Tiny Town (2019) review
Wooden cubes have been in games since the very early days of the modern age of board gaming. They were used to represent troops, workers, resources and even viruses, plus possibly many other things. And as time has gone by, they have been replaced by more complex shapes such as the meeples, different shapes or miniatures. It's been kind of sad that they have been phased out, as we gamers have become more accustomed to having our components look like the object they are supposed to represent instead of having this abstractness. But the cube is not dead and gone, as it is still a cheap alternative for new publishers to get their games onto store shelves. Unless they're going through Kickstarter.
So it's nice to see in Tiny Towns, that tip of the hat to days gone by, as the cubes are back. Replacing resources as we know it like wood, glass, straw, stone and brick with their traditional colours (brown, blue, yellow, grey, and red). These are the things that are going to be used by 1 to 6 players, to build their Tiny Towns. All in a spacious, yet claustrophobic 5 by 5 grid.
The premise of the game is that players are all going to build their own town at the same time with the same resources. One player will be named the Master Builder and will choose one of the five resources. All players will have to take that resource and add it to an empty space on the player board. If you have no empty spaces, you are out of the game and will have to wait until all players have their boards filled. Otherwise, if you have laid out enough resources to match a building schematic, you can build that building. Then the Master Builder role is passed to the player on the left. There, you have all of the rules. You can now go away and play this game. And that is one of the elegant things about this game, it’s simplicity. Within a few minutes, you’ve explained the rules.
So where is the fun of the game? Well, the fun lies in the different buildings that can be built. There are eight different buildings in a game that will be available, seven of which are common and the eighth is unique to each player. Even the common buildings have four different variants in the base box, apart from the cottage. This gives you some replayability as you can mix and match these buildings or take them at random. On top of that, the unique buildings come with 15 very different structures that all have unique scoring abilities and powers. At the beginning of the game you will pick out one of each of the common buildings and place their card in the middle of the table along with the large pile of individually different looking wooden buildings that come with the game .If you’re feeling adventurous as gamers, you can deal out an individual unique building to each player. These are kept secret until complete. This takes a little time as you may need to explain the scoring conditions of each building.
Each card is laid out with all the information clearly visible on these large Tarot size cards. From the unique beautiful art of what the building would look like, and its associated playing piece. Plus a description of how it scores points at the end of the game and a plan of how the building can be constructed. This plan is simply a formation of the resource cubes. Once you have it laid out on your player board, the correct positions and colors of the cubes, that means that you can construct that building. Constructing the building is a simple case of placing the building you’ve constructed in one of the spaces of the resource matching the plan. Then all the resources are returned to the general pool, leaving you space to and new resources and build more buildings. This is a fantastic puzzle aspect of the game as you know what you want to build but the other players do not. Everyone has their own idea of how their city should look or functions, but due to the fact that everyone’s going to be choosing different resources yet using the same resources, can lead to some interesting cube formations. You’ll need to do a little bit of forward planning and leave yourself open to constructing two or more buildings at the same time, possibly from the same resources. Space is going to be of a premium as the game goes on. Head scratching will start with the “what do I build” to “where should I put this.” As the game goes on, you’ll find yourself struggling to construct or squeezing in resources that you don’t need onto your small little town. On top of that, how can you milk the most points out of the things I don’t need.
Each of the buildings will score in different ways. Some will score points if they are adjacent similar buildings or different buildings. Others will score if they are in a particular part of the town. And the basic cottage will only score points if they receive food from one of the farming buildings. This is a basic requirement for every game. Some of the interesting buildings like the warehouse, once built, whenever you have to use a resource that you have no space for or do not wish to disrupt another formation, you can place it in your warehouse. And later on when you are asked to add another resource to your town, you can swap it out with one in your warehouse and use that instead. Of course this is a great benefit but it also has its own penalty. Like the bank will give you lots of victory points for each one that you build but every time you build one, you will have to place a resource on it and you can no longer call that resource out when you are the Master Builder. A really interesting way to screw yourself up but also pretty sure way to get ahead of the pack.
