Occasionally there are board games that make you go, “Now that’s just plain silly”. Then, inevitably you buy them. One such example is a relatively new title from Mayfair Games, “Lemming Mafia”. The games title and the “oh so cute liddle lemmings” made it fairly irresistible for me from the outset.
“Lemming Mafia” is far and away one of the most silly boardgames I have played in some time, there is however a huge amount of pleasure to be had and as you play it more and more it becomes apparent that it has the rare ability to appeal to both the strategic gamer and the fun bunny alike.
The basic premise is that six lemming gangsters are in a race to see which one will jump off a pier first. And since the Mob is involved, players have a chance not only to bet on who will finish first, but also to try and fix the race. Each player receives an identical set of six betting cards matching the colors of the lemmings as well as being assigned three secret mission cards, which score bonus points if the mission is fulfilled, but cost points if not. Missions are things such as “Make sure Blue Finishes before Red” and so on.
The lemmings move along a simple start-to-finish track by a slightly different roll-and-move method: The two dice depict colors, not numbers, so the player usually has to choose which lemming of the rolled colors moves from section to section on the board. If both dice are the same – no choice, simple. Many of the track spaces offer extra actions, such as putting concrete shoes on the lemmings in an effort to eliminate them from the race early, or making a dash forwards in a getaway car.
This continues until one lemming jumps into the water and takes first place. The rest of the lemmings finish in the order they currently occupy on the track. In the final scoring, players earn more points for predicting the winner later in the race, plus bonus points for successfully completing missions. The highest-scoring player wins.
The game is light hearted and takes 20 to 30 minutes to play out, although I guarantee you’ll find yourself heading for a “best of three decider”.
“Lemming Mafia” is produced by Mayfair games, is for 3 to 6 players aged 8 and up and retails for around £27.00 (GBP)
The box contains:
- 1 Game Board
- 6 Mafia-Lemmings
- 36 Betting Cards
- 18 Mission Cards
- 2 Lemming Dice
- 1 Regular Die
- 12 Concrete Markers
- Rules sheet