Shadows In The Forest brings mystery to the gaming table

Originally called Waldschattenspiel this game involves moving a light through a dim forest in search of tiny elves or Shadowlings. The American version of the game made by Think Fun is a fascinating for nearly all ages.

The game is simple: one person controls the light and the rest of the players control Shadowlings. First, the room is played in near total darkness. After rolling a die, the light moves along a set of colored stones on the board, shedding light on and between paper trees that occlude the board. The Shadowlings have to stay out of the light and if they are caught they are frozen until another Shadowling comes to their rescue. All of the Shadowlings have to get to a single pre-chosen tree before the light gets them.

It?s an odd game mechanic but it really works. The game originally used a burning tea-light for a bit of spooky and potentially dangerous fun. The new game uses an LED lamp. The board and trees are made of heavy cardboard and the Shadowlings are made of soft plastic. Each one is different so each player can find their Shadowling in the dark.

Once you understand the game it takes about twenty minutes to play. It?s quite thrilling to watch your little Shadowlings almost get caught by the light and every time the light player moves they must close their eyes, allowing for a bit of collusion between the elves. There are no points, per se, just one side winning or losing.

I have wanted to play this game since I heard about its European version, Waldschattenspiel. The European version uses a tea light and little shovel to move the fire around the board and I suspect it?s a far more exciting game with a bit of fire involved. That said this version, made for the coddled American market, is far safer.

Is it worth a few playthroughs? Absolutely. It?s a bit bulky, however, so you may think twice about adding it to your game shelf. That said, it?s a nice, clever game with some truly interesting mechanics.

Best For: Team Players
Bottom Line: An unusual game with an unusual mechanic that?s worth a try.

John Biggs

John Biggs is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and maker. He spent fifteen years as an editor for Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and TechCrunch and has a deep background in hardware startups, 3D printing, and blockchain. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, Wired, and the New York Times.

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