David Parlett
David Parlett's Gourmet Games


A modest menu of my published games

This is the title of a book I was once planning to write but probably now won't get around to. But it's too good a title to waste so I'll use it here to present a survey of all my published games from 1974 to date.


DP at Essen Learning Youngsters
Pictures taken at the game's first public outing in Essen

Katarenga is a chess-flavoured two-player abstract published by Huch Spiele in 2017. Played on a variable board, it tasks you to be the first to get two of your pawns across the board to the back rank. How a pawn moves depends on the colour of the square it occupies - red like a rook, yellow like a bishop, green like a knight, blue like a king - so any given pawn keeps changing identity, which can take a bit of getting used to. To add to the fun, the arrangement of colours on the board varies from game to game, with some 24,576 different possibilities. And the first player can choose which of the four sides to start from, giving 98,304 possible opening positions before the first move is made!

I originally called this game Colorado, to suggest its colourful nature. Huch preferred Katarenga, which is vaguely suggestive of Chaturanga, the ancestor of chess. Apart from the basic game, the same equipment and rules of movement can be used for a range of other games (including the original "Colorado"), varying from deceptively simple to fiendishly complex. For further details, please see Katarenga

Chicken Out!

Piatnik version Gibsons version Scaredy-Hare box The aim of the game is to play out all your cards. The cards have different numbers of chickens on them from 1 to 11. Everybody in turn plays a card and calls out the total number of chickens they come to. If you bring it up to exactly 21 you sweep them aside and play out as many more as you like, but if it’s over 21 you’re ‘bust’ and must take all the cards played and add them to your hand. If you’re frightened of busting you can ‘chicken out’ instead, and then get rid of some more. But the problem is that you must hold your cards face down so you never know what's coming out next. Some cards are Jokers in the form of foxes. They sometimes help you and sometimes mess you up. Not a game of great skill, but more fun the faster you play. Chicken Out! has won a Creative Play award from Toy World (category: Indoor Games 8-11 years).

Chicken Out! is based on my original card game Bravado played with a standard pack. I love Piatnik's box and card designs by Rooobert [sic] Bayer, for the version published by Piatnik in several European countries in 2017. Gibson Games have also published it in the UK and Ireland. Less exciting is this Russian version (right) by Hobby World. Since "chicken out" isn't a Russian phrase, they've changed it to "Brave Hares", for which an English-language equivalent might be "Scaredy-Hare", since "brave" in this context is ironic, if not sarcastic. I'd have been happier if it hadn't been designed for the kindergarten.

Around the World in 80 Days

 Around the World box This new(ish) game has occasioned some discussion in BoardGameGeek, as it uses the same mechanism as Hare & Tortoise and several correspondents have been wondering whether it counts as a new game or as another iteration of H&T. There's a good explanation for this. The idea of using this mechanism was suggested to me by Benoît Forget of Purple Brain Creations, as the next in their series of games based on the classics. (They already did their own version of Hare & Tortoise some years ago!) It was my idea to increase the number of squares from 64 to 80 (obviously), which necessitated some rearrangements to ensure the game was still balanced and played well. Benoît contributed some additional ideas, including yet another way of dealing with the "hare squares" (as they previously were). I'm very pleased with the excellent box and board designs. Published by Iello and launched at Essen in October 2016 the game will appear in both French and English editions.

4 Seasons

4 Seasons box

This trick-taking card game is a themed-up version of Ninety Nine published (appropriately enough!) by the Dutch company 999 Games. It was first shown in 2016 at the Spellenspektakel gaming event at Eindhoven.

Roman Dice (Roman Poker)

A dice game with Roman numerals, David Parlett's Roman Poker game Roman Poker is all that remains of a Roman chariot race game called Right Round Rome, which half a dozen manufacturers liked enough to play-test extensively before deciding that it was too complicated. So I ditched the board and concentrated on devising games of skill to play with the dice alone. Johannes Krenner, of White Castle Games, added some Joker cards to turn it into a longer and more exciting game for two to six players. It was the publisher Amigo's idea to call it Roman Poker, which I wouldn't have done as it bears no relation to Poker. But I'm very pleased with the design and artwork they produced. Here's how to play it. A French version (AVÉ - Ils sont fous, ces Romains!" is available from Gigamix and an Italian ("Poker Romano") edition from Giochi Uniti.

