I always thought it was an urban legend: socks disappearing in the washing machine. Decent washing machines have a filter (yes, even the very old ones!), so it seemed unlikely to me that hundreds of socks would always end up in the sewers. Yes, of course it will happen that socks are swallowed by the washing machine, but often I think it is our own little mistakes that causes socks to be misplaced. The socks disappear under the bed, fall next to the laundry basket, get flung through the house and get lost in other ways, and then you run a wash that contains only a single sock from this disintegrated pair. After you discover that only one clean sock comes out of the suds, you blame the washing machine. Until the moment you move house and pull that one lost sock, covered in dust, out from under the sofa. By now, I know better: it’s not washing machines that lose socks, it’s not human actions either, it’s cute and colourful sock monsters who want nothing more than to add your intoxicatingly fragrant and worn footwear to their collection. Can you protect your socks or are you just a hero in socks?
Sock Monster is a game for the whole family and can even be played by the very youngest. On the game board, a number of tiles with different coloured furniture are placed as well as four monster caves. Each player receives an elf (which they may name!) and 1 sock. Underneath the four monster pawns, dice with eyes are placed, next to the board is the colour dice and as soon as each player has placed his or her pawn in the centre of the game board, the fun can begin. Each turn, the monsters are moved, a monster action is performed and the active player may move his or her pawn. No monster is moved during the first turn.
To move a monster, first the six-sided colour dice are rolled to determine which monster will move. If a player moves a monster, the monster must be moved across the board. This triggers an ingenious game mechanism. Underneath the monster lies a die and by this movement the dice are turned. Thus it is a surprise which result emerges, but with a little planning, insight and luck the desired double result can be achieved. After the monster has taken 1, 2 or 3 steps, the pawn is lifted and it is checked whether the monster is asleep or awake. If the die shows a closed eye, the monster is in dreamland. If the eye is open, the monster is awake and the active player can perform an action. This player may:
- secretly look at an adjacent tile;
- steal a sock from a player next to the monster. This sock then disappears to the monster’s lair; or
- move a monster again and perform another action.
After the monster has done something, the active player may move his or her pawn. The player may (publicly) look at which tile the pawn landed on or steal back a sock from a monster if the pawn is next to a monster’s lair. If a tile is inspected and it is the same colour as the active player’s and contains a piece of furniture this player has not yet turned over, this player may draw socks from the bag. Each pair of socks of the same colour is safe from the monsters, and if a player has three pairs of socks, they have won.
Sock Monsters is an entertaining game for even the smallest players, but secretly also quite amusing for older players or even ancient experiences players. The game combines memory, luck and planning in a fun way, allowing small players to learn new game skills. In addition, it is also a legacy game. You heard me right. In this game, players discover new rules and game elements. They discover new rooms in the house and get to put stickers on socks, among other things. Highly recommended for families!