With colourfully whimsical art, chunky wooden pieces and clearly explained rules and scoring conditions, this is a very well thought out production. Although the yellow and orange or red and orange building can sometimes be confusing to distinguish due to the proximity of the colour pallet. The insert holds everything in place and with baggies to hold your components separately, you’ll only be sorting out at the end of your session. A very large score pad that won't have you squeezing in digits, although they won’t be lager. With scores generally around 20 to 30 points, it will not take you long to find out who the winner is, unlike other larger group playing games. Again, games take the same amount of time regardless of the number of players. So if you are eliminated because you didn’t manage your resources wisely, you will not be hanging around long waiting for the others to wrap up.
The game is basically, everyone is being dealt the same hand of cards. But it depends on what you do with them, that determines how well you score. Think multiplayer Tetris. All players have the same blocks that fall. Some players will complete line after line, gaining minimal points, where others will stack them up in hope of squeezing in that long thin shaped one. Boom. Big points. This is something you may see in Roll & Write games or if you have ever been to a convention, you would have seen the “Pandemic Survival.” Everyone's town will start relatively the same, but as rounds go by, they develop into their own thing. And this is the aspect of the game that I adore. It is a real challenge against the other players. You all have the same level playing field (if you play without the unique buildings). It is interesting to see how your town starts going in a direction that is different to your neighbours. And you will need to keep an eye on them too. To try to predict what resource you think they need and will call out, then you will be prepared to slot it in an advantageous space or start building another building to what you had planned.
Or the reverse, on your turn, call out a resource you know they don’t want. Yes, there is a literal element of “screw your neighbour” in the game. You can sometimes shoot yourself in the foot. Although most of the time, you can get by. Unless you are advanced in the game. As space becomes tight, turns take a little longer, but not so long as to annoy anyone. The game has it’s restrictions, at the same time feeling very open to interpretation. With so many combinations of buildings and the way they interact, fitting them spatially on the board, plus the order that changes naturally or the resources makes this a fun battle to play with family and friends.
You can also cater the game to your liking. Giving younger players the chance to mulligan up to two resources during the game. This is a nice way to get those inexperienced players the chance to challenge the more expert ones. Or maybe last a few more rounds than usual. And if you have no one to play with, there is a simple solo mode to jump on to. A small deck of cards are used to dictate which resources are available from round to round. Not as fun as playing in a group but a sweet little puzzle for those who like that sort of thing. And with an expansion coming later this year, more buildings are rule will ensue, expanding this already replayable game a little further.
Technical score 9.5 / 10
Basic cubes that don't bug you and are easy to remember. Cute art and solid components, from the insert tray, to the wooden buildings. Easy to read text on cards and easy to read rulebook with examples galore. Apart from some confusion over the colours, there is nothing that I couldn’t recommend to be changed
My BGG score 10 / 10
Outstanding - will always enjoy playing.
Simple to teach. Simple to play. A great puzzle challenge for anyone in your neighbourhood. Playing on a level playing field is what makes board gaming great for me. I’m always left with that “I could have done that better” taste in my mouth. A great family weight game. Possibly this generation's Catan.
Combined score 9.75 / 10
My cup of tea, maybe it's yours too. Try it...
Points Salad (2019) Review
Hello, please take a seat. On the menu of the day, a salad of points. Just that. Here is a 100% Vegan approved game ! (yes the joke must have been made thousands of times)
Point Salad a game from Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin and Shawn Stankewich and first published by Alderac Entertainment Group, and now in France at Gigamic in the metal box range. Because yes, it is a small deck of cards.
Here is the recipe for a good point salad.
Depending on the number of players, you’ll remove a certain number of cards of each type.
Once done, mix everything you have left. Do not hesitate to insist on the mixture. It is important that all the cards are well shuffled to avoid any residue from the previous games.
When your mixture becomes homogeneous, divide your cards into three piles, face up. Please note, the cards are double-sided. Each side is important. On one you will have the vegetables, which will be necessary to achieve your goals and on the other, the recipes that indicate how you earn points. It is not necessary to count the cards of each of your piles as the distribution of each pile is done quickly by measuring.
Take two cards from each of the pile previously made, and put them directly below the respective piles.
The preparation phase is now complete. We will be able to move on to creating the dish.