Star Wars: Battle of the Force

This card game (right) David Parlett's Star Wars game is published by Ravensburger as part of a series of Star-Wars-themed games. It's based on a mechanism of mine that has already appeared in different guises according to the current franchise. The Ravensburger edition does not include rules in English, but I have provided them at www.parlettgames.uk/gamepie/duel.pdf

Sushi Spiel - the Sushi Game

A game of mine David Parlett's Sushi game originally called Chinese Take-Away has been beautifully converted by Dusyma into its Japanese equivalent, with dishes formerly represented by flat tiles now replaced by solid wooden pieces more easily picked up with chopsticks (provided!). The basic game for two to four players is a balance of about 60% chance and 40% skill. Dusyma has added a number of variations suitable for children of all ages, in keeping with the company's educational and didactic specialisms. In fact Dusyma is primarily not a games publisher as such but a designer, manufacturer and distributor of educational equipment for German schools and kindergartens.

The Puzzle of Oz

Twenty-five pieces David Parlett's Puzzle of Oz David Parlett's OZ puzzled solved (five each of five different colours) are drawn at random from a box or bag. The first four go in each of the four corners. Each piece subsequently drawn must be placed next to one already in position. You win by so placing all 25 that no two of the same colour are next to each other, whether horizontally, vertically or diagonally. First published in 1982 by Skirrid International, the latest version is published by Gerhards Spiel+Design with additional rules for playing a competitive two-player game.

Shoulder to Shoulder

I've always been David Parlett's Shoulder to Shoulder game
Shoulder to Shoulder
fascinated by games for three players, and this is my most successful attempt at devising a strategic board-game for that number. The aim is to be the first to get all the pieces of your own colour together in a single connected group. It was published in 1975 by Intellect Games, who named it after a now long-forgotten television series about suffragettes. I privately renamed it "Solidarnosc" and subsequently "Mob Rule". Click here for rules and detailed description. (Opens in new window)

DWK ("The Wild Kids")

I wouldn't go out of my way David Parlett's football kids game to invent a card game relating to football, which is undoubtedly my least favourite game of all time. But when in 2007 Ravensburger published a card game based on the fourth of a popular series of films about a team of fantasy football players known as Die Wilden Kerle (The Wild Kids), I couldn't resist their invitation to supply a mechanism for it...

"Pot Black" Snooker Dice

Waddingtons Games made a David Parlett's Pot Black Snooker Dice surprisingly nice production of this authentic translation into cubes of a game normally played with spherical objects (balls to you). It was promoted in 1981 by six-times world Snooker champion Ray Reardon, who probably made more out of it than I ever did.

"Rainbow" Junior Scrabble

The late Spears Games David Parlett's Junior Scrabble commissioned me to revise their Junior version of Scrabble, which was previously played with unnumbered tiles on a rather plain board. Basically, my revision consisted in colouring the letter squares and devising a scoring system that didn't depend upon individual letter values.

The Gnümies Party Game

This card game for 2 to 5 players David Parlett's Gnümies game
The game
David Parlett's Gnümies box lid
The certificate
was based on characters from the planet Gnüm, recently discovered by German astronauts - and bearing little relation to the original prototype I sent them, which was called "Hunt the Dinosaur". Published by Amigo Games, with an English-language edition from Rio Grande Games, it was awarded a Certificate of Merit (illustrated) at the 2001 Vienna Mixed Games Festival.

Zoo Party / 7Safari / Alles für die Katz

A card game for 2 to 6 players David Parlett's Zoo Party game David Parlett's 7Safari game (Gamewrights Games) published in 2000 under the title Alles für die Katz by Amigo Games. It was originally called "Chimpanzoo" when I invented it donkeys' years ago. Players build up a "zoo" in which no two of the same animal may occupy the same row or column of enclosures - apart from black cats, which count against you. It gets trickier as you go along. (Why cats? They were supposed to be black mambas. Maybe Amigo didn't think snakes were sexy enough. The German phrase means something like "Trust the cat to come out best".) Also published in English as Zoo Party by Rio Grande Games and as 7Safari from Gamewrights (with hyenas replacing mambas).

Lifecards - the green card game

Spears Games commissioned me David Parlett's Lifecards green card game to devise an "environmentally friendly card game". It was based on a viciously unfriendly extension of Rummy.

Asterix - the card game

Another Spears commission, David Parlett's Asterix card game also published in Germany by F X Schmid, this rather jolly ancient Gaulish card game is an elaboration of Gops (see page 393 of the current Penguin Book of Card Games.)

All Around the House game

A nothing-to-write-home-about elaboration of a mathematical pencil-and-paper game of mine, published in 1982 by Skirrid International as a piece of character merchandising for a long-forgotten children's TV character called Metal Mickey. 'Nuff said.


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