Shadows in the Woods: candlelit board-game for kids and adults

"Shadows in the Woods" is the English version of the German board game Waldschattenspiel, an absolutely beautiful and extremely fun game for two or more kids and one adult. The kids play "dwarfs" who need to hide in a "woods" (a board with 3D trees made from slotted heavy card). The adult plays using a burning tea-light as his token. You play in a dark room, and the kids and adult take turns moving, with the adult turning away while the kids strategize and move. If the grownup manages to move the tea-light so that it casts a light on one of the kids' tokens, the token is frozen and must be unfrozen with a visit from another kid. The kids try to consolidate all the dwarfs (wooden pawns that come with pointy bits of felt for you to glue on as hats) behind one tree, while the adult tries to prevent it. It's a game of whispers and giggles in the dark, with the added delight of a real flaming candle in the middle of the table. I've played it with kids as young as four, and it's great fun.

Alas, there doesn't appear to be a US importer, though the title is listed on Amazon UK.

Kraul Toys Shadows in the Woods - Deluxe


    1. I thought of that, but then I thought of this:

        1. Really.   The game builds on the human fascination with the open flame in the dark, something that’s with us before we *were* us. This is like taking a toy dog to a play of fetch or a walk.

      1. If you’re raising kids that are incapable of playing a game with a tea light without setting the house on fire, you’ve got a lot more problems that need addressing.

        In the Peruvian Amazon, three-year old Matsigenka boys regularly practice cutting wood and grass with machete knives.

        I think a four-year-old can be given the responsibility of sliding a wooden dwarf in the vicinity of a tiny candle.

        1. this looks like a Waldorf game. my kids went to Waldorf school for a while – they were all taught how to light and snuff a candle in kindergarden, and started whittling – with real knives – around grade 3. one grade 4 outing was to an iron forge, where the kids made moulds and then poured molten metal into them to create pendants. guess what – no-one died. the kids are all the better for having been trusted with “grown-up” activities (under supervision, of course) from an appropriate age… not coddled and padded with bubble wrap throughout their childhoods. 

    2. I’m offended.  I was gonna do it all funny and stuff. Something like:

      “Fire and four year-olds… What could go wrong?”

    1. No, by  Cory. November 2011.

      Edit: Back then he wanted to wait for his daughter to be old enough to play. I guess now she is.

  1. “wooden pawns that come with pointy bits of felt for you to glue on as hats” Nope, all wrong. They should each have a black cape glued on and two tiny white fangs painted on the face. Prepare the kids for the  REAL world where something hunts YOU in the dark.

  2. Never going to see this in the US, but the ambulance chasers are salivating at the thought of it.

    The sad part, though, is we won’t get to see the hilarious foxnews outrage machine kick into high gear.   I can almost hear it already:

    Isn’t it bad enough that we shove a flaming cake into our kids faces once a year and ask them to fan the flames with their mouths?!?! 

    Now this pinhead, European, socialist company wants to add a raging fire to a kids’ board game!!! 

    And the object of the game –you’re going to love this — is to set the game ablaze and then turn your back on the kids!!!!  What the hell were they thinking?!!?!!

    What’s next?????  I know, let’s put a real burning candle on a pacifier.  Babies love fire, right!!!!  Right!!!!!!!  RIGHT!!!!!!!!!  RIIIIIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!

    Folks, this is what happens when you put a socialist, Muslim, Kenyan, space alien, manchurian candidate, success-hating, un-American, post-colonial, dog-eating, three-eyed, child indoctrinating, freedom killing president in the White House. Did I mention it’s the White House? White House!! WHITE!!! HOUSE!!!

    1. Love the humor, but want to correct your first point, in case people mistake it for reality: you CAN get this game in the US.

      I’ve watched a *toddler* play it with her mother and slightly older brother.  Lovely little game.

  3. There are a number of knockoff versions of this game available in the US.  Kind of have mixed feelings about buying knockoffs as opposed to the originally licensed game- and I’m lazy- so I’ll leave googling them up as an exercise for the reader, if interested.

  4. I bought this last time it was on Boing Boing, I had seen it 15 years earlier in a German catalog.  My kids went insane for this game! We played it as a run up to Christmas and the solstice, an excellent game to play in the early dark of winter. And hey, get your copy now, because winter is coming. 

  5. When I first heard about this game, I thought it was unbearably spooky. The scene it brought to mind was some guy moving slowly through a forest with only a dim torch as light, spotting things out of the corner of his eye which turn out not to be there. Mostly. The dwarves, in fact, were hunting him.

    1. Take the same game, make the single figure with the light “Bella” and the other tokens various werewolves and vampires who are, in fact, hunting her.

      That is a freakin’ gold mine…

  6. Alas, add me to the list of “Americans are too stupid to have this.”  I foresee dumb lawsuits and safety scaremongering.

    It reminds me of the wonderful open fire-pits/cages at the Xmas markets in Berlin.  Many of them had covered piles of logs; passerby would stoke the flame when needed.  All this done while drinking hot wine in public…

    It saddens me that it will be a cold day in hell before any of that happens here.

  7. Well, ‘dumb’ kids could play the game if the tealight were substituted with one of those faux battery powered tealights available at Dollar Stores.

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