23 November 2019
If you’re a roll and write fan, it’s a strong addition to your collection.
The recent glut of roll-and-write games has seen some fantastic new releases hit store shelves. Now they’re joined by 5er Finden, a simple game from family-friendly German publisher HABA which combines a quick setup and straightforward rules with a surprisingly taxing degree of challenge.
In each round, players roll a set of five dice showing a variety of symbols. Then they simultaneously search their personal square-grid player boards looking for contiguous groups of five boxes containing the collection of icons shown on the dice. It almost explains itself, but the game gets real mileage out of the idea with two different modes to discover.
In one, players simply race to find as many valid groups as possible on their sheets. At any point, someone can flip a sand timer counting down to the end of the round, and it makes for a real pressure-cooker sense of tension.
The second mode is a bit more thoughtful. You’ll play through 12 rounds trying to find just a single scoring group at a time. But the tiles you mark off stay that way for the remainder of the game, giving you less room to work with and making things progressively more difficult as you play.
There are some flaws. When you can’t find a set of point-scoring boxes, it’s advantageous just to flip the timer to impede your opponents. And the double-sided player boards have one side that’s the same for all players, making it possible for unsporting types to copy their rivals’ work. But 5er Finden is a fun and frantic test of your powers of perception.
5er Finden demands quick wits and careful observation, and racing to spot scoring groups before your opponents is enough to make your heart beat faster. It’s simple and accessible enough to play with kids, but its more demanding second game mode means you can ramp up the challenge if required. If you’re a roll and write fan, it’s a strong addition to your collection.
PLAY IT? YES
Designer: Jürgen P. Grunau
Artist: Oliver Freudenreich
This review originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.