The Games Journal | A Magazine About Boardgames

Hare and Tortoise

Greg Aleknevicus

November, 2001

Hare & Tortoise is one of the few "German-style" games that can justifiably be called a classic. It has been printed in many versions and almost as many languages. There are even at least two known "pirated" versions of the game. The game itself is fairly straightforward but allows for a surprising amount of subtlety and clever play. Anyone deceived by the cute theme-ing or box artwork is likely in for a surprise as an experienced player leaves him/her in the dust.

Although the game remains very similar throughout the various editions, there are several differences that exist and it's the intention of this article to catalogue these.

The two most significant variations are:

  • The position of the first lettuce space. This is either at space 7 (which requires 28 carrots to move to on the first turn) or at space 10 (which requires 55 carrots). It's generally considered that the "space 10 lettuce" layout is superior since the decision to move there on the first turn is meaningful. (On a "space 7 lettuce" board, the first player should always move there immediately.)

  • Methods of "jugging the hare":

    • Cards: Drawing a card gives an equal chance of each event to all players.
    • Dice: A die is rolled and then a table consulted—position in the race is factored in with the general result that trailing players are more likely to receive a favourable event.
Ravensburger "Jugging the Hare" cards. Gibsons "Jugging the Hare" chart

Purely a thematic change is that in the English language versions of the game, it's Hare and TORTOISE whereas in other languages, it's Hare and HEDGEHOG. This is, of course, due to the appropriate tale for that language, being based upon either the Aesop fable or the Brothers Grimm story. I should also note that there is a significant difference between these two tales. In the English version, the Hare is lazy and, assuming that he'll win, decides to take a nap. Of course, the "slow and steady" Tortoise overtakes the Hare who wakes up too late and loses the race. In the Brothers Grimm story, the Hedgehog is rather devious and has his wife impersonate him in order to win the race. So far, I haven't managed to incorporate this strategy into an actual game.

Publisher: Intellect
Winning Restriction: 20 carrots.
Year published: 1973
Players: 2-6
Artist: Drakes Jarvis Walsh & Gluck Limited. Shirt-Sleeve Studio.
Board:

HCH3CHLT42T3CHT1

24T3CL2THC432TH1

CH23TCHC2LT34H21

CTH324CTLHC2HLH

Language: English
Notes: The board is laid out such that several of the spaces are used at both the beginning and at the end of the race (see gameboard photo).

The playing pieces are plastic figures of a hare & tortoise instead of the disks in most other versions.

The three player version prohibits any player from landing on a "4" space under any circumstance.

24 space move is the maximum allowable. (This must be determined by agreement of all players at the start of the game.)

Denominations: 1, 3, 6, 10, 15, 60
Starting Carrots: 65 (91 with 5 or 6 players)
Jugging The Hare: Dice cross indexed with position.

Publisher: Ravensburger
Winning Restriction: 10 x position in race in carrots.
Year published: 1978
Players: 2-6
Artist: Büttner & Plümacher
Board:

HCH3CHLT42T3CHT1

24T3CL2THC432TH1

CH23TCHC2LT34H21

CTH324CTLHC2HLH

Languages: Dutch (Haas en Schildpad, 1981), English (Hare & Tortoise, 1980), French (Le Lièvre et la Tortue, 1980), German (Hase und Igel), Italian (La Lepre e la Tartaruca, 1984), Spanish (La Liebre y la Tortuga, 1980).
Notes: The main difference between the various version (other than language of course) is the cover art, most notably whether it was a hedgehog or tortoise that was depicted.

Some versions have numbered spaces.

A German version was produced with instructions on an audio cassette.

Denominations: 1, 5, 10, 15, 30, 60
Starting Carrots: 68 (98 with 5 or 6 players)
Jugging The Hare: Cards.

Publisher: Waddington's
Winning Restriction: 20 carrots.
Year published: 1981
Players: 2-4
Artist: None credited.
Board:

HCH3CHLT42T3CHT1

24T3CL2THC432TH1

CH23TCHC2LT34H21

CTH324CTLHC2HLH

Language: English
Notes: Included is a "Bankruptcy rule". If the bank runs out of carrots then all players relinquish all carrots and have their holding restored to exactly 65 carrots.