On your turn, you have the choice between two actions. Once this is done, it is the other player's turn and so on. Point salad is a dish that can be enjoyed by several, from 2 to 6 players.
The first possible action is to "eat" food. Take two cards face up and put them in front of you. Your turn is over. Before the other player starts, replace the cards taken with the top card from the respective deck. This means that the recipe that was previously visible will turn into an ingredient and a new recipe will be available. Keep this information in mind.
The second action is even simpler ... for a dish to be successful, you must follow a recipe. You can then choose to take one, and only one, recipe card instead of two ingredients. The recipes are the objectives of the game. They will tell you the combinations to complete to hope to gain points, but watch out for those that make you lose them. Everything will depend on the ingredients that you manage to recover during the game.
To help you in your quest, once per turn, you can also transform a recipe (and I did say a recipe and not food!) Into a vegetable. And this definitely! No turning back , choose well because you will lose the recipe on the other side and the points it brought you.
You’ll continue like this until all the cards in the game are collected by the players. If during one turn, one of the three piles empties completely, do not panic, it is enough just to divide the largest pile remaining in two. And so on. When there are no more cards, we go to a tasting.
The tasting corresponds to the final counting of points. Each ingredient can be used for any of your recipes. Please note, each recipe will be counted only once, however each ingredient can be used on several recipes. You don't spend your cards to meet your goals. A carrot card can be used for several recipes.
Thus, each player counts the gains or losses, collectively or not, of each recipe card they have. This will give you your final score. Whoever has the most points wins the game.
On the recipes, you’ll find points by type of vegetable, by set of specific vegetables, but also even or odd numbers. There are also majorities on specific vegetables or minorities ... And finally you can lose points if we have recovered certain types of ingredients. There are a variety of recipes and ways to score points.
Point Salad was released at GenCon 2019. Immediately, it knew how to find its audience and made a little buzz. So much so that it was located fairly quickly. Highlighted by a lot of youtubers or players, I was quite curious to try it.
Point Salad is a quick and easy card game. Simple in its rules, as you saw earlier, it can be explained in five minutes, watch in hand. There is no return to the rule, no questions of rules or points of contention. Everything is clear right from the first play. You take the cards, you settle in and you're ready to play. Fast because indeed, one can easily have a tendency to chain games together, encouraged by the fact that each one of them is very short. Allow fifteen minutes (or less) to finish one.
The possibility of making choices allows you to think a little about your way of playing and imposes certain decisions that are not always easy to make. As I pointed out to you, it is sometimes difficult to choose between taking a recipe or ingredients that tempt us at the risk that the recipe that we wanted will disappear.
However, the importance of chance makes this pseudo strategy disappear relatively quickly. We no longer find ourselves playing in a “mechanical” way without necessarily having a long-term vision of the game. We find ourselves more looking for the right opportunity. This is especially true for more players where there is so much change that it is relatively impossible to predict anything. The two-player game, although limited and quickly redundant, may offer a little more control over how to play.
The installation of the game could also have been a little faster. Removing the cards of each type according to the number of players requires you to carry out some slightly superfluous manipulations. Even if the idea is certainly to allow a limited game time, ultimately we come back to wonder why not play with everything since the game remains short all the same. Even if you play (for example) often in pairs, you will have to repeat this manipulation regularly. Why ? It’s simple. The recipe cards are not the same behind the ingredients. Thus, to avoid falling into the excessively redundant side between each game, it is important to re-sort the cards randomly.
Level of graphics, there is not really much to say. It's colorful, you can see big vegetables ... The game is neither ugly nor beautiful. But it is illustrated effectively and the iconography is well thought out and very understandable. Each card is read very quickly and even if there is text on some, it is a keyword very easy to understand.
The game is fluid, the turns are linked quickly. In addition, the game offers ubiquitous interaction. Even if it is not a direct interaction, you have to be careful what the others choose and how you can possibly slow them down without being penalized too much. The game is never mean. And the fewer mistakes that can be made can be repaired or at least reduced in a fairly simple way.
