Blue Orange makes many beautiful games, beautifully made, beautiful to play. Specifically, recently, a game called Fundomino and another, Double Shutter. Both are available in last-forever plastic housed in life-long tins, as well as in an impressive selection of all-woody embodiments. And both are fun – uniquely, ingeniously, play-again-worthy fun.
Both are based on games of time-tested appeal. Fundomino is based on on Blue Orange’s very successful Bendomio, which, in turn, is based on the even more successful and much older game of Dominoes. Double Shutter is based on a game known variously as Shut the Box, Tric Trac, Canoga, Batten Down the Hatches, or Card Sharks. But it’s just different enough, because it adds, well, a whole new level, as it were, of things to flip.
If you don’t quite understand what I mean by “things to flip” you’ll understand why I decided, clearly, most reluctantly, not to give these games their rightful Major FUN due. It’s the rules, see, of both games. See, if you don’t know the games they are based on, the rules turn out to be just a little too subtle, which, in turn, turns out to be a little too frustrating. Like, for example, figuring out that you keep on rolling the dice, on your turn, over and over, until you can’t roll them any more. And then it’s the next player’s turn. Simple, something everyone should know. O, it’s in the rules, if you look hard enough, and you are ready for a radical change in assumptions. The same when you’re playing Fundomino. Fun. Really. Until you try to figure out what connects to a Yellow Plus, for example.
But the games, in every way, are Major FUN. Really. And if you can’t quite figure out the rules, you can make up your own. It’s easy enough. And there’s enough play value in the bended-dominoes-with-UNO-like-wild-tiles, or in the beautifully-crafted dice-box with two rows to, uh, shut.
Major FUN-wise, though, seal-givingly, if only the rules were just a tiny bit more obvious, written, illustrated a bit more directly for the casual American family gamer, the seal would be on both games, complete with the all the endorsement thereby implied.