Get the most carrots but watch out for the Train in Karnickel!

Recommended Age:6+
Play Time:15 Minutes
Our Recommended Age:4+ (Might need help)
Contents:7 dice, 8 rail tiles, 36 Carrot, 1 locomotive, 6 bunnies, 5 stands, 4 colored tiles, 1 stickers sheet, 1 Rules book
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Karnickel is a super fun and cute game about rabbits, trains and of course carrots. Make your way around the track to collect as many carrots as possible by avoiding the train. Mayfair has another game that is now one of our favorites!

Karnickel is German for Rabbit. Yep…even the name is educational. I had to look it up because I had now idea what Karnickel was or why they would call a game about a train, tracks, carrots and rabbits it…but now it makes perfect sense.

It is pretty easy to learn although the dice can be a tad confusing at first. Don’t worry I will most likely confuse you later when I explain how to play…it’s what I do. First let’s talk materials and the box. Standard issue rectangle box with a lift up top. It does come off pretty easy and seems a bit more sturdy than some boxes which means I don’t tear it when I open it…bonus.

mfkarnickelreview (4)The Railroad tiles are shaped like a curved arrow and made out of that Chipboard, I think. Cute artwork of grass and railroad are on one side along with little train icons and some have carrots, and exploding carrot and a hill on them. The other side is grass with the game icon on it so you can only use one side.

The Train and Rabbit tiles are also made of chipboard and I believe the carrots and color disks are as well. Pretty sturdy (is there another word for sturdy? probably but I like it) and the Rabbits are super cute! Some are wearing hats, scarves, a ninja outfit and a suit of armor.

You know typical rabbit gear right? The carrots are small and carrot shaped…and I LOVE games that do that with that much attention to detail!

The dice are the rounded cornered wooden type and you have to put stickers on them. There is no real order to it and they are set up in rows so you basically put one row per die. The stickers are paper which works best with the wood dice but I have never been a fan of stickers. I think this was the best way for them to get the type of dice they needed though and they don’t seem to peel easily or scratch up so it isn’t the end of the world. Wooden dice work best for little hands anyway.gencon2015 (63)

My daughter first discovered this game at Gen Con 2015 when a nice gentleman at the Mayfair booth showed us how to play. She LOVED it and her favorite was the Pink rabbit…and the Knight one too. My son prefers being the Ninja or the Pilot one as do I. My husband plays whatever while he pouts that there isn’t a Pirate Rabbit…maybe there will be an expansion someday.


The goal is to get the most carrots. Easy!


If you have never played the game before you will need to set up the stickers. One row per die. Easy but tedious. Then the Train goes on the Black plastic stand and each player chooses a Rabbit and a color stand. Put your stand on the Rabbit and put the matching color token in front of you. This helps everyone remember which rabbit they are. You also each get one carrot.

Put the Railroad tile around in the circle. The Instructions have a specific order for your first game but once you get the hang of it you can put them however you want. Put your Rabbit on a spot on the carrot or middle of the tiles. There can be more than one rabbit on a tile at the same time and yes they can be on the same tile as the Train too.

If there are only two rabbits then each player gets two Rabbits. The game suggests one player gets Red and Blue and the other Green and Yellow but they mean the stands, the actual Rabbits do not matter. This is based on how the dice are set up. Blue with Yellow and Red with Green. It splits up the options fairly.

The Rules say youngest goes first but you can also roll dice. We roll the game dice and person with the most arrows goes first. Now you should be ready to play.


Roll all the dice and set aside any of the Black with arrows that were rolled. These represent the Train and stay set aside until all the dice have been rolled with them…then the Train moves but more on that in a bit. The color parts of the dice have two colors on them that represent the stands, not the Rabbits.mfkarnickelreview (2)

The Train dice should go in the middle of the track because no one knows who will roll that last one to make the Train move. The colored dice are to move the Rabbits. You can move any Rabbit whose color was rolled. You can only choose one of the two colors on the dice though. If you rolled 2 Yellow/Red, 1 Blue/Green and 3 Green/Red (and 1 Train) You would be able to only move those colors and you can only pick one set.

I know it sounds confusing but let’s take that roll for a second. I would choose the set of dice colors that moved one of MY Rabbits to either more carrots or further from the Train if possible. If my Rabbit was Red I would be able to move it 5 spaces based off of these dice and I could ONLY move the ONE Rabbit. Hope that cleared it up.

You CAN move other Rabbits. When playing with the Diva we like to help each other’s Rabbits at least not get run over but also moving someone else’s Rabbit could keep you in a very good spot OR move them so they are in the path of the Train and get no Carrots when it moves! Strategy! My son is learning that last one a little too quickly…

2015-09-22 20.21.11-1 copyOnce you have set aside the Train dice and moved the Rabbit of your choice you pass all the dice EXCEPT the Train dice to the next player. Those stay until the Train moves.

That player rolls and sets aside any Train dice as well and then chooses a Rabbit to move. Play continues until all the dice rolled are Trains…then it moves!

Whoever rolled the final dice to move the Train (meaning did not roll color sides) now picks up all the dice and rolls again. Count up the number of Arrows and move the Train that many spaces clockwise on the board. Spaces are from one Train icon to another on the board.

Every Rabbit that is on a tile the Train lands on has to move off the board and gets NO carrots. Boo…take your Rabbit back for now.

If you are on a tunnel you are fine as the Train passes under you and any Rabbit remaining (meaning the Train did NOT pass on your tile) stays there and gets the amount of carrots based on the icon they are on.mfkarnickelreview (6)

This could be 1, 2 or 3 OR you could lose a carrot if you are on the exploding carrot icon…try not to be there when the Train moves.

Those Rabbits that were scared away now get to be placed on the track again wherever the player chooses. If all the Rabbits were scared away then whoever set the Train in motion gets 1 carrot from every other player (if they have any of course). It is really important to try to stay on the track! Unless you set the Train moving…then you might want to be last Rabbit standing or have no one left!


Keep taking turns in this way until one player has 8 or more carrots. In a 2 player game you play until someone has 12 or more. Player with the most wins!

If there is a tie you play one more round or until one player is clearly the winner…then bragging rights are given, heads are hung and pouty lips come out…then of course rematch!

2015-09-22 20.15.36-5 copyThis is one of our favorite family games to play because everyone can play with no extra help. I know it says made for 6+ but my 4 year old plays just fine and I feel like 4 is a good age. If your child can count and identify colors they should be just fine with your help for a bit.

We did have to help the Diva understand a few things of course because you can’t really adjust the game down except to practice.

Roll the dice and have your child set aside the Train dice first. Then ask what Rabbits can move and how many times. Then have them choose ONE Rabbit and have them move it. Keep doing this until the Train moves. Just like the actual rules. Only instead of moving the Train simply start over or give each Rabbit their carrots.

Once your child has the Rabbit movement and Train dice setting aside down then add the Train and proper carrots but maybe leave the losing a carrot out if your child is young and doesn’t understand the negative sides yet. You can always add that in later. YOU know your child best so break up the game into the parts that work best for your child.

If you are looking for a cute, portable (the box is small enough to bring along!), easy and quick to play fun game Karnackel is a great one to add to your game collection.mfkarnickelreview2Show us your Rabbits and their wealth of carrots! @MyGeeklings #Karnackel @Mayfairgames

“Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.”
~ Kay Redfield Jamison

Author: sandyz