As mentioned in previous reviews, kids love gross and weird stuff. While a good many of our children’s activities today have been sanitized, we can all remember the joy of seeing exploding cartoon characters from Tex Avery, playing with plastic bug-making factories, or even the horrifying life lessons from Aesop and the Grimm Brothers. The fascination with exciting, gross, stuff can be applied further to the world of gaming. What better way to treat a nasty habit of nose-picking than to make a game out of it?
Gooey Louie from Goliath Games is the updated version of what many may remember in the 1990s. It has had international appeal from the French Carlo Crado to the Dutch Snotty Snotter, showing that the game transcends linguistic and even many cultural boundaries. Everybody has boogers, and all of them are hilariously gross.
Gooey Louie works on the age-old “hot potato” mechanic. Players take a turn performing an action (passing the hot potato) and eventually one of them at random will reap the dangerous rewards. In this case, each player rolls a die that gives direction for the turn: pull a gooey from Louie’s nose, pull two, do not pull any, or even pull one and then have the order reversed so that those who thought they were safe are now in a dire situation. As each gooey is pulled, the tension increases until the catastrophic end of the game.
To set up GL, the eyes and brain are put back into the head, and gooeys are tucked into Louie’s nose, one of which is attached to a trigger. When this gooey is pulled, Louie “sneezes his brains out.” The trigger is activated, the eyes shoot forward with a pop, and his spring-mounted brain leaps out the top of his head. Whoever pulled the trigger is “out,” and the game is reset so it can continue until only one player remains as the victorious gooey-puller.
The gooeys are of different lengths, making it virtually impossible to tell which the nefarious booger is without carefully staging it. The spring-mounted brain is very powerful, often making it difficult to set up. Sometimes even nudging, not just tugging or testing, the wrong gooey will make it explode. In our play-testing, we began simply playing with only the eyeballs popping. A delicate touch can set up Louie’s brain properly, which has a further benefit of improving kids’ fine motor skills.
Gooey Louie is a game for two to four players, ages four and up. The rules are very simple and the games are only a few minutes long, making it reasonable for younger players. Older players may wish to play only a round our two, but the calamitous explosion will thrill kids time and again. It is available on Amazon and from major retailers after August 1.
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