Depending on the players, the game can also be transformed into a calculation game. All the choices can trigger positive or negative points. So if you play with people who like to calculate everything and find the best way to score, the playing time may increase and the pleasure (especially if you are not one of them) decreased. Where one of the strengths of the game resides is in its important possibility of scoring but also in its fluidity. If we turn it into a slightly longer game, I’m not sure that the interest remains intact. On the other hand, it is not a "fun" game as you’re locked in a game where you have to think (as much as possible) and where the goal is just to make points. Despite its format, it is not an atmospheric game.
Point Salad is therefore a very accessible little game. You can play it with friends (gamers or not), with family, family and friends, between adults, with children, between children,… you will understand, the game can turn in all hands. And if in addition, your children can learn to recognize vegetables, it's even better, right?
Point Salad is therefore still a good pick for Gigamic, which offers a very simple and refined collection game here. No fuss, you are right in the thick of it. Accessible, fluid, fast, easy to learn, playable everywhere, a small price, the game seems to have everything on its side to let itself be tasted and savored. Especially if it's your style of play. As a reminder, you are not in a trick taking game but a family collection game with a pinch of optimization. Between two meals or accompanying stronger games, Point Salad will keep you entertained. After, you’ll see if it can last the test of time ...
Technical Note 9/10
Even if the graphics are not extraordinary, "they do the job". The iconography is very well thought out and the rules are clear. The small metal box format is very suitable.
My BGG score 6/10
Ok - will play if in the mood.
The game is not without charm and is played relatively quickly. Very accessible, it will allow you to add a dose of optimization in your playful learning. Chance is very present and it is sometimes difficult to anticipate things. Replayability may be affected. However, the durations of very short games allow you to qualify everything. Ideal for many.
Combined score of 7.5 / 10
And now it's your turn to play ...
Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game
| || || |
Queenz: To bee or not to bee
Queenz is one of the last games of the prolific author Bruno Cathala. For this new game, he is accompanied by Johannes Goupy and we find the excellent Vincent Dutrait adding his artistic hand. The game was released at Essen 2019 by Mandoo Games and is distributed in France by Blackrock Games.
Queenz is a game that gives you the chance to become a Beekeeper. You will have to place your hives judiciously according to your land and plant flower beds that cover them. Each flower, as in real life, offers the possibility of producing a honey of a color but especially of different taste. The more you have the ability to diversify, the more points you will earn. But do not forget that without bees, there is no honey. This is good because you can also opt to collect and position them onto your fields. But beware, a bee too far from his hive will not give anything. Dilemma and choice are at the heart of the game.
Queenz accessibility is one of its strengths. Indeed, the rules are really very simple. Each player starts the game without a parcel of land but with three unused hives of your color and "pots" of honey representing the possible future products. Plots of land are available for purchase and positioned next to the central plateau.
The central plateau offers a square of 6x6 boxes initially covered by orchids taken at random. The flowers care of different colors (5) and can also contain or not bees (one queen or up to three workers). Around this flower garden, a meeple gardener walks from space to space depending on the flowers collected by the players. This meeple occupies an important position in the game. Indeed, you will be able to choose to recover flowers only according to its position. On your turn, you will have the choice between two actions.
The first action is one of the most important: collect flowers. You will be able to take from one to three flowers depending on the position of the gardener. Indeed, it will indicate the row available to recover the flowers. And without being paid. What a nice gardener. Because yes, taking flowers in this game, it's free. And you will be able to collect up to three. But of course, there are conditions to that.
- If you choose to take only one flower, then you can take the one you want, whether or not there are bees on it.
- Do you want two? Go for it. But only if there are no bees on them.
- It is not enough ? Do you want three? Go because it's you, it's a gift. But, only take orchids of 3 different colors.
The flowers thus collected are stored in the personal reserve of the player. Attention, this reserve contains only six places. And when there are no more places ... you can not take flowers anymore. Gluttony has its limits and waste is not tolerated. The gardener then moves as many boxes as flowers taken by the player.
As you can guess, the central plateau will empty little by little. It will become more and more difficult to recover the desired flowers and especially the desired number. Especially since the flowers take time to grow, they are not replaced immediately. First come, first served. This will also play a role in choosing to take one to three flowers so as not to give too much opportunity to his opponent.