"Jugging the Hare" and carrot chart is backprinted with a summary of each space's instructions.

Denominations: 1, 5, 10, 20, 60
Starting Carrots: 65
Jugging The Hare: Dice cross-indexed with position.

Publisher: Britvic (Waddington's)
Winning Restriction: "Full set of fruit cards"; 1, 5, 10 & 20 cards. (You can freely exchange cards at the end of your turn.)
Year published: 1983
Players: 3-4
Artist: None credited.
Board:

HCH3CHLT42T3CHT1

24T3CL2THC432TH1

CH23TCHC2LT34H21

CTH324CTLHC2HLH

Languages: English (Britvic Strategy)
Notes: This is perhaps the most unusual version of the game as it was rethemed with a fruit motif for the company Britvic.

Included is a "Bankruptcy rule". If the bank runs out of carrots then all players relinquish all carrots and have their holding restored to exactly 65 carrots.

One of the possible "Jugging the Hare" results is giving one of your "Sleazy Dealer" cards (lettuce) to another player!

Denominations: 1, 5, 10, 20, 60
Starting Carrots: 65
Jugging The Hare: Dice cross indexed with position.

Publisher: Alga
Winning Restriction: 20 carrots.
Year published: 1986
Players: 2-5
Artist: Ritva Hussain-Shahid
Board:

HCH3CHLT42T3CHT1

24T3CL2THC432TH1

CH23TCHC2LT34H21

CTH324CTLHC2HLH

Language: Swedish
Notes:
Denominations: 1, 5, 10, 15, 30, 60
Starting Carrots: 65
Jugging The Hare: Cards.

Publisher: Gibsons
Winning Restriction: 10 x position in race in carrots.
Year published: 1987
Players: 2-6
Artist: Shirtsleeve Studio.
Board:

HCH3CH124LT3CHT1

24T3CL2THC432TH1

CH23TCHC2LT34H21

CTH324CTLHC1CHC

Language: English
Notes: Board is numbered in reverse order (showing how many remaining spaces in the race at each space). The board features a "compost heap" for placing eaten lettuce cards.
Denominations: 1, 5, 10, 15, 30, 60
Starting Carrots: 65 (95 with 5 or 6 players)
Jugging The Hare: Roll of a single die added to position in race.

Publisher: Abacus / Rio Grande / 999Games
Winning Restriction: 10 x position in race in carrots.
Year published: 2000
Players: 2-6
Artist: Franz Vohwinkel
Board:

HCH3CH124LT3CHT1

24T3CL2THC432TH1

CH23TCHC2LT34H21

CTH324CTLHC1CHC

Languages: Dutch (Haas en Schildpad, 999Games), English (Hare & Tortoise, Rio Grande Games), German (Hase & Igel, Abacus)
Notes: Board is numbered in reverse order (showing how many remaining spaces in the race at each space).

The Abacus version has modified artwork replacing the tortoise with a hedgehog.

Denominations: 1, 3, 5, 10, 15, 30, 60
Starting Carrots: 65 (95 with 4 or more players) [I suspect that this might be a translation error. The exact words in the English Rio Grande version are "With 4 or more players, each takes 1 additional '30' carrot card." Perhaps this was meant to be "With more than 4 players..."?
Jugging The Hare: Dice cross indexed with position.

I prefer boards that do not have a lettuce on the penultimate space as it makes explaining the game easier. How so? Well, that lettuce space should almost never be used: if you land there with more than three carrots, you'll be unable to finish the race while still meeting the minimum carrot requirement (after eating the lettuce, you'll gain 10 or more additional carrots). So, invariably I have to explain to first-time players: "Don't try to eat a lettuce on this space, it won't work!" (It's not always obvious to new players that having too many carrots is far worse than having too few.)

-Greg Aleknevicus

Thanks to all who contributed information for this article. Notably Magnus Lundgren, Chris Dickson, Steve Kurzban & Ronald Hoekstra. Much information was also supplied by David Parlett's own Hare & Tortoise website: http://www.davidparlett.co.uk/haretort/index.html

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