Author: Alan R. Moon

Publisher: Amigo 1998

Spiel des Jahres 1998



Finally itīs available again ! After long years of waiting and hunting for high priced collectorīs items, the gaming-classic "Elfenroads" has been published again and gamers from all over the world now may play and enjoy the game.

In this game for 2 to 6 players, each player assumes the role of a young Elf in the fabled Kingdom of the Elfes. In order to win his manhood, the Elfes have to visit as many famous places of the Elf-Kingdom as possible. To travel from place to place, the Elfes have a variety of different "vehicles" to use: Of course they can ride a Unicorn or a Dragon, but they can also use the Troll-Wagon, the Giant Pig, the Elf-bike, a raft or a magical cloud. But a clever choice of the transport mode is needed, since each "vehicle" or animal has its own specific restrictions concerning travel in different areas. So the Unicorn will not enter the open plains, the magic cloud is useless in the desert, etc.

At the beginning of the game, each player receives 8 random transport cards, showing the different transport modes of the Elf-Kingdom. Each player also receives one roadblock (a barrier which he might use once in the game) and a handy overview-card, showing all "vehicles" and their transport restrictions. The players figures (small Elfboots) are placed at the capital city Elvenhold, and at each other town on the map a token of each playerīs colour is placed. During the game, a player must try to collect as many tokens of his colour as possible. After all preparations were made, the game begins.

The game duration is restricted to 4 turns. In this short time, the Elfes have to try to visit as many towns on the map as possible. Each turn of the game consists of the following phases:

  • Draw transport cards.
  • Draw 1 hidden transport chip.
  • Draw additional transport chips.
  • Planning of the routes.
  • Travelling.
  • Ending the turn.


At the start of a turn, each player receives transport cards to fill his hand of cards up to a maximum of 8 cards. He then examines the cards and also looks on the map, deciding which transports he might chose best. Then each player clockwise draws a transport chip, until each player has 4 of these chips at his hand. These smaller chips show the "vehicles" and they are used to place a certain "vehicle" or "animal" on a road. When drawing these chips, the players may chose to take one of 5 open chips (except of these 5 chips, all other chips are placed face down on the table). An open chip has the advantage that a player knows what "vehicle" it shows. But if there is now open chip which shows a "vehicle" the player has transport cards for, the player may also decide to draw a hidden chip and - with some luck . find a better fitting "vehicle". After all players have their 4 chips, the placement of the chips begins.

In turn, each player places one of his transport chips on one of the roads of the map. This road then is considered to contain this kind of "vehicle" for the whole turn, and no other transport-chip may be placed there. There are five different kinds of roads: Desert-roads, Woods-roads, Plains-roads, Mountain-roads and Rivers. When placing a chip on a road, a player has to observe that some "vehicles" cannot travel in certain areas. So a Unicorn my not be placed on a Plains-road, or a Giant Pig may not be used in the Mountains. The placing of these transport chips makes up the high strategical potential of the game. During the Travel-phase, each player may move his Elf along roads containing travel-chips, provided that he can play a transport card showing the "vehicle" used. Itīs important to note that the players also may use chips placed by other players - they arenīt restricted to chips they have placed themselves. An exception are the rivers and lakes, on which no chips are placed. These may always be used for travel if a player has a raft-card. So a clever placement of the chips, along with an eye on the transport cards on hand, will enable the skilled Elf to travel far and collect many of his tokens.

The players are also allowed to place one roadblock during the game. This roadblock doesnīt prevent travelling on the road, but it will cost one more card to travel there.

During the movement phase, each player finally uses his transport cards to travel from one town to another. He may only use roads containing transport-chips (with the exception of water-travel), and he always must pay a number of fitting transport cards. So he must pay one Unicorn card to travel on a Unicorn in the Woods or Mountains, but he must pay two Unicorn cards to travel on a Unicorn in the Desert. Has a player no fitting movement card, he may drop 3 cards to travel on a vehicle of his choice. If a road also contains a roadblock, the cost of transport cards is increased by one. At each visited town, a player may pick up the token of his colour.

After all players have move, the used transport cards are reshuffled into the deck of unused cards, and also all used chips are taken from the board and shuffled with the unused ones. Then a player fills up his hand of cards and a new turn starts. The player who has collected most tokens at the end of the 4th turn wins the game.


To play a variant, 12 cards showing different towns on the map are included. Each player secretly draws one of these cards at the beginning of the game. He must try to reach this town at the end of turn 4. If he cannot reach it, he loses as many tokens as there are roads between him and his finishing point.

I must confess that I am really glad that AMIGO has decided to re-publish "Elfenroads". The game itself looks great, since the box and all components were designed by the Artist Doris Matthäus. The gameplay offers a good challange for young players and gaming cracks as well, since it elegantly combines elements of luck and skill into a throughoutly enjoyable game. The one and only flaw of the game is that they designers forgot to note the costs of lake-travelling on the rafts and the overview cards (this might shortly confuse younger players), but this fact dissipates against the background of this quite entertaining game. Itīs fun to travel through the Elf-Kingdom, and itīs even more fun to destroy another playerīs way of travel by placing a roadblock in his way and force him to alter his plans. The game certainly will become an evergreen of the gaming-scene, now that itīs available for everyone.

"Thanks!" AMIGO for giving us this game !

NOTE: The map of "Elfenland" is not identical with the "Elfenroads" map!

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany