Saturday, September 1, 2012

Review -- HAAB

Haab from Mindlink games is one of those games which speaks to the renaissance of board gaming these days aided by the ability to self-publish and self-promote these days.
Game board designers have always been able to get games made, but having a shot at selling copies of a self-published game are certainly enhanced today by the Internet. The 'Net through game-related sites, video presentation to draw attention and teach rules, and more reviewers taking interest in new games, has really opened the doors for designers.
Haab, by designer Marc Di Stefano would likely be completely unknown to yours truly if not for the Internet.
Di Stefano has created an abstract strategy game which plays much like a smaller board checkers variant -- perhaps more correctly a Checkers 2000 derivative.
Checkers 2000 is perhaps my favourite checker game, with numbered pieces restricted to jumping only other pieces of equal or lesser value. It's the same with Haab.
Haab also allows players to jump their own pieces to set up position, again something Checkers 2000, (released a decade earlier than Di Stefano's creation), does the same.
Di Stefano does offer a twist or two, giving each of the player's six pieces, some moderate powers, the ability to push another piece one space on the small 23-space board being an example.
As a game Haab, with the pieces representing symbols on the Mayan Zodiac, Di Stefano has sister games such as Junishi based on the Chinese Zodiac with slightly different powers, it works pretty well at least in terms of simplicity.
Then there is the issue of production quality.
Haab is what I term an artisan game in terms of its production.
The pieces are small wooden discs, a bit finicky to pick up being as thin as they are. The symbols are stamped in the wood but the small size means they lack definition.
The board is printed on the cloth bag, which means it's a small package, and very lightweight, so it fits in a backpack easily. Haab is a take and play anywhere game.
The game sells for six bucks, so price wise, the value is hard to beat even with lower production values.
As an easy carry, simple to play, checker-style game with a few wrinkles, you just can't go far wrong with Haab.
Check the game out at
If anyone is interested in this game, or other boardgames feel free to contact
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper April 11, 2012 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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