The other possible action is the construction or enlargement of his field. It could not be easier. The player takes one of the land tiles available for purchase. It's always free ... If it's your first tile, you simply place it in front of you. Otherwise, it must be added adjacent to existing tiles. Here too, there is a constraint. The tile chosen, once placed, must be filled with flowers from your reserve and possibly a hive. No empty spaces.
If by the time you finish placing your pieces, you have an area with at least two adjacent orchids of the same color on your land, then you produce honey of that color. Take your "honey pot" pawn of the corresponding color and place it on your personal tray. If you have all the pots of all colors, then you receive a distinction in the form of a bonus points. Be aware, the faster you are, the more points you will have (these diminish over time).
Now that you have placed your new land, it is time to see if it brings you something. If you manage to create areas of the same color, or if you enlarge an area already present on other tiles with at least two more flowers (of course with the same color), you will gain one point per flower belonging to these areas.
To note a small exception which I did not speak to you for the moment. When choosing to retrieve orchids from the gardener. You can take a flower with bees on it. If there are several, they will count at the end of the game depending on their promiscuity with a hive (pollen, honey production all that stuff). Queens work a little differently. Indeed, they allow to act immediately their taking of the garden. You then have permission to replace one of your flowers already laid by the one with the queen on it. The removed orchid returns to your reserve and the queen settles on your field. This ability is sometimes handy for increasing the connection of a colored area or for getting closer to a hive.
The end of the game occurs when a player places his fifth land tile in their playing area. The opponents of this player can then bloom a last field without the necessity of it being filled. The last chance to make points.
At the end of the game, we move to the count up of end points. First of all, look at the points earned during the game. Then add the end-of-game bonus points.
First the points indicated on the diversity of production token. You know it's the token gained during the game thanks to your honeys of five colors (yes, this was easy). These points range from ten for the fastest, to two for the slowest. Without necessarily making a big difference, it can still affect the final score.
Then you’ll review your hives. Hives that have attracted bees will earn you points. A good beekeeper knows how to take care of his workers. Each player will earn one point for each bee on their eight adjacent squares. Eight boxes, eight possible points, three hives, so it can go up to 24 boxes so 24 points. Not so bad is not it? For the most skeptical so far, you now see the interest of the capacity of the queens? It's a score that can make a clear difference. Especially if others have focused on the immediate points of color areas.
There you go. The one with the most points is judged by an incredible assembly of beekeeper recognized in the middle, as having achieved the best honeys and thus wins the game. Youpi! Hooray! Bravo!
The great strength of Queenz is its ease of access. Short rules, limited possibilities, the kind of game that allows you to dive directly into the game without resifting through the bow for the rules. This type of game is perfect for casual players who sees it as a present challenge and a possibility to play without taking the lead. It is true that the parts are nice.
The game is in tune with the times. In other words, simple rules but with a relative depth and a reduced playing time (count less than 30 minutes when you start to know the game). Despite the number of restricted actions (two), the number of possibilities and play patterns are quite important. This allows replayability and satisfy the players who are keen on this type of game. The game also has a variant to "complicate" the game adding a new bonus flower. An accessory, but nice.
Another strong point, it is possible to play 2 to 4 players, and it works well in all configurations. Said like that everything seems to work like clockwork, and we are far from having hives "buzzy" ... and yet. Honey may not be as good as wanted.
My first concern, that's why I’ll start with it, because in reality this is not one for many players, because of the theme. Or rather, it’s absence. It should not be hidden, and it appears very quickly, Queenz is actually a disguised abstract game. The idea of the hive, the honey, the bees, the flowers ... all that is superficial. You could definitely replace all that with something else and it would work just as well.
Let's move on to less forgivable things: the overall quality of the material. Unfortunately, the game is far from irreproachable. One oscillates between hot and cold during the depunching. While the flower tokens are correct, the field tiles and the trays (individual or central) are very thin and a lot of tiles of land do not fit together properly. It's nerdy when we want to make a nice display on the table. The size of the score pieces is also disturbing. These are slightly larger than the boxes of the dots. Which is ultimately quite impractical especially if you play four. Frankly, we remain in the field of non-crippling and that does not prevent us from having fun, but this lack of finish is regrettable. To be forgiven (?), You have Queenz token in quantity. There, I confess I have not yet understood their usefulness.
