile. Me? The egg could be right on top and I’d knock over the stick.

We fudge a few of the rules to make it more playable (but, to be fair, there are a few places where the rulebook isn’t all that clear). For example, when we play with Sam (who’s only 2), we allow the stick to fall down and touch the side of the bowl. You only “fail” when the stick falls completely out of the bowl. (Trust me, this is beneficial for 2-year-olds and adults alike). With older kids, you can be a little stricter with the rules.

Here’s Zoey’s take the rules:

Verdict? Fantastic. I wish it were more widely available (and I’m not alone), but we’ve got our fingers crossed for a reprint. In the meantime, we’re not letting this one go. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had this exact conversation with Zoey: “Hey, Zoey, want to play a game?” “Yes! Gulo Gulo!”

Jamie is a publishing/book nerd who makes a living by wrangling words together into some sense of coherence. He's the founder and owner of The Roarbots and also a contributor to Syfy Wire, StarWars.com, and GeekDad. On top of that, he hosts The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, which celebrates creativity in popular culture, science, and technology by talking to a wide variety of people who contribute to it.

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