Just in time for the holiday season, Gilead Games seeks funding on Kickstarter for Candle Quest, a game about collecting the eight candles needed to fill a Hanukkah menorah. Designed by Purple Pawn’s founder, Yehuda Berlinger, the game’s rules have seen previous incarnations as Yehuda’s self-published The Menorah Game and Reiver Games’ It’s Alive (with a Frankenstein’s monster theme).

The Game

The basic idea of Candle Quest is pretty simple. Each player’s goal is to collect a complete set of candles in eight different colors. On his turn, the player draws a candle card and then must decide whether to purchase it from the bank at face value, sell it back at half value, or put it up for auction. Auctions go once around the table, so each player gets only a single chance to bid. The highest bidder pays the auctioning player, however, the auctioning player can himself bid and win the auction (in which case he pays the bank). This way, there is the possibility on one’s turn of acquiring a candle at a discount to face value, though it involves some risk.

Players collect their candles behind a screen, so bluffing and memory are also factors in the game. Dancing candles are wildcards, which can be used to fill any open space. And sad candles when drawn, cost money without adding to one’s collection, but they also allow the player to take another turn.

There are two options for determining the winner in Candle Quest. One is the first player to collect all eight candles. The other, which encourages a little more strategic game play, is the player with the greatest total candle value.

The Menorah Game

My Thoughts

I really like this game! It plays quick, it’s easy to learn, and yet it involves some interesting decisions. Auctioning and bidding, for example, are important elements of the game. Limited to once-around-the-table, though, auctions remain fast and fun.

I’ve played The Menorah Game and It’s Alive many times. They work well for both casual and hobby gamers—alternative victory conditions allowing it to be customized to the experience and mood of the group.

I’m also very excited about this new edition! Quality games with a Jewish holiday theme are, unfortunately, all too rare.

For Candle Quest, Gilead Games has commissioned new art with bright colors and smiling candles. (See below for a sample. The photo above is of my copy of The Menorah Game.) They’ll also be putting in the box a simplified set of rules, specifically for younger children. In the simplified rules there are no auctions but a sad candle will allow a player to steal one color candle from another player.

On this the last day of Hanukkah, give yourself a gift and back Candle Quest.

Candle Quest Board