In terms of gameplay, the game actually offers a lot of possibilities. But finally these possibilities can be summed up in two main axes of scoring : to leave the fastest on the diversity and the bees (thus seeking to accelerate the game) or to realize larger areas of the same color. After several games, we found ourselves limited in these two ways of scoring points. For the general public, this feeling will certainly not appear, but for most players, you will see there a possible limit to playfulness. A limit that necessarily negatively affects the replayability and willingness to return to it.
Finally, focusing on the illustrations, we are starved on this front too. Normally, I really like the work of Vincent Dutrait. In addition to being one of the most prolific board game illustrators, he is above all a person with great talent and in many ways. On the other hand here, outside the box, I had a sense of "minimum union" for the rest of the material. It's colorful, it's not devoid of interest, it's visible (even if the flowers are very similar) but, at the same time, it's relatively "cold". Finally, one could even say that it is abstract as are the mechanisms. A sensation difficult to explain but, visually, the game will not remain in the annals. However, I am fully aware that art is purely subjective and I do not doubt that others will find this game superb.
Very inspired games like Patchwork or the series of Cottage Garden, Queenz finally fails to offer enough originality to win. The proposed mechanisms are known and without real risk taking, even if effective for those who love this style of play, it remains a simple game to access with pleasant mechanisms, and for optimization accessible. It will easily find a place in the family toy libraries. Far from being demanding, it will offer you a certain challenge and will entertain you, but for a short period.
Some technical errors that unfortunately ruin the experience. The game is simple, the rule more or less well written. Once understood, no reread needed. It's colorful, visually clean but maybe the whole lacks a bit of soul.
My score BGG 6/10
(An ok game, to play from time to time if it is proposed to me)
A game that unfortunately offers nothing original, but based on proven and recognized mechanisms. A game in the format intended for the family audience or higher. In this context, the game works pretty well, to discover the optimization. Before moving on to something more solid ...
Combined score of 6.5 / 10
And now, it's up to you to play ...
Freshwater Fly (2019) review
Bellwether Games is a publisher who gained recognition with the game Coldwater Crown. A game rather interesting and perfect about fishing. They are now back with a new Kickstarter, this time, Freshwater Fly. No surprise, it rests in the theme of fishing. While the first game was intended to plunge you into a world tournaments, the second offers a more intimate approach, more solitary. Indeed, in Freshwater Fly you go fly fishing in a slightly mountainous area, with friends. Just that, your whole program. Indeed, I like games that offer original themes. This one is one of those. However, I have to admit, not being a fisherman myself, I have not mastered the jargon specific to this passion.
Freshwater Fly is a game of Brian Suhre. All the visual was done by Darryl T. Jones. The game was available in small quantities at Essen 2019 and sometimes in a few shops. But the stock quickly melted. Hard to get your hands on now. The theme played a big part in the success of the title, especially in a current production that is struggling to renew itself. But what about the game itself?
Freshwater Fly invites you to play as a fisherman. Here, no religion. No, a real fisherman, with his rubber boots, his overalls, his gloves, his bucket hat... In short, all you need to not catch a death by cold from facing the currents. With your fishing rod, you and your friends decided to start a small competition. The subject of the competition: angling. The goal: to get the most points at the end of the game. Simple, basic. Fishing rod in hand, let's go.
Me, I dig my saplings, to go fishing, musette on the shoulder, sausage, cold beer. (french song "LA PÊCHE À LA LIGNE" - RENAUD) Settled in my little corner of paradise, I'm ready. First thing to do, choose my fly. There are six flies available, each corresponding to a color, which itself corresponds to the hatching tokens. It is important to study the game board in order to choose a color that corresponds to your target fish at the risk of telling the story of how the big fish got away. Each player, in the order of the turn, will prepare their rod carefully.
In Freshwater Fly, there is no lap count. You have the time, as this requires practice. Although ... the first to catch their seventh fish, will end the game. It remains a race. Monitoring the progress of others and catching up is a good idea. Just be contemplative and enjoy the water and clean air.
Each player has an individual board representing their abilities and reel. This is not a simple accessory that challenges but represents a real pretty ingenious and well inserted in the theme. The central board corresponds to the whole accessible end of the river and gives you a visual of the catchable fish. And essentially with which bait to catch them.
At each round, you will roll a number of dice based on the number of players. The dice are at the heart of the game. In turn order, you will choose one of the dice still available and perform a force action equal to its value. There are three main actions available: casting, reel or finesse +2.
First of all, you'll need a target, a whipping fish (no Igor, put that whip away!). For that, nothing more simple. The chosen die will show you a column on the board. In this column, you will be able to choose a position among those available (paying attention of the rocks). But for your prey to be attracted, you must have a fly of the same color as the hatching token at the bottom of the river. If this is the case, you must go to the second step: catching your fish.
For him to bite the hook, you will have to show skill ... not in fact, it's more luck but in a controlled way. There is a small deck consisting of four cards. Among them, is a card "fish caught". You mix this deck, and if you have a hook of the same color as a hatch, you draw one. If this famous card is drawn, bravo you can go to the next step. If you missed your fish, do not panic. Concentrate. Do you see your fineness level on your personal board? If you have any, you can spend one (you slip your token one step to the left) to take another card. Still missed? Decidedly, this fish is tough. You can even do it again, if you really lack luck (perseverance is a good virtue).
But what happens if you miss your fish? The current will move your line will drift one step to the left. If you were already in zone 1, too bad for you, you will have to retry your luck on your next action. In other cases, if your hook corresponds to a hatching token you can try again to hook a new fish. Take back the cards, shuffle them and ... this time you do not shoot one but two cards. Yes, it is like that. You want this fish! If, after this second chance, you have not succeeded, your action is lost.
In case your hook does not match the hatch token, it's a little less convenient. If this is your first run, your line drifts down a notch. You can only try your luck if your hook matches the hatch token. If it still does not fit, you still drift one step to the left. With each drift, you have the right to try your luck to catch the fish. But be careful, after the second drift or after the second attempt, your turn is over. Small bonus of a drift, it is not one but two cards that you will draw. Sometimes, going farther can be a good strategy.
Once your fish is hooked, you have it at the end of your cane. It took the fly, which may tend to annoy it. But expert as you are, it's not a problem. So you take the corresponding fish and position it on your personal board according to its color. Each color corresponds to a step in the capture. The more difficult a fish is to catch, the more points it makes. You also take the hatching token (which will serve at the end of the game) and of course you place a fish in the space of the one that your caught. If by chance you have caught it next to rocks, draw the first card from the pile. These are bonuses that will help you greatly during the game. Finally, the reel is positioned on its starting space.
Which brings us to the second possible action. Play the reel to tickle this stud. In short, bring the fish to the surface. Your reel has five spaces. Each corresponds to a specific action:
- Breaking the fish by decreasing its strength to 0 (put the correct token on it)
- Win an available bonus tile, if you already have one, your flip it on it’s back
- Gain a fineness (one step on the right)
- Depending on the resistance color of the fish, you will move one space back or forward. If it is green: you advance one space; if it is yellow you retreat.
- The starting space makes it possible to bring the fish closer to the surface. When you stop or go past this, you do not collect € 200 but you lower the resistance of your fish one step to the left. If it was already on the green box, bravo you captured it.
To use your reel, you will have to select a remaining die. You decrease the value of the die by the resistance strength of the fish and you advance your reel by that many spaces. Once this is done, you can use the power indicated on the space.
There remains a third and last action available, focus. You can take any dice and regardless of its value, to move your fineness slider two notches to the right. This is the best way to ensure future success or desired power.
There are also bonus actions that depend on your rock cards (permanent but once per turn), your speed tile (one-shot) or your situation on your ability (lower your fineness by one step to the left). These actions can be done in addition to the main action.
The end of a round occurs when there are no more dice available. To determine the first player, you’ll calculate the value of each die you used, the smallest total is prime. Being first can be important. This is also one of the ways the author tries to convince you not to just take the big numbers.
The end of the game comes at the end of a round where a player fishes their seventh fish. You’ll then count the points. Starting with the fish, then public goals and after private goals. Finally, the points from rock cards are added and the one that has the most wins.
Contrary to what it seems, Freshwater Fly is not a complicated game. Everything seems quickly logical and the rounds are linked in a rather important fluidity. In front of the small choice of available actions, the wait between turns is quite limited.
Thematically, the game is really exemplary. Everything breathes the theme. That it is the material but also the mechanisms. Special mention to the idea of the reel. We found ourselves with the impression of raising fish at the end of our lines. A little cricket singing in the background, relaxing music with water streaming and you're there.
The rules are in the majority quite clear and the components is relatively correct (some problems may be on some material). You’ll quickly identifies your objectives and the fish that you wishes to catch. Moreover, the idea of having personal boards with asymmetrical objectives is excellent. Everything is well indicated and it is not necessary to go back in the rule book.
The duration of a game is not very long. I must admit that it is sufficient. Longer, the game could have become quite boring. Because yes, it is not free of defects.
Already, the game seems pretty scripted. This feeling finally agrees well enough with the theme, but we quickly feel forced. One of the things you need to do first is hook a fish. When you do not have fish, the rest is impossible. Then, once you have one at the end of your line, you will have to go back up, so you will do almost this action. And so on. Finally, you take a dice, you take a fish, you spin your reel. However, this repetitiveness of actions and especially choices fits perfectly into the theme. How else would you have wanted it? To have wanted to stick too close to the theme, the author may have forgotten that this is a board game and that playfully non-fishermen could quickly get bored.
Luck is present. But it is relatively discreet and most of the time controllable. Once again, you could have liked unforeseen events (fish snaps the line, the wind reverses the current, etc.) which would have broken a little this playful monotony. The dice, in turn, play a role that is ultimately rather minor. The game will sometimes be a race to the one who will be able to take the strongest dice first (hence the interest of being the first player). Collect dice of small values quickly finds its limits.
The replayability of the game is theoretically good. However, it can quickly become a problem if your resistance to do more or less the same is low.
The game offers a solo mode that has the merit of existing and remains interesting. Not convinced by cons, once realized, we return with great pleasure.
I was really attracted to the theme that was off the beaten track. I would have loved to love this game. It is pleasant but unfortunately far from what had sold me, at least in my imagination. Maybe I was expecting too much? Far from being a bad game, it is not unforgettable either. If it had not had its original theme, would it have been so successful? Nothing is less sure.
Freshwater Fly is a pleasant game with a refreshing theme and incredible thematic respect. But even if it has interesting mechanisms, the game suffers quickly from gaps. Shortcomings that will be quickly forgotten if you are fans of fishes, or that will be important if you search more than a theme. This points race could finally be compared to a long calm river. A known place, relaxing but not surprising.
Many good things in this game. The graphics, the material (even if some things are disproportionate or just below the rest), the rules, everything is clear, clear and thematically respected. The reel is a small gadget that has its charm. We hoped for a finish on some elements, for a little less generic look.
My BGG score 7/10
(Good likes from time to time play)
The strength of the game is its theme, rather its thematic respect. On it, the work of the author is remarkable. However, when you touch such a special passion, you have to know how to balance. Focusing on it alone can quickly knock out those who do not have this fiber. Paradoxically therefore, the game suffers from the thematic omnipresence that prevents it from coming out of the currents. A current sometimes too linear.
Combined score 7.5 / 10
And now, it's up to you to play ...
Guilou & Arnauld
Act In Game
Alderac Entertainment Group
Blue Orange Games
Burky & Badger
Catch Up Games
Clyde & Cart Press
Cool Mini Or Not
Czech Games Edition
Druid City Games
Fantasy Flight Game
Flying Carpet Games
Golden Egg Games
Holy Grail Games
How To Play
Inside Up Games
Jolly Dutch Productions
Jumping Turtle Games
Junk Spirit Games
La Boite De Jeu
Lucky Duck Games
Meeple City Games
My Cup Of Tea
Next Move Games
North Star Games
Oka Luda Editions
Paris Est Ludique
Plan B Games
Renegade Game Studios
Second Gate Games
Sorry We Are French
Tasty Minstrel Games
The Flying Games
UK Gaming Expo
White Goblin Games
Yoka By Tsume