SNAP Review – Go Cuckoo!: A Nest for All Ages
Cuckoos don’t build their own nests.
That’s why Kiki Cuckoo needs your help!
Did you know that cuckoos don’t build their own nests? Kiki Cuckoo never learned to build one, and now she needs your help! Elliot helps Andrew and Anitra explain this cute all-ages dexterity game from HABA.
Getting started with Go Cuckoo! couldn’t be much simpler. Take off the top of the can, and remove the eggs and the wooden figure of Kiki Cuckoo. Leave the sticks in the can and spread them out; this becomes your “nesting site”.
Divide the eggs up equally among the players, and set any extra eggs aside. Let’s play!
On your turn, pull a stick out of the can. If both ends of the stick have the same color, you’re done! Place the stick horizontally into the nesting site, and gently place your egg into the nest, balancing it on the few sticks already placed.
If the ends of the stick don’t match, pull another stick, whose top matches the bottom of the last stick you pulled. If that one doesn’t have matching ends, you can try a third time. At any point, if you get a stick with matching ends, you can place all the sticks and one egg; otherwise, place the sticks and end your turn.
What happens if you can’t balance an egg and it falls?
If the egg falls onto the table, you take it back into your collection. If the egg fell down into the can, don’t reach your hand in to grab it! Instead, take an egg from the player who has the most.
What happens if a stick falls down during your turn?
Your turn ends immediately. Place all your sticks in the nest and pass to the next player.
What do you do if you don’t have any eggs left?
Take Kiki Cuckoo and place her in the nest. If she balances and nothing falls out, you win! If anything falls out of the nest, follow the rules from previous turns.
The age recommendation on this is just right. Anyone four years old or older can enjoy this game. It’s not quite simple enough to be a “first” game for very young children.
For years, we’ve recommended Zitternix from HABA as a great short game for parents to play with very young children, but it’s now out of print. Go Cuckoo! skews a little bit older and runs a little longer, but uses the same principles and is very fun.
Go Cuckoo! feels like the opposite of the game Kerplunk: instead of removing sticks and hoping no marbles fall, you add new sticks every turn and keep placing more eggs.
It’s quick to play and lighting-fast to clean up.
The open-ended rule to “place a stick horizontally” allows older children and adults to use as much strategy as they want. You can place sticks around the outside of the nest or in other ways that make it harder for the other players to nestle their eggs in safely.
It’s also easy to adjust the rules to accommodate younger children: let them ignore the color rules and add an egg every time.
We love the aesthetic; at the end of every game, we feel accomplished in building our nest.
With fewer than four players, there are a lot of eggs to divide up, and it can make Go Cuckoo! feel a bit too long. This is easy enough to remedy by setting aside some of the eggs at the beginning of the game.
The circular can is a little hard to store on our game shelf, but it works well as the “nesting site” for game play and it’s sturdy. A great fit for kids!
The Family Gamers received a copy of Go Cuckoo! from HABA for this review.
SNAP review music is Magellan, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?
Number of Players: 2-5
Age Range: 4-99
Play Time: 15 minutes