sean johnson(SeanXor)United States
Going into Gen Con this one of the game's on our short list of game's that we were extremely interested in. I did not find the booth until late Saturday. On Sunday I immediately went back to their booth when the dealer hall opened. I played the game, and thought it was great. I also thought it would be an excellent game for both my wife and I. After finishing the game, I bought it. So, was I right about this being a good game for two of us?
In this game two players collect mushrooms and then cook them for points. There are a variety of mushrooms with different values. eight cards are put out to create "the forest". On a player's turn they can do one of several actions. A player may take one of the two cards front cards in the forest, take all of the cards in the decay, sell mushrooms, or cook mushrooms. After a player does one of the actions, the front card in the forest is added to the decay pile. Once the decay pile reaches four cards, it will be discarded and a new decay pile is started. At the end of a player's turn, cards are then added to the end of the forest from the deck so that there are always eight cards in the forest.
To sell mushrooms players must have at least two mushrooms of the same type. Each mushroom has a sell value (1-4). For each mushroom sold, the player gets sticks equal to the sell value. The sticks can be used to go deeper into the forest. Normally, players can take only the first two cards in the line, but with enough sticks they can go all the way to the back of the line and get the card they want.
To cook mushrooms players must have three of one mushroom type and a fire card. Cooked mushrooms have a point value associated with them, so each cooked mushroom is worth a certain amount of points (1 to 6).
There are also a smattering of special cards. There are extra ingredients like butter that can be used if to score extra points when players cook an especially big set of mushrooms. There are also night cards which allow a player to take the top card of the night deck. The night deck contains a card for each mushroom type (except the rare morels), and a single night card is worth two regular cards.
There are also basket cards, which increase the hand size. It is typically 8 and each basket adds 2. This is a big deal, because this game is just as much a hand management game as it is a set collection game.
Eventually the forest deck runs out and once all of the cards are gone from the forest line from being taken or decay, the game is over. Players add up the points they score for cooked mushrooms and the most points wins.
The Game We Played
This game is fun to play, but I am afraid it does not make for very good session reports. I tried to collect a couple of large sets of a couple of the mushrooms which meant I kept very close to my hand limit for most of the game, and this limited what I could do on certain turns. My wife really focused on getting night cards, and she used the x2 mushrooms she got form the night deck to cook multiple lots of mushrooms. In the end, this strategy paid off because she scored 43 points to my 38.
My Rating: 4 (like it)
My Thoughts: I really like that this game is very simple on the surface. However, I feel that there is a lot of subtle depth to this game. The most optimal play is not always obvious at first glance, and the hand limit keeps things tense. As far as I am concerned this is one of the great two player card games, right up there with Battle Line.
Her Rating: 3 (it's OK)
Her Thoughts: I do like the set collection aspect of this game. I also like how quickly it plays and how it is not like any other game we currently have. While playing the game is decent, I am not blown away by it. I find it frustrating that I feel like I have to keep in mind what someone else is doing, along with what I am doing. Overall though, I think the game is fine.
Combined Rating: 7
The game was not the home run I thought it would be, but it was not a strike out either. This game is different than anything else we have. We like to listen to podcasts while playing games together, and I think this has a high potential to be a great podcast game that will get a lot of play.