Calvin’s Commentaries: Flügelrad is a game just based on the name alone you are likely to remember.

But there is more to this one than a funky name.

Flügelrad is a new abstract strategy game from designer Andreas Kuhnekath, and publisher Clemens Gerhards, and that it comes from Gerhards you know it is beautiful.

Very few companies make games which look any better than Clemens Gerhards.

The boards are thick wood that looks wonderful, and in the case of Flügelrad the pieces are marbles, and it’s hard not to like that aspect too. In this case the marbles are rather standard – rather smallish – but they work. A small quibble is that the green and blue might be a bit close in colour under some lighting, or colour blindness perhaps, but since they are standard size you could switch out if you wanted.

Bottom line the game looks super nice — Clemens Gerhards games always do — although maybe not a coffee table game because an accidental bump might have you on hands and knees looking for marbles under the furniture.

So what is Flügelrad all about?

Well, it’s an abstract strategy where marbles start on the outer edge of the board and players take turns manoeuvring their marbles into a group. The first player to form a contiguous cluster of at least six of their marbles wins.

It’s how the marbles are moved that stands out with Flügelrad.

“The game board consists of seven hexagonal spaces, each of which has a hole in its center for the impeller wheel. The game is played with marbles; each player has their own colour. On your turn, you reposition the impeller wheel, then rotate it as far as you like, thus moving up to six marbles at the same time,” details the publisher.

The impeller is the cool aspect of this game which sets Flügelrad apart from most other games.

“The idea was to invent a game that had real mechanics that incorporated the game board. So that something is shifted, moved, changed. I think that the game boards from Gerhards Spiele are ideal for this and I was looking for such an idea,” explained designer Kuhnekath via email.

Yes in its creation the designer said he also wanted, “a strategic game with simple rules.
“That is easy and quick to learn, play and has a high level of challenge. . .

“Players can expect a fast and tricky game with exciting twists.”

So what does Kuhnekath see as the best aspect of his game?

“It’s hard to say, for me the rotation mechanism is the best, especially when playing together with the beautiful wooden design of Gerhard’s Spiele,” he said.

Kuhnekath added the marble movement mechanism is something the game offers others.

“It is the rotation movement, so the situation on the game board changes with every move. The players . . . have to keep an eye on their balls and those of their fellow players at all times.”

Kuhnekath added, “since the rules are very short, there is actually only one rule, the appeal and specialness of the game lies in the material and mechanics of the impeller.”

And therein certainly lies the charm of this one, simplicity and uniqueness push visual appeal in one fine package.

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