After the entertaining word game Willi Wortwurm, we have chosen the second title from Mogel Verlag for this review: Perlentauchen.

Instead of a cheeky worm, this card game focuses on whole colonies of mussels, which keep precious pearls hidden behind their shell armor. In beautiful autumn weather, the family-friendly card game had to pass a real endurance test during an open-air game session at the Botanical Garden in Wuppertal. You can find out how the card game pearl diving works and how entertaining the pearl search is in our following review. 

Cracking mussels, recovering treasures: pearl diving

With the new card game Pearl diving from Mogel Verlag the name says it all. 2 to 4 players act as pearl divers in games with lengths of 10 to 50 minutes and do exactly what pearl divers do: They dive for pearls. The beginner-friendly card game does not need a finely worked out background story, so a short, eight-line introduction is completely sufficient to understand the framework of Pearl diving to explain. The preparation for the game is pleasantly short.

In the test: Perlentauchen - A family card game from Mogel Verlag

Depending on the number of players, each pearl diver receives his or her personal order card, which provides information about the pearls to be collected. At the same time, the diver number is set for each player in a clockwise direction and the length of the game is voted on. One to a maximum of five rounds can be played, with a different combination of pearls waiting to be completed in each round. Which of the numbered rounds you want to play is up to you. So you can vary the level of difficulty a little. Then the action cards are shuffled and placed in the middle of the table where they are easily accessible. Distribute the total of 25 mussel cards face down in the vicinity of the action pile - they form the mussel colony on the sea floor. In addition to the action card deck, you also leave a small gap for cards to be discarded. In turn, each player draws two action cards from the action pile, which then form his hand.

Family friendly high speed game

Diver 1 starts the game and draws another action card into his hand. Then he decides on a game action, of which the following are possible: recovery, cracking, recovery & cracking, stealing and swapping.

A played salvage card means that the diver puts one of the shell cards from the display into his pearl necklace. You can either choose a face-down shell or one that has already been revealed. With the “Crack” action, you can open any face-down shell on your pearl necklace or on display. Stealing and swapping are two of the nasty actions where you intervene directly in the pearl necklaces of your opponents and either steal an opponent's pearl or exchange it with one of your pearls.   

Especially with the last two actions, the course of the game picks up speed as the game progresses and the composition of the pearl necklaces change every second. Perlentaucher turned out to be a fast card game in which victory and defeat are close together in time. Rarely have players been able to dominate the game from the start, although the general conditions are enormously influenced by a lucky hand. Anyone who draws or reveals good or situationally useful cards also creates a good starting position. 

In addition to the five active actions, there are two other types of cards that intervene in the course of the game, sometimes more, sometimes less: Washed away and seaquake.

If one of the players draws a card that was washed away, he must take this action immediately and one of the covered or opened mussels from his pearl necklace is thrown back onto the sea floor. The seaquake card must also be carried out immediately after it has been drawn: all the cards on the sea floor are shuffled and laid out face down.

With the skillful use of the cards in hand, it is now time to build the specified pearl necklace. Each pearl necklace consists of two colors: blue, red, green and yellow as well as white pearls, which can basically take on any color. The more players dive for the pearls and the more often a color appears in the respective diving plans, the greater the influence on the opposing players' pearl necklaces. When a player has collected the matching pearl combination, the round ends.

Pearl diving is a fast-paced card game with simple rules that will appeal to families with children in particular. For experienced card players there are no challenges, so that the simplicity of the moves in connection with the always noticeable luck factor only offers entertaining entertainment. Optical is Pearl diving In any case, it is successful and has a child-friendly charm. Fortunately, unnecessary wording was omitted on the action cards, so that younger players can also quickly understand the purpose of the card. If you understand pearl diving for what it is, namely a down-to-earth family game, the importance of the learning factor should not be underestimated. In a subtle way, children learn to use numbers and colors as well as combinations of both in a systematic way.  

Pictures of pearl diving


Number of players: 2 to 4 players
Age: from 6 years
Playing time: 10 to 45 minutes
Difficulty: easy
Long-term motivation: low

Published by Mogel Verlag
Year of publication: 2016 
Authors: Michael Loth
Language: German
Cost: 10 Euro


The loving implementation of Pearl diving you can tell that this card game was designed by a family for families playing. The graphic style is based on the other publications of the Mogel Verlag and convinces with hand-drawn illustrations that fit the theme of the card game and the target group. When writing a final scoring is Pearl divers one of the games that should be rated based on their target group.

Frequent gamers are hardly challenged with the rule concept and the anger moments inherent in the game can only have a negligible positive effect on the entertainment value. In addition, the gameplay offers too many elements already known from other games, especially for experienced card players. A round Pearl diving With the maximum number of players, however, even frequent players are rarely averse, because where luck and anger are so close together, at the end of each game round there is a certain playful charm due to the unconditional will to win, where mischievous laughs are not uncommon.     

If you look at Pearl diving but with children's eyes, it is precisely the moments of anger that cry out for rematch. If a child's rainbow-colored Joker pearl is stolen, they will do everything in their power to get back what is probably the most precious treasure. Makes the dynamics resulting from the fast course of the game Pearl diving to a down-to-earth and entertaining card game that entertains families at a decent level even without the rule highlights.