Zitternix

Designer: Heinz Meister

Artist: Anja Dreier-Brückner

Publisher: HABA

This game actually reminds me of Pick-up-sticks, except that the sticks are vertical (Photo credits: James Barnes@BGG)

A dexterity game from HABA. This is actually one of the better ones we have tried. While Rhino Hero or Animals Upon Animals is more widely recognized, this one is actually decent. In Zitternix, players attempt to pull out individual wooden dowels of three different sizes from a bundle held together by a wooden ring. This bundle of dowels are propped up vertically, making the wooden ring precariously suspended mid-air as the dowels and ring both support each other. If enough dowels are removed from the ring, at some point the structure will collapse and ring will hit the table. The game ends right then and players will count points with the dowel having the thickest diameter (blue) scoring 3 points, the intermediate-sized dowel (red) scoring 2 points and the thinnest dowel (yellow) scoring a point. However, the player who collapsed the structure cannot win.

Each round, the active player rolls a die that will determine which color dowel has to be pulled out from the bundle. If the dowel is not there, then a random color dowel can be chosen.

Obviously, dexterity is important, but so is a light touch. The thickest dowel tends to be the support structure critical for suspending the ring in the center, but if enough dowels are pulled out from the core, the hollow structure will be more unstable and eventually collapse. However, I suspect that if the dowels are arranged in a particular manner, the structure itself is quite stable and will only collapse if they are tugged too hard. This means a gentle touch, and small fingers will help.

The game suggests that the person who collapses the structure cannot win. Which is fine if the game is played with more than 2 players, otherwise, scoring becomes irrelevant. This is a quick game, 5-10 minutes at most and can even end in the first round if playing with folks with clumsy fingers.

I like HABA dexterity games. They are usually no frills and super short with brightly colored wooden components. Zitternix is an excellent example. This is clearly a kid’s game, but can also be enjoyed by adults. There is not much beyond this activity though. There are no power cards, variants or any promos for the game. Just plain simple wooden sticks, a die and a ring. Just the way I like it.

Final word: Average (for gamers); Good (family gaming)

Kids Corner

6 years and 6 months: I didn’t log earlier plays, but clearly, this game is suitable for kids younger than 6. It is not hard to learn the game and like Gulo Gulo, small fingers and a light touch actually helps even out the odds for kids. So, my child likes it enough. However, dexterity and speed-type games aren’t really her forte. So, this one rarely comes out. But when it does come out, we actually enjoy it quite a bit. I think she likes this way better than Animals Upon Animals or even Rhino Hero. Oh well, this is likely the only type of dexterity, hand-eye coordination game that she will probably enjoy. She may get better as she grows older though.

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