Elk Fest Review

One of the more unique dexterity games that I've played recently is Elk Fest.

In Elk Fest, each player is trying to help his moose get across the river (the table - and yes, it is called "Elk Fest", and you are using moose; there are certain things in life that you just have to live with, and this is one of them).  In order to move your moose, you must position the "stones" (discs) so that your moose is able to advance across the river without falling in.  Both players do this by taking turns flicking the stones and moving their moose if they can (and want to).  If you knock a moose into the river, or knock a stone out of the river, then your opponent will get to take extra turns.  The first player to successfully move his moose to the opposite platform is the winner!

The first thing that I like about Elk Fest is that it is a precision flicking game.  I love PitchCar and Crokinole, but in both of them, you can generally just flick your disc as hard as you can (obviously not when you're trying to score in the middle in Crokinole).  As long as you aim well in those games, you are generally rewarded for shooting harder.  However, with Elk Fest, you must be incredibly precise.  Since your moose is only about 1-2 inches wide, you do not have much leeway with getting the stones close together.  And, if you get them too close, then your moose isn't advancing very far.  So, again - it's all about precision.

This easily fits in my pocket.
The next pro for Elk Fest is that this is the only dexterity game that I can think of that can very easily be setup and transported.  If you decide not to carry the box (which really isn't even all that big - just a lot bigger than the components), then you're carrying around a game with 10 pieces in a bag.  This fits easily into my pockets.  And, once you arrive at your destination, all you need is a table - place your eight pieces and poof! you're ready to play.

Since this really isn't a complex game and there's not much more to say (I could try to write an entire paragraph out of "it's fun" if you'd like), I'll go ahead and give you the answer to why "Elk Fest" uses moose before I move onto my con.  (The instructions give me this reason, I did not come up with it all on my own.)  It's because games are made in Europe.  And, in Europe, many people speak a different language than I do - specifically, many of them (that play and design board games) speak German.  And, thus, the original name of the game is Elchfest - which, you know, sounds like "Elk Fest."  However, in German, it means "Moose Fest."  So, when playing, if it makes you feel better, you can pretend that you know German, and that you are pronouncing it Elchfest, which logically is a game about moose.

Playing on a Crokinole board is an option
There is only one real con that I can think of for Elk Fest.  Since you play it on any given table, your disks slide differently based on what table you play on - how smooth it's surface is, how much friction there is, and obviously how clean it is.  This is the downside to the ease of setup and transportation - since you don't provide the playing surface, your game may play quite differently based on what playing surface you use.  I'm also not 100% convinced that all of the discs slide exactly the same, either, but that part might just be in my head.  However, if you're like me and have things like a Crokinole board lying around, then you could always just play Elk Fest on that so that you know the surface you're playing on is smooth and even (though there is a hole in the middle to avoid).

Overall, I give Elk Fest an 8.5/10.  I really enjoy this little dexterity game, and I intend to continue playing it - especially when I don't want to carry around a more cumbersome game.

If you like dexterity games, you might also check out Caveman Curling and the games I mentioned previously - PitchCar and Crokinole.


  1. It seems to me that your "con" could also be considered "added variability". Every table you play on is like a different scenario, and you have to adjust your play to fit it.

    So it's a feature, not a bug!

  2. The North American Moose is also the Eurasian Elk. Which is confusing mostly because the American Elk is something else. :)

    But yes an awesome little game.

  3. Regarding elk vs moose: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moose#Etymology_and_naming

  4. This one sounds like fun! I haven't played many dexterity games, basically just the ones we made up using pennies. I'll keep an eye out for this one.