|Release: 6/13/2017||Download: Enhanced | MP3|
|Run Time: 40 min||Subscribe: Enhanced | MP3 | RSS|
|Life in the herd can get boring when you’re a young elephant. To pass the time, the little ones invent games to play. First they gather a bunch of colorful balls. Next they race to see who can pick them up BUT here’s the challenge:
You must pick up the balls according to a certain pattern and..
NO HANDS ALLOWED!!
You can only use your kooky plastic elephant trunk to pick up the balls!
Listen in to discover why we think Tricky Trunks is a joy to play. It’s Hungry Hungry Hippos for the 21st century. And is most emphatically Major Fun!
Designer: Brian Weinstock Publisher: Blue Orange
2-4 players 10 min ages 5+ MSRP $25
Designer: Ralf zur Linde & Wolfgang Senter Artist: Alexander Jung
Publisher: Stronghold Games, Eggertspiele 2-4 players 30 min. ages 8+ MSRP $29.95
You and your friends have heard a big flood is coming and so, naturally each of you has decided to build an ark in order to save as many animals as you can.
Only problem is some guy named Noah got started way before you and he is claiming pairs of animals to take with him. In fact, he’s made it illegal for anyone else to take pairs of animals with them.
Since Noah is kind of a jerk, when the flood comes and the arks depart, you want to have herds of animals on board!
There are 60 animal tiles in the game with 12 different species numbered 1-5. Each animal tile is unique. As the number on the tile gets bigger, the animals on the tiles get bigger as well. Alexander Jung’s artwork is ridiculously charming and fun. If you like this game, I encourage you to check out Beasty Bar, another fine game featuring Alexander’s art.
There’s a starting player flag.
Most notable and most important, each player gets a 3-D ark! They are made from sturdy cardboard and they function as a two level tile rack. The arks come unassembled when you buy the game, so you have a fun side project putting them together before you play the first time.
To play, you’ll mix up all the animal tiles and form them into draw stacks. Each player will take a food crate tile and an ark and break flag. Then everyone draws three random tiles from the stacks and places these animals into his or her ark and we’re ready to go!
Animals on board is a split or choose game. If you don’t know what that means, you will in just a minute!
Each round a large set of animal tiles will be placed in the center of the table. Players will take turns either dividing this set in to smaller groups or taking one of these group of tiles and adding them to their arks.
The game ends at the end of a round when one person has collected 10 animals into his or her ark.
Now let’s dive into this split or choose thing.
Depending on the number of players a certain number of animal tiles will be placed face up in the middle of the table each round PLUS one face down animal tile.
On your turn you can SPLIT this group into a smaller sets OR you can CHOOSE a group to take.
If you choose SPLIT as your action for your turn, you select a group of tiles and make it into two groups of tiles. The groups you make do not have to have the same number of tiles but each group has to have at least one tile.
At first there will be only one big group to split but as each round progresses there will be several and these groups can and will be of different sizes.
After splitting a group, you get to take one food crate from the supply.
On your turn if you take the CHOOSE action, you select a group of animal tiles and place them in your ark. However, you must pay 1 food crate for every tile in the group you choose! If you don’t have enough food crates for a larger group, you will not be able to take that group.
Once you select the CHOOSE action, place the break flag in your ark to indicate you are out for the rest of the round.
So there you have it: SPLIT or CHOOSE. Divide the tiles into groups and get a food token. Or take a group and pay food tokens for each tile in the group. Once each player has CHOSEN in a given game round, the round will end, another set of tiles will be flipped over and it’s lather, rinse and repeat until one player collects at least 10 animals onto his or her ark.
Split-and-choose games offer an incredibly simple set of rules that makes them easy to teach and learn. In the case of Animals on Board this simple set of choices also provides for some really fun decisions once you know how to score!
The scoring system is what really makes Animals on Board shine. It will help guide every decision you make.
As mentioned in the story of the game, Noah has all claims on pairs of animals. So your goal is to assemble herds of animals or individual animals on your ark. At the end of the game, any pairs of animals in your ark will be discarded and will not score at all!Any single animals in your ark will score the number on the tile. A panda with a 3 is worth 3.
A herd is a group of 3 or more tiles in your ark. Each tile in a herd in worth 5 points!!
If you have any food crates left, each one is also worth a point.
So, your goal when splitting and choosing animals from the table is to try and create herds of 3 or more animals and avoid being stuck with pairs or low value single animals.
Of course everyone is watching as you choose your sets so it becomes clear what animals you are interested in, making it difficult to assemble big herds, since you may end up having to take a group with animals you dont necessarily want or risk someone else choosing that group before you.
The face down tile becomes a really interesting element of the game now that we know the scoring system as well. You may want to include it in a set you know someone else wants so they have to take a chance at getting an animal that will mess them up and create a pair. OR you might be tempted to take the face down tile in a group if you are watching closely and are waiting for particular tiles that have yet to surface.
Split and choose combined with trying to avoid pairs of animals makes the game engaging, thoughtful and fun!
Animals on Board is a sneaky game. I don’t mean when you play, you are sneaky. I mean that the game sneaks up on you. The simple rules make it one you can enjoy with kids and family or friends but the scoring rules add depth and strategy that is such a wonderful surprise. You may have to split groups more often than you might like just to build up your food crates so you have more options when it comes time to choose. There’s even a bluffing element since each player starts with three random tiles and if you take the face down tile, it can be a challenge to be sure what animals each player might be collecting.
You know the rules so quickly, so easily, you might be tempted to see it as too simple or a game only for young kids. But that’s where the game sneaks up on you! There will be several light bulb moments when you realize there’s more going on each turn than you realized, IF you pay attention. I love it when a game like Animals on Board sneaks up on me like this. The gameplay is as charming as the animals on the tiles you collect. No need to wait for the next flood. Give it a try and I think you’ll discover it is Major Fun!
|Release Date: 11/2016||Download: Enhanced | MP3|
|Running Time: min||Subscribe: Enhanced | MP3 | RSS|
Rollers is a press-your-luck dice game inspired by darts.
Yes, you heard me correctly… darts! Players try to open and close 5 numbered columns on their number boards. When a number is opened and closed, others will pay you chips each time you roll this number for the rest of the round!
Sound familiar? If you’ve ever played the dart game, Cricket, you’ll see how Rollers is a clever re-imagining of this pub classic, and playable by people of all ages.
Best of all, even if you’ve never thrown a dart in your life, you’ll have no problem understanding why Rollers is Major Fun!
Designer: unknown Publisher: USAopoly
2-5 players 15-30 min. ages 8+ MSRP $19.95
Music credits include:
Roller by April Wine | the song
Designer: Chris Castagnetto Artist: Magdalena Markowska
Publisher: Strawberry Studio, Passport Game Studio 3-5 players 5 min. ages 8+ MSRP $10
A very particular genie is looking for just the right person worthy of three wishes. Anyone can make three greedy wishes. In order to gain this genie’s favor, you need to find the right kind of wishes to wish for! The first player to collect a wish for a superpower, a wish for world harmony and a wish for a gift will win the game.
3 Wishes is a micro game. It comes with 18 wish cards, 10 wooden cubes and player reference cards.
The wish cards come in three categories: superpowers like
world harmony like
and gifts like
An icon in the upper right corner of the card defines each type. The illustrations and title also make it clear into which category each wish fits. As you can see, the artwork by Magdalena Markowska is whimsical, charming and engaging. Each card also has a number value.
Wooden cubes are used to keep score if you want to play multiple games in a single sitting. Since the game is so quick, don’t be surprised if you end up using them!
3 Wishes is a deduction and bluffing game that plays in about 5 minutes.
The goal of the game is to declare the end of the game and have one of each type of wish card in front of you. If more than one player accomplishes this, the player with the highest total sum on all his or her wish cards is the winner.
Each player is dealt 3 cards face down to begin and may only look at one of them. Two cards are dealt to the center of the table. One is left out of the game.
On your turn you get to do two actions. You can do the same action twice or you can do two different actions.
You have three actions to choose from: peek, swap, and shuffle. You basically know the rules for each action just from their names.
Peek means you can peek at a face down card. This card could be your own, could be your opponent’s or could be one of the cards in the middle.
Swap means you can swap two face down cards. One of these cards could be your own but you could also swap cards between two opponents or with the cards in the middle.
Shuffle means you can pick up your three face down cards, mix them up and place them back on the table. After that, you can look at one.
You want to use these actions to manipulate the face down cards so that you end up with one of each type of wish in front of you.
You know one of your cards to begin the game. You can peek to learn the others but remember someone could swap and immediately take them away.
You might swap because you know you have two of the same type of wish and need to get rid of one.
You might shuffle because through others peeking and swapping, everyone knows your cards.
After everyone has had three turns, instead of taking a normal turn, you can declare the end of the game if you think you have three different wish cards in front of you. Everyone reveals their cards. If one player has three different wishes, he or she is the winner! If multiple players have 3 different wishes, add up the numbers on the wish cards and the highest total wins.
Two things stand out to me about 3 Wishes: the special wish cards and playing the players instead of the game.
There are three special wish cards that can have a tremendous impact on how each game goes.
Two special cards double your winning total. This means you stand a much better chance of winning if more than one person collects three different types of wishes. If by skill or by chance you manage to collect BOTH doubler cards, you automatically win if you have three different types of wishes at the end of the game.
The Time Travel card counts as a wish BUT if you end up with this card at the end of the game, you cannot win! Of course, this means the time travel card is a hot potato and no one wants to hold onto it. But it also means spotting someone trying actively to get rid of a certain card can be easy if you watch closely.
Collectively, the special cards add an extra level of focus to the game for each player. You need to pay attention not just to the icon on the wish cards but you need to watch out for the special wishes because they can really help or hurt your chances of winning.
I also really enjoy the fact that 3 Wishes introduces the concept of playing the players as much as the cards.
What does this mean? In many card games, especially classic gambling games like poker, doing well is determined as much by a player’s skill at reading the other player’s actions at the table as it is having an amazing hand. Playing the players means carefully observing what other players do on their turns because this gives you a wealth of information without ever seeing their cards. Through deduction and inference you can start to know what cards people want or dont want and this information can help you decide what actions to take and how to play.
Now you don’t have to play 3 Wishes with this level of forethought or attention, but I love that this element is always there and because the game rules are so simple, you have the time to pay attention and watch others closely.
Major Fun games often have a timeless or ageless quality to them. This is certainly true of 3 Wishes. It is a lovely quick game that will appeal to players of all ages and experience levels.
It’s tempting to say 3 Wishes shines the most because of its simplicity. But I think the beauty of 3 Wishes is in its elegance. 3 wishes, 3 types of wishes, 3 actions, declare the end any time after 3 turns. This elegance makes the game easy to learn but there are fun and challenging, even thoughtful moments packed into this tiny set of cards that everyone can enjoy. Thats a game whose gifts keep will keep on giving, with or without a magic lamp!
Designer: Reiner Knizia Artist: Andreas Resch
Publisher: Pegasus Spiele 1-6 players 15-20 min. ages 5+ MSRP $24
Charlie and Carlotta are mice who live in the walls of the Smith family’s house. They are preparing for a big dinner party for all their friends and they need your help to gather groceries. The Smith’s pantry is full of delicious food: bread, carrots, cucumbers, fish and, of course, CHEESE! By rolling dice everyone will collect these tasty morsels but your team must be quick! The Smiths have a mean black cat who prowls through the house. If you take too long, the cat will catch you red-handed and the meal will be ruined.
Mmm comes with a nicely illustrated, double sided game board. One side is for younger or less experienced players. The other provides a greater challenge once you are more familiar with the game.
The board is has two basic areas: a grid with illustrations of the food found in the pantry and a hallway showing the location of the cat. The five different types of food are depicted in the grid, some items of food take up as few as two grid squares while others may take up 3 or 4 squares. The hallway has ten spaces that lead to the pantry door.
The mean black cat has a wooden token which will go on the board and will move up the hall as the game winds forward.
There are three wooden dice. Each die has 6 different faces: One face for each type of food and one face with a big X.
Last but not least there are 56 round mouse tokens. These tokens will be placed on the grid as you play.
Mmm! is a cooperative game where players work together to cover every food item displayed in the pantry with a mouse token before the mean black cat reaches the door.
Each player gets a turn and on that turn you begin by rolling the three wooden dice.
As mentioned earlier, the dice have faces that correspond to the five different types of food, plus an X.
After this roll, you look at the results and must place at least one die on the board on a space that matches the food symbol you rolled. (For example, I rolled a carrot, so I can place that die on a carrot space on the board). The X side is bad luck. It cannot be placed on the board.
Now, you have a choice to make. You can reroll any remaining dice OR you can stop and gather food.
Rerolling has its risks and rewards. After each reroll, you must be able to place at least one die on the board. If you cannot, then the mean black cat moves forward one space in the hallway on the board! If the cat reaches the pantry space on the board, everyone loses.
Gathering food happens once you decide to stop rolling. Replace each die on the board with a mouse token, the tokens cover up grid spaces and parts of different food items in the pantry.
After placing your mouse tokens, look at the board and check to see if you were able to cover up the last space of a food item in the pantry. If you did, great! Your team will celebrate. If you did not cover the last space of a food item, then the mean black cat will move forward one space toward the pantry door.
After that, pass the dice to the next player and continue until one of two things happens:
- Your team covers the entire board with mouse tokens. Huzzah! You’ve gathered all the food for the dinner party and your team wins the game!
2. The mean black cat reaches the pantry door and catches you stealing food. The dinner party is ruined and you’ll have to try again.
For a cooperative game that can easily accommodate very young players, there’s a surprising puzzle element that is engaging and fun for players of all ages. The press your luck element encourages players to try and cover more spaces each turn, since each player is under pressure to cover a food item on his or her turn to prevent the cat from moving. Covering up the small 2 space food items may seem like an easy way to avoid the cat penalty BUT if your team covers up all the small food items early, the cat may rocket forward later in the game since it will take longer to cover up food items that take up 3 and 4 spaces. Weighing all the options with the team before placing dice or deciding to reroll is a really fun, important and necessary part of the game.
The other element that really makes Mmm stand out is its variable difficulty levels. These variations come in two different forms. An additional rule twist and a more difficult board layout.
In the basic version of the game, you may place dice on matching spaces anywhere on the board. In the advanced version, all dice placed must be in the same row or column as the first die placed on the board. This one twist changes the strategy and decisions you make on every turn and makes for even more interesting discussions. It adds another layer to the puzzle that makes the game more fun by making it more challenging.
The back side of the board also offers more challenges by having a single 2 space food items of each type and adding a 5 space food item for each type. This means it will take a team effort to cover the 5 space food items without making the mean black cat rocket forward on the board.
There are very few games I can think of that scale up or down so well according to the age or experience level of the players at the table.
It should come as no surprise the good Doctor, renowned designer Reiner Knizia, has found a way to strike such a fun balance between randomness and strategy. I really enjoy the cooperative puzzle solving aspects of Mmm and how they are balanced by elements of chance.
Each turn the dice rolls can help or hinder your team’s chances of success.
But the discussions and decisions you make as a team – when to reroll, when to gather food and where to place your dice – are equally important. Too much luck and players would feel like they have little real control over the outcome. Too little and the game becomes a dry intellectual exercise with less room for teamwork or discussion.
Mmm offers a fun to players from 5 to 95. Better still, the game allows you to dial in the kind of fun you want to have with the game. The basic game offers more randomness, the advanced more challenge and forethought. This allows the game to speak to a wide audience.
Flexibility and teamwork combined with a dice based puzzle suitable for almost any age. That is most definitely a recipe for Major Fun!
Designer: Brian Gomez
Publisher: Brain Games 2-4 players 20 min. ages 6+ MSRP $39.99
Young penguins can be troublemakers, especially if they’re hungry. You and your classmates have decided to sneak out of class to grab an early snack. You’ve hidden some fish around the school and there’s only one thing standing between you and these tasty morsels… the hall monitor! If you’re quick, you’ll be able to scoot through the halls and grab your fish before getting caught. If not, you’ll be stuck in detention…. again!
Ice Cool is a dexterity game where players will take turns flicking their penguins through a 3 dimensional school trying to either catch fish or catch the students skipping class.
You’ll each take turns playing one of the young student penguins (the Runners) and the Hall Monitor (the Catcher) and at the end of the game the player with the most points wins.
The minute you open the box, you’ll see this is a game very different from most others. There are multiple open faced box bottoms inside the main box bottom, nested together like Russian Matryoshka dolls. There are five boxes in total: four rectangular rooms and one square room. Each room is numbered and has doorways cut out along at least two sides. You will assemble these boxes to create the game board – a three dimensional school for the penguins!
There are several wooden fish tokens in the game. Each player gets 3 in their chosen color. The remaining plain wood fish are used to hold the board together sort of like clothes pins. Once assembled, the board is really quite sturdy and can be rotated or slid along the table so players can line up their shots.
There’s a deck of cards which are score cards. If you snag a fish or grab a student in the halls, you’ll get to draw one of these. They are numbered 1-3.
Each penguin has a colored ID card (which can be confiscated if you are caught) and a roly-poly plastic penguin figurine which you will flick around the school.
These penguins are very similar to the figures used in Subbuteo, a flicking soccer game that has been a part of millions of children’s lives since 1947. The penguins have a rounded base that is weighted and tapered bodies with a round head. The penguin will sit flat on the board but with even the slightest nudge, it will weeble and wobble back and forth.
Once the school is setup, you will place your fish over the marked doorways, shuffle the score cards and you’re ready to play!
Each player in Ice Cool will get to play in two different ways: as the runner and as the catcher.
As the runner you will start in the classroom and try to flick your penguin through the doorways containing your colored fish. For each doorway you go through, you will collect your fish and a score card. If you can collect all three of your fish, the round will end.
As the Catcher, you dont care about doorways or fish. You care about catching the other penguins! You will flick your penguin through the school hoping to make contact with each penguin running around the halls.
Runners always start in the classroom on a red dot for their first turn. The Catcher starts in the kitchen anywhere he or she wants. Players take turns one at a time, flicking trying to achieive their individual goals. Each room has a red line marking the playable area. If you get too far into a corner, you can pull your penguin out into the room in order to make your next move.
Now Ice Cool is already visually amazing and the challenge of flicking around this 3d school is inherently and addictively fun. You can flick your penguin in straight lines and with the right angle you can even get your penguin to bend around corners or through doors.
BUT there’s another element that literally and figuratively vaults Ice Cool into another stratosphere of fun. You can make your penguin do jumps! That’s right, if you aim high on the penguin (around the shoulders) the little guys will jump into the air, meaning you can hop over walls or even across the school in a single move. It sounds preposterous and it may take a few practice flicks (be careful not to flick too hard!) but within half a dozen tries your penguins will be airborn! Not bad for a bunch of flightless birds. 🙂
This element is a game changer. It changes your strategy and allows you to look at the board in entirely new ways. This makes Ice Cool very different from almost any other flicking game that comes to mind.
But mostly, it’s just crazy fun trying to make your penguins fly….
Simple joys are often the best when it comes to Major Fun and Ice Cool is a champion in this regard. The pieces cry out to be flicked and you’ll start flicking them through doors and over walls just for fun as you are setting up the game. In other words, you almost instinctively know how to play just by opening the box! The game has sense enough celebrate these simple pleasures and not bury them under overly complicated rules. Anyone with working fingers can play and enjoy Ice Cool and will instantly know that it is absolutely… Major Fun!
The game is called Happy Salmon. You might wonder why this particular salmon is so happy. After all, salmon have a hard life with the, you know, swimming up river and the jumping and the bears and the dying. Could it be so happy because it won a Major Fun award? Or is it because it knows how happy it will make the people who get to play it?
This is one smug salmon. And deservedly so. The game is quick (takes maybe a couple minutes to play). It’s easy to learn. It gets everybody moving. Everybody involved. And, best of all, it makes people laugh.
You could think of it as a card game – that’s because it’s played with a special deck of cards. But it’s really a people game.
It goes like this:
There are six sets of 12 cards, each a different color. First, give one set to each of 3-6 players who are at least six years old. There are four different cards: Happy Salmon, High 5, Switcheroo and Pound It! Each card has an associated action. Your objective is to be the first to get rid of all your cards. You can only do that if you can find someone who’s playing the same kind of card. You can tell, because that person is either trying to get you to High Five or to Fist Bump (Pound) or change places (Switcheroo) or Happy Salmon (put your wrist along the other player’s wrist and wiggle your hand in a salmon-fin-like manner).
You’ll probably play many rounds of the game before you put it back in its neat, salmony zipper pouch. And next time you play, you might want to try the completely silent variation (though it is likely that the laughter will escape you).
Luckily, there are two great videos showing the game in action. First, here’s one with kids playing:
And now, one for the growns:
O, the fun! O, the sheer Majorness of the fun!!
Designed by Ken Gruhl and Quentin Weir, from Northstar Games.
|Release Date: 8/1/2016||Download: Enhanced | MP3|
|Running Time: 35 min||Subscribe: Enhanced | MP3 | RSS|
|Karuba is an island with hidden treasures. Your goal is to lead your team of adventurers through the jungle along the smartest route to riches. Each turn you have a choice: place a tile to create a path to the treasure temples OR discard the tile and move one your team’s pawns along the path. You might even run across some gold or diamonds along the way.
Deceptively simple, Karuba uses a bingo like system to offer players a wonderful strategic puzzle for players young and old.
Tune in to learn the mysteries of Karuba why we think it deserves the Major Fun Award!
Designer: Rudiger Dorn Publisher: HABA
2-4 players 20 min. ages 8+ MSRP $35
Music credits include:
|Release Date: 6/1/2016||Download: Enhanced | MP3|
|Running Time: 36 min||Subscribe: Enhanced | MP3 | RSS|
|It makes old people young again, turns wallflowers into stunning beauties and can turn dust, dirt or dung into gold! It smells wonderful and tastes even better. You can even reach the speed of light if you have enough!
What is it? Nitro Glyxerol of course! The only catch: every batch has to be mixed fresh… and you never quite know the results until you’re done…
Nitro Glyxerol is a chemical mixing dexterity game. Shake and slide colored cubes through a maze to the long neck of your flask shaped mixer as fast as you can. But be careful! Precision is as important as speed in this game. The order of the cubes must match the pattern of cards laid out on the table. Collect cards to score points but beware of the dreaded mouse poop cube. If you prove to be a successful mixer. It could get in the way!
Designer: Luca Borsa, Andrea Mainini Publisher: Zoch Verlag
2-4 players 20 min. ages 7+ MSRP 30 EUR
Designer: Nobutake Dogen, Nao Shimamura
Prince Charming has met and lost is soulmate: Cinderella. While he searches high and low using a forgotten shoe, you and your fellow players have a different plan… to convince the prince to marry a Cinderella of your choosing! In order to do this, you will play rumor cards limiting the traits the Prince should focus on in his search. You hope, in the end, your Cinderella will stand out among the rest and the Prince will marry the person (or cat) you chose for him.
Too Many Cinderellas is a very compact game. It comes with 18 Cinderella cards, 9 wooden yes/no tokens and 9 plastic diamonds. The cards feature whimsical art by Hinami Tsukuda.
At its heart, Too Many Cinderellas is a light-hearted logic game. Each player is dealt four cards. Two cards will be played as rumors and two cards will be kept in-hand as possible Cinderellas for the Prince to marry.
Rumors create the logic puzzle at the core of the game. In order to understand them, we need to take a closer look at the cards.
Each card has a split identity – it can be a rumor OR it can be a Cinderella – a possible Cinderella for the Prince.
The main portion of the card shows an illustration of the Cinderella and characteristics that define this person. A Cinderella can be young or teenaged or an adult or a senior, for instance. A Cinderella could have brown hair or blonde or black. A Cinderella might wear glasses or like rice or be royalty.
There are easy to understand icons along the side of each card that describe each Cinderella’s defining traits.
Remember, though, each card has a second identity or use – as a rumor. At the bottom of each card is a thought bubble containing a simple sentence. This sentence is the rumor and will begin to define who Cinderella isn’t. So a rumor might say Cinderella is not a senior OR Cinderella is does not like rice OR Cinderella does not have brown hair.
So, now that you see how the cards are put together, the game goes like this.
Each player, one at a time, will offer up a card as a rumor to the group by playing it to the table. The group will then vote on whether this rumor is true or not. Players will secretly choose a yes or no token and then everyone will reveal their vote. If all vote YES, the rumor is true and will help define who Cinderella is not.
If even one person votes NO, then the rumor is false and will not be considered when the Prince chooses his Cinderella.
Here’s the rub. You only get one NO vote for the entire game round! Once used, your NO token is placed on the rumor card you quashed. This means you must choose wisely when voting NO or you may end up being forced to vote YES on rumors you don’t want.
This process continues until all players have offered up two rumor cards and each rumor has been put to a vote. One final random rumor is drawn from the deck and added to the table just as if someone had played it. It can be included or dismissed depending on the final vote.
After all rumors have been voted up or down, each player offers their best Cinderella to the Prince, meaning a single Cinderella card that conforms to the restrictions laid out by the rumors. For instance, at the end of a round, the rumors might say: Cinderella is not an adult, is not dark haired and does not like cake. Any Cinderella card in your hand that avoids all these traits could be offered up as a possible match to the Prince. Most times, the Prince will have several Cinderellas from which to choose. In this case, he will select the Cinderella with the lowest value (printed in the upper left corner of the card). So your best hope of making a match for the Prince is to play the lowest value Cinderella card that fits the logic puzzle for the round!
You can play a single game round in about 5-6 minutes as a stand-alone game or you can earn a diamond each time the Prince selects your Cinderella. First to three wins.
The big moment in Too Many Cinderellas comes as the logic puzzle is finished each round. This moment is what sets the game apart.
Do you have a Cinderella card that fits with all the restrictions placed by the rumors?
If one of the true rumors says Cinderella is not an adult and both your remaining Cinderella cards are adults, then you might be out of luck this round. BUT, if you’ve planned wisely, you’ll have to resist the urge to cheer when you make it through the round with a lovely Cinderella card for the Prince to consider.
Your goal is to play rumor cards that do not eliminate your own Cinderella cards from contention AND restrict or eliminate Cinderella cards in other player’s hands. The fact that every card has both a rumor and a potential mate for the Prince makes this process challenging and a lot of fun!
You have one NO, so you can eliminate one horrible rumor that might eliminate many of your Cinderellas. But this NO will only get you so far. The game nudges you strongly to pay attention to what other people are playing and try to make educated guesses about what they might be holding and how they might vote on any given card.
It’s good to look at your cards and have a plan when the round starts but you may have to switch things up if an untimely rumor slips through. In other words, the game mixes long term strategy with strategy of the moment.
Each round you define Cinderella by omission. We learn what he or she is not, so anyone outside those restrictions is allowed. This is an important and powerful concept and the game manages to teach it in such a simple, fun way.
It’s a simple process to play Too Many Cinderellas but the game offers an engaging and ever-changing puzzle that each player can try to manipulate to his or her advantage. And if you make mistakes, the game is forgiving and short enough you will be eager to jump in again and do better in the next round.
There are a few cards with special actions that allow an extra no token or a no token to be removed and even one to reverse the tie breaker (high card wins instead of low). These special abilities keep the game fresh and allow for the rumors/rules for each game round to change a lot with the play of a single card.
Too Many Cinderellas proves that logic games do not have to be dry or boring. They can be whimsical and fun. I love the fact that the Prince’s perfect Cinderella could be an elderly gentleman who loves books, a cat with a wig, or a dude in a dress. In fact this sense of whimsy and fun can easily take over the game. I’ve seen groups of players abandon the need to win to make sure that the cat becomes the best Cinderella for the Prince. This might defy conventional logic for some, but it tracks perfectly with the higher logic of fun.
Side note: kudos to Grail Games (based in Sydney Australia) for bringing this game to a wider audience. The game was originally published in Japan by Taikikennai Games in a very limited form. Micro games are an increasingly well known genre outside of Japan, based on the wild success of Love Letter and its ilk. I’m glad to see more and more publishers interested in the creative possibilities in this genre, especially when they find gems like this one.