Publisher: Pressman Toy Corp.
Date Released: 1930
Number of Players: 4-6
Age Range: 6 and up
Setup Time: none
Play Time: less than 45 minutes
A take on the ancient game of Parcheesi, Wahoo trades Parcheesi’s wooden playing pieces for marbles, and a cloth or cardboard game board for a wooden one with notches whittled out for the marbles to rest. Most of the rules are the same. You roll a single six-sided die and have to get your pieces from your start area to a safe zone.
You can play the game with every person for themselves or in partnerships—with most players teaming up with the player seating across from them. When you play as teams, once one player gets all of their pieces in their safe zone, they can help their teammate on their turn.
Like Parcheesi, you can get a new piece out of your start area by rolling either a one or six, and sixes allow the player to roll again. Pieces can’t occupy the same space, so if you land on an occupied space, you send the piece back to the player’s start area. But Wahoo adds a new wrinkle by including a shortcut.
One piece can occupy the middle space—significantly reducing the number of spaces you’ll have to move—but beware. You have to roll a one or six to get out of the shortcut, and everyone wants to use it.
I prefer team play to solo play. Solo can be fun too, but you can’t land on your own pieces so you just lose a turn if that happens, and you always know that your opponents will try and send any piece back to start when they have a chance. But team play gives you moments where you have to move a piece a number of spaces and the only valid move you have is to take one of your teammate’s pieces back to start. This leads to someone screaming NO or apologizing profusely.
The only strategic element gained in Wahoo from Parcheesi—and other Parcheesi based games—is the inclusion of the shortcut. But this isn’t a small thing. There are moments when the shortcut is safer than others, and you can gauge when you should take it. Still, luck rules Wahoo unless you have a loaded die.
You’ll find numerous custom Wahoo boards on eBay, but the best boards are ones that you make or the ones someone makes for you. YouTube even has a video on how to make a Wahoo board: How to Make a Wahoo game board.
Verdict: Wahoo uses the classic roll, spin, and move mechanic, but the inclusion of a shortcut, partnership gameplay, and the fact that you’re probably playing on a board someone made for you make Wahoo a fun and